29 Oct 2019

24 hours in Aberdeen

24 hours in Aberdeen
After The Meetings Show 2019, Aberdeen Convention & Events Bureau whisked a select group of hosted buyers off to the granite city for a 24-hour fam trip to showcase the very best Aberdeen has to offer for meetings, events and incentives. Laurie Scott, Head of the Aberdeen Convention & Events Bureau, tells us more about the trip.

Why did Aberdeen decide to host a post-show fam trip this year?

Aberdeen city and the surrounding region is undergoing large scale upgrades with serious investment in the region’s travel infrastructure and event space. Getting to, and around, Aberdeenshire has never been easier.

Connectivity via the city’s airport and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route allows visitors to travel with ease. On the foot of the runway sits a brand-new exhibition and conference complex set to open its doors next month.

The arena, named P&J Live, is the UK’s newest large entertainment venue and is the UK’s single largest investment of its kind. With 48,000 sq. meters of multi-purpose space, P&J Live offers large conference halls and suites, a superior arena and two on-site hotels, all sustainably powered by on- site renewable energy sources. The hotels comprise a 4-star Hilton with 200 bedrooms and an Aloft Hotel with 150 bedrooms.

Aberdeen Convention & Events Bureau chose to host a post-show fam trip to promote the north of Scotland as a new and attractive destination for conferences and events.

Aberdeen is investing in its future. It is now providing an alternative offering for meeting and event organisers, at an attractive price.

What was the format of the trip like?

We had a diverse range of buyers attending the fam trip and we purposely chose to show only 24 hours in Aberdeen. This provided attendees with a snapshot of life in Aberdeen, showcasing the very best of the region after two days at the Meetings Show – and it worked.

Can you give us a short summary of what attendees of the fam trip experienced?

The region has a wealth of food and drink specialists and we showed our group around Brewdog HQ in the small town of Ellon, just 15 miles from the city centre. Brewdog is a real local success story, with its craft beer revolution beginning right here in the north-east of Scotland.

We took the group on a tour of P&J Live, complete with hard hats and high-vis jackets – the group took in the enormity of the site, and the potential for global events and conferences to be held there. The group also met with representatives from the onsite Hilton hotel, which is the newest of the hotel group’s brands opening in the UK and includes a spa and pool facilities.

To showcase the city’s event space variety, we included multiple options for the group to see.

Nestled on Aberdeen’s beach front is the historic Beach Ballroom – a charming Art Deco venue popular with conference organisers for gala dinners and traditional Scottish ceilidhs. The group was able to see the sprung dancefloor that sits on steel springs, giving dancers that extra bounce when performing in the ballroom.

In 2018, Aberdeen’s iconic Music Hall was completely transformed with a three-year restoration project. Today, the venue can be used for entertainment and corporate events alike. We also worked in visits to the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen Hall and The Chester Hotel – an independent hotel situated in the affluent west end of Aberdeen.

The day ended at Native, a city centre restaurant serving up locally sourced produce.

What do you think was the highlight for the attendees?

The group really enjoyed the behind the scenes tour of P&J Live. They couldn’t believe the scale of the venue and were excited by the potential that the site has for events both large and small.

Do you think hosting a fam trip like this is worthwhile for attracting new business to the region?

Yes; we have confirmed two pieces of business off the back of hosting this trip. Fam trips are worth the investment of time and effort, and it’s pleasing to see the benefits come through.

It was worthwhile showcasing a new product to the conference market and seeing the immediate impact of P&J Live on the group.

Do you have any top tips for other destinations thinking about hosting a fam trip?

You must be selective about who you host on your fam trip. It sounds like an obvious point, but not having the key decision makers on site will not be a fruitful exercise.

Buyers have to be relevant, realistic and interested in your product. There are a lot of buyers who want to attend a fam trip but aren’t always relevant for the type of business you’re trying to attract, and so they might not be the right people for your product.

What did the attendees think of the fam trip?

The attendees had a really good time; this is the feedback we received from one of the attendees, Heather Enticott, director of Compleat Conference:

“I had the pleasure of visiting the new world-class facilities at P&J Live Conference Centre, Aberdeen. The complex is going to be an incredible asset to the city, and I am excited at the possibilities it now opens up to us as an event management company. This sustainably powered venue will tick the boxes of many client needs and we are looking forward to bringing new business to the city.

“The hosted fam trip also provided the opportunity to visit a number of other venues within the city available for both conference and social events, and the group enjoyed a very comfortable night’s stay at the Sandman Hotel.

“Thank you to Graeme and the team at Aberdeen Convention & Events Bureau who hosted us in true Scottish style.”

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