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Conference Care invests in live events team

Agency almost doubles live events staff and spends six-figure sum on personalising operating system

Pictured: Chris Peacock, director of Conference Care

Conference Care has almost doubled its live events team while investing a 'six-figure sum' developing its own operating system.

The Coventry-based agency has grown its live events department to five, after appointing Emily Panteli from the Meetings Industry Association (mia) and promoting Lyndsey Miller from operations. Along with seven other new appointments in the last 12 months, it takes the agency's headcount past 50.

It comes as Conference Care finishes remodelling its internal booking system, after purchasing the license in 2015. Directors Chris Peacock and Andrew Deakin say when complete, it will allow clients to better track their own conference-booking trail, including information such as enquiries, hotel prices and booking notes.

New wins for the agency also include a multi-year contract with a legal firm, while Peacock and Deakin - alongside digital director Ian Hancock - have recently branched out to launch, a online meeting portal to target meetings with short lead time.

Conference Care saw pre-tax profit soar by 88 per cent to £970k in accounts filed for the year-ending 31 March 2015, on the back of several 'high-value' events.

Peacock and Deakin said the agency's investments were on the back of a solid year in 2015, but it would still pale in comparison to 2014-15.

"It was a very good year for us in 2014-15 and we had great growth coming out of the economic difficulties," Peacock said.

"The year just gone we're still expecting solid results, we're expecting some upward movement. Things are definitely going well. But I think that woohoo moment everyone had, thinking we were coming out of the recession, has settled a bit. There has been a slow down."

Deakin added: "The possibility of an EU exit is certainly making corporates sit on their hands to wait and see what happens in June."

The expansion of the live events team comes as congress numbers and sizes increase for the agency, along with annual corporate events. Peacock and Deakin attribute this to increased awareness among clients and word of mouth.

The investment in Conference Care's forthcoming booking system has been part of the agency’s commitment to simplify operations for its clients.

Peacock said: "We do up to 11,000 events a year and all that information goes through there. So we decided to buy the license and redevelop the system.

"We want to do some interesting things with it and modernise it. Next year I think we'll see some exciting things that we'll be able to do for our customers from that side of things."

Deakin adds: "We decided to differentiate ourselves a bit more and create a real USP. We wanted to be in control of our own booking system.

"At the moment you can look up someone's event and see what enquiries there were, what happened, the prices paid, which hotels weren't successful, reasons why... We want to roll that all into a live, online platform for customers."

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