Glasgow’s resident experts have helped attract half of all the city’s conference business in 2014/15, totalling £70 million according to the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.
The Scottish city claims much of its business events success comes from its vaunted ambassador programme, harnessing the power of a pool of 1,700 influential individuals who are central to the city’s knowledge economy and world-leading research. Key meeting sectors for the city align with its existing knowledge centres, including low carbon industries, education, medicine, life sciences, engineering, design and manufacture.
Aileen Crawford, head of conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “By assisting our ambassadors we maximise the impact of the conference whether it’s in terms of policy, public interaction or economic benefit. We have strategic relationships to work in partnership at the highest levels in the universities.
“This year has been a milestone year for our award-winning ambassador programme. Not only have we celebrated our 25th anniversary but we’re also marking a record breaking sales year; underpinning the value of Glasgow’s esteemed ambassador community. As a city with a rich history of innovation and with the largest academic community in Scotland, it was natural that Glasgow established the first conference ambassador programme in the UK. We have set the tone for our competitors and are frequently referenced in global media for the work of the programme, for example; the unique level of support we provide that isn’t available in other European cities.”
This includes support for ambassadors embarking on the bid process, to organisational and logistical support, and developing tailored marketing material to maximise attendance and public reach.
Ambassador-linked business wins have risen by 15 per cent for the financial year and included the 4,000 delegate All Energy 2015, 2016 and 2017, thanks to academics at the University of Strathclyde; the Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology 2019, a bid led by Dr Richard Russell and Dr Richard Hansen, consultant paediatric gastroenterologists at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children; and the European Association for Chinese Studies EACS 2018, after a bid supported by Dr Minna Torma, lecturer in Chinese art at the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow.
Alongside its Ambassador Programme, Glasgow also took part earlier this year in new initiative, Think Scotland, Think Conference (TSTC). Aimed at engaging more than 250 hand-picked business influencers, its goal is growing Scotland’s business tourism by 21 per cent (£400 million) to £2.3 billion by 2020.