City Chambers, George Square

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions, Glasgow Convention Bureau

About Aileen Crawford: Aileen has worked in the meetings industry for 20 years. Initially in venue sales for Glasgow Museums, then in a variety of roles within the Conventions team at the Tourist Board, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and in 2011 she took over the position as Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau (GCMB), following 5 years as Deputy. The team focus on association research, conference sales, the Glasgow Conference Ambassador Programme, accommodation booking and client support to position Glasgow as one of the best cities in the world to host a meeting. In 2016 GCMB was voted ‘Best UK Convention Bureau’ for a record breaking 10 years by readers of Meetings & Incentive Travel and were winners of the ABPCO Chairmen’s Award for their work on conference legacy and impact.

Every bid is individual and requires a strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the society. In Glasgow, we have an experienced team at both the Convention Bureau and SEC conference center to offer advice and guidance to our clients when preparing a successful bid.

Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid?
This is the million dollar question! Every bid is different and this is where the guidelines from the association headquarters is very important as the guide to ensure the bid is led by the most appropriate person, institution or national member society. The role of a city Convention Bureau should be to support all the partners in preparing the bid.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process?
The PCO can be a super support and key partner in a bid, should the client ask for the local hosts to nominate a PCO. It is important to be clear with the headquarters of the association when bidding whether they have their own in-house PCO, or whether the local hosts are expected to work with their own PCO. This will avoid duplication or confusion.

Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process?
In Glasgow we believe that clients coming to our city are our guests and we work with our city partners to be able to host accommodation and all the hospitality. If an association is interested in your destination it is usually the case that those coming on a site visit pay for their own flights but all ‘on site’ costs are hosted by the city, congress center and city partners.

Q: Latest stories of success?
The Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science has chosen Glasgow as the location of its first conference to be held in Scotland. The event, which will be held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) from 7th to 10th July 2021, is expected to attract 3,000 delegates and contribute an estimated £4.8 million to the city’s economy.

As part of the city’s award winning Conference Ambassador Programme, Professor Craig Mahoney – the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland – led the ECSS bid alongside the university’s School of Science and Sport. It was supported by Visit Scotland’s National Conference Bid Fund and secured through close collaboration between the University, Glasgow’s Conventions team, the SEC, Visit Scotland and Visit Britain.

The conference will follow on from a number of major sporting events programmed to take place in the city, including the inaugural European Championships which will be co-hosted with Berlin next year, the European Indoor Athletics Championships in 2019 and the UEFA Euro 2020 football championships.

Q: What always make you smile?
When clients come to Glasgow for the first time and are impressed by the welcome, the architecture, the beautiful countryside and the way the city all works together for their benefit. When our clients smile, it makes me smile!

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