A new regional Convention Bureau has been launched today representing Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area. The Bureau’s key objectives are to proactively promote the region for business events, working with local partners to secure new business for the region. Building on the success of the existing Meet Bristol Convention Bureau, this new partnership will benefit local businesses who wish to attract conferences and business events, helping to boost the visitor economy for the region. The development of a regional convention bureau will help aid recovery, targeting business events that have a positive economic impact.
There are also several exciting new developments planned for the region, including the YTL Arena Bristol due to open in 2023. The venue will consist of three interlinked areas’ including a multi-purpose, flexible hall with 11,000sqm flat floor space for exhibitions, trade shows and conventions. Plus, a 17,080-seat arena, making it the third-largest arena in the UK.
The Ashton Gate Stadium Sporting Quarter Development is a proposed new development of a state of the art 4,000 capacity sports and convention centre, adjacent to their existing venue, which is currently the largest conference centre in Bristol and the surrounding areas. The development will include a 4-star hotel and a new urban village development. In addition, there are more hotel rooms coming to Bristol over the next few years, including the Leonardo Hotel scheduled for 2021 and the Clayton Hotel which will have 255 bedrooms and extensive meeting space, due to open in quarter one 2022.
Simon Hughes, Chair of Business Visits Events Partnership (BVEP) says, “The BVEP is delighted to learn of this initiative. The importance of strong local resources to represent and facilitate growth for business events should never be understated. Bristol and Bath and the surrounding region offer some of the best amenities for meetings, conferences, and exhibitions in unique locations. Combining the two cities will undoubtedly create a more efficient and effective marketing platform”.
VisitEngland Head of Business Events, Kerrin MacPhie said: “The launch of the new convention bureau, Meet Bristol & Bath is an exciting development for the business events industry in England. Both destinations offer a wealth of opportunity and leading business events facilities which combined will make an unforgettable visitor experience. We are excited to promote this new convention bureau to event planners at MeetEngland Virtual alongside 29 other leading English destinations, showcasing the many ways future events can be reimagined in England.”
Meet Bristol & Bath will target a global audience, focussing on developing association, corporate and incentive travel business with a strong focus on developing working relationships with event planners and agents all over the world. During a pilot event in December, the concept of the two complementary city destinations, together with the surrounding countryside and nearby coast proved an attractive proposition to an international audience booking multi-day events and incentive trips.
“Representing two cities with such varying offers, plus their surrounding areas is hugely beneficial and gives us a competitive edge when bidding for events. We are working hard to put plans and actions in place to aid recovery after what has been an extremely difficult year for the industry.”
Bath has also welcomed the Freedom Auditorium to its conferencing offer. The impressive Auditorium offers space for up to 500 delegates, breakout space and a private mezzanine level. The experienced in-house technical team specialise in hybrid events and live streaming is provided with top of the range equipment. There will be more opportunities to host team-building and social events, including the opening of the new Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, a world first visitor attraction opening in the Spring, which will include an escape room experience for groups. Mary Shelley wrote the majority of this timeless classic whilst living in lodgings situated in Abbey Churchyard, Bath, in 1816, where the iconic Pump Room is now located.
As well as delivering a very proactive role in attracting business, the convention bureau offers a one-stop shop for event planners considering booking business events in the West of England. A range of services will be available, including venue and accommodation booking, connections with local suppliers and industry specialists, together with expert knowledge and insights to support those bringing their event to the West of England.