Spotlight on...

Justine Meek, Agency Relationship Manager at Warwick Conferences

Justine Meek headshot

Describe your day to day duties

I manage all of the third party booking agents at Warwick Conferences, which means every day is completely different. I can be driving around the UK visiting agents to share the knowledge of our great venues, conducting site visits of the venues to show first-hand what we have to offer and working with a great team of people to make sure we are delivering first class events. As I understand that it’s hard to get away from the office due to time-poor schedules these days, whenever I can, I proactively take the time to take our very own Warwick Conferences’ food truck out on the road to clients. This provides me with a great opportunity to showcase the true Warwick experience to key agents who don’t have the time to come and see us. We bring our catering team along to cook up great food, I present updates about what’s been going in our venues, and it’s just a convenient way for me to catch up with our customers. 

 

How long have you worked in the sector?

28 years – a very long time, starting with Forte, then a move to De Vere, with a good few years on the agency side at RAND, before joining Warwick Conference over 9 years ago.

When and why did you decide to join the mia? Do you remember how you heard about the association?

We’ve been a member for years now. We class ourselves as a forward-thinking and reputable venue in the industry, so it just makes sense to partner and join forces with an association that further reinforces this standard of quality. With the membership brings the AIM accreditation, retaining the AIM Gold standard across all of our venues is very satisfying. It shines a bright light on the Warwick Conferences team. Without the dedication and enthusiasm of each and every individual, we would just be a collection of rooms and furniture, people can see we’re much more than that.

What do you value most about your mia membership?

The membership gives us great networking opportunities with other industry professionals, it’s important to stay connected and this gives us a chance to both share, and find out about the dynamic and ever changing industry we all work in. It brings us great pride in being able to tell our customers that we’re part of a nationally recognised membership that marks both our excellence and credibility. Sometimes it’s just the reassurance they need. The insight, knowledge and expertise that can be shared in terms of strategy setting and marketing support from the organisation is also a great help in pushing our venues to the limit when it comes to what they can achieve.

What is exciting you about the meetings and events industry at the moment?

How venue design can encourage engagement and learning. The needs of our customers are changing. They’re no longer interested in just four walls and a flip chart. Experiential events are coming to the forefront of programme delivery and it can be as simple as modifying the meeting room itself to create a more memorable experience. At Warwick Conferences we have built our very own suite of ‘creative spaces’ designed to encourage synergy and collaboration between delegates. Our Kitchen space for example, has been centred around the affiliation we have with our own kitchens at home. It’s the heart of the home and the place where people are brought together, so what better place to host a coaching workshop where boundaries need to be broken down? The studio is great for idea generation and teambuilding. Forget writing on flip-chart paper and sitting on chairs, our delegates can write on our chalkboard walls instead and lounge on comfy bean bag seating. As a venue we are truly fascinated by how the stimuli of a meeting room has so much power over the dynamic of a meeting/workshop. We’ve recently become an accredited facilities provider by the LPI (Learning Performance Institute). This has provided us with a great opportunity to target our spaces to the L&D sector, the concept of an innovative environment to inspire innovation has been receipted brilliantly by the market so far.

What do you think are the greatest challenges that the industry is currently facing?

As with the big scare of video conferencing taking over the needs for meeting rooms many years ago (which didn’t affect us at all), there is now talk of virtual learning and meeting environments taking over the need for physical facilities. This to us is not a threat or a challenge, it’s most definitely an opportunity. The evolvement and advancement of technology excites us as a business and we are working towards plans of blending the two concepts together. We’re in early stages, but we’re definitely not going to run away from it.

What’s your favourite meeting destination?

Coventry of course. We are thrilled to announce that our city has just been awarded the UK City of Culture 2021 bid. Not only is this a triumph for the city, but it is going to welcome significant opportunity to the region now. We welcome over 178,000 delegates to our facilities each year, so it is apparent how indispensable the meeting, training, catering and accommodation facilities of Warwick Conferences will be in attracting visitors to Coventry in the run up to 2021 and beyond. The astounding opportunity for business tourism this has created will be reflected in our further development of innovative, unique and modern meeting and event spaces. This is going to form part of our legacy, and we’re truly excited to show what value companies will get from bringing their business to Coventry.

How can people find out more about Warwick Conferences?

Visit our website www.warwickconferences.com, email: conferences@warwick.ac.uk, call: 024 7652 3222 or connect with us @WarwickConf, LinkedIn, and Instagram.