Cambridge: From gown to town

The Conference Cambridge bureau has recently undergone a major rebrand to reflect a wider remit in terms of its services and venue portfolio. Meet Cambridge is the new name for an organisation that has changed significantly since it was established in 1998. CN looks back at some of the milestones for the bureau along the way.

1998

• Conference Cambridge is set up by college bursars recognising the need for a central enquiry point.

• It employs two members of staff and circulates enquiries for academic events and summer schools to its venues by fax.

Business placed in 1998-1999 – £1.1m

2005 – 2006

• First directory-style website created, attracting more corporate clients and the team increases to three.

Enquiries in 2005 – 1,941

September 2007

• Software introduced to manage enquiries and venues.

Enquiries up in 2007, to 2,465

January 2009

Conference Cambridge relocates to larger premises at 12c King’s Parade and its portfolio is expanded with enquiries circulated to non-academic venues for the first time. In July, Conference Cambridge becomes the trading name of The Cambridge Venue Company Ltd,                 a not-for-profit organisation.

Enquiries in 2009: 2,349

2010 – 2012

Business levels increase and Conference Cambridge starts to market its venues internationally at International Confex and IMEX Frankfurt. It also joins ICCA and, in June 2012, launches the Cambridge Ambassador Programme, introducing a closer working relationship with academics.

Enquiries in 2010 – 2,524; in 2011 – 2,641; in 2012 – 2,812

Business placed: 2010 – £2.9m; 2011 – £3.7m; 2012 – £3.8m

January 2013

Portfolio expands with formal membership for non-academic venues. In March, the Agents’ Promise, Code of Conduct and Multi-site Service were launched.

Enquiries in 2013 – 2,802

2014 – 2015

Business placed grows to £5.7m.

Enquiries: 2014 – 3,268;

2015 – 3,638

October-December 2016

A new partnership is established with Visit Cambridge & Beyond, to market the portfolio to a business audience. A rebrand and new name, Meet Cambridge, reflect new venue membership models and geographical spread. A new website event management software, EVENT, launched.

Enquiries in 2016 (as of 7 November): 4,230

Kelly Vickers, director of Meet Cambridge says: “In 18 years we have come a long way. From being set up as a venue-finding service for the colleges, handling mostly enquiries for academic events and summer schools, our team of six now delivers a range of services to academic, corporate and association clients looking to organise residential conferences, one-day meetings, dinners, award ceremonies and much more. The rebrand was essential to reflect more accurately what we do. After a series of workshops with our stakeholders and client research, we were able to define our core values and agree on Meet Cambridge as our new name.”

Martin Fullard

Author

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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