Interview with Dr Sarah Evans, Research and Collections Engagement Manager, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG):
Why did you choose NewcastleGateshead as the location for your event?
We were looking for a host university which could provide a large lecture theatre space along with c.25-30 smaller seminar rooms for breakout sessions as well as a venue that was based in the city centre. NewcastleGateshead had the answers to all of our questions with two universities in the heart of the city, excellent international and national transport links and an abundance of accommodation and dining options at a range of prices for our delegates. That North East is such a warm, friendly and welcoming destination with a strong sense of place and lots of fantastic things to see and do which made the decision to have our event there even easier.
Which venues did you use for your event and what attracted you to them?
Newcastle University was a fantastic host venue for the conference as it has a city centre campus with plenty of suitable rooms and spaces which were easily accessible for our delegates. The venue events, AV and catering teams all provided excellent, tailored support which ensured our event ran smoothly.
How did NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau support you along the way, and did the support meet your expectations?
NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau provided fantastic support with everything from negotiating travel discounts to helping with accommodation links and more. Their support exceeded our expectations and our delegates were very appreciative – they set a very high standard for our future events!
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important, especially in business events. Did your event take any measures to be more sustainable?
This year we ran the conference as a hybrid event, which enabled delegates to attend without having to travel by aeorplane, or long distances in a car, which helped us lower over all emissions. Having a hybrid event also made it a lot more inclusive as delegates who weren’t able to travel due to geographical or timing issues were still able to take part.
As well as focusing on reducing our carbon emissions we also looked at reducing food waste during our event, so for lunches we took meat off the menu and served vegetarian and vegan lunches, with dairy-free and gluten-free options included in the main menu. By producing fewer labelled ‘special diet’ lunches, we ensured most delegates were able to eat from the main menu which in turn reduced any waste.
Our delegate packs were entirely digital and we had no printed materials at all throughout the duration of the event. We also communicated with delegates prior to the event and encouraged the use of refillable water bottles.
Was there anything that made the event particularly memorable or unique?
The conference was warm, convivial and friendly, and that was in large part due to our welcoming hosts and that Newcastle is such a friendly and welcoming city.