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"Use knowledge hubs to win business," ambassadors told

This year’s Great Ambassador Networking Group (GANG) event in Leeds put a spotlight on utilising knowledge hubs

Pictured: Delegates at this year's GANG event in Leeds

This year’s Great Ambassador Networking Group (GANG) event, hosted by ConferenceLeeds and Well Met Conferencing, put a spotlight on utilising knowledge hubs throughout a destination in order to win more association conference business. 

Delegates from destinations across the UK came together at the Rose Bowl at Leeds Beckett University to highlight the expertise on offer in their cities and share best practice from their own ambassador programmes. 

Steve Lewis of CAT Publications gave a talk on how a city’s knowledge hubs and ambassadors are as important as the meetings infrastructure itself. He also hosted a practical workshop on how to maximise a destination’s knowledge hubs to win corporate and association business, during which delegates were challenged to deliver a five-minute sales pitch on their chosen destination. 

Jennifer Young, associate director of visitor economy for Visit and ConferenceLeeds, said: “The conference was well attended with representatives from across UK destinations, universities and venues coming together to have incredibly insightful discussions about the value of conference ambassador schemes. 

“The talk from Steve Lewis was a particular highlight from the day, showing the importance of maximising everything you have at your disposal within your city.”

Cities represented at the event included Dublin, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Harrogate, Aberdeen, Brighton, London, Torquay and Bristol.

In his presentation Anthony Cassidy, senior sales manager at Marketing Manchester, highlighted the importance of the ambassador when bidding for association conferences – showing an 80 per cent conversion rate on bids with an ambassador compared to just 15 per cent without. He also presented Marketing Manchester’s recently launched Global Ambassador Programme.

Sam Johnston, manager of Dublin Convention Bureau, emphasised the importance of completing the relationship cycle when working with ambassadors, and the significance of upholding the relationship post conference. To assist in their relationship cycle, Dublin Convention Bureau this year launched a Conference Ambassador Awards scheme. 

Emma France, marketing manager of business tourism and trade at Marketing Sheffield, discussed the importance of developing a programme that works for your own destination and utilising the resources available; a lot of the work in Sheffield could not be done without the support of the Sheffield Hoteliers Association, she revealed. Sheffield’s ambassador programme is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2017. 

The final ambassador programme update from Emma Gough, conference and events officer for Well Met Conferencing, who discussed the benefits of a personal approach in recruiting ambassadors and stressed that trust is essential when working with key representatives. 

Kate Davis, head of business development for campus and residential services at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Ambassador programmes are vital to generating conference business; our ambassador programme here at the University continues to grow as we work with more and more colleagues and staff to facilitate their conferences. The event was a fantastic opportunity to hear how other cities are developing their ambassador programmes and provided a platform to discuss how they can be improved.”

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