For this edition of Excellence in Practice we head to Gloucester Rugby, to find out more about how the sporting venue has maximised its potential as a meetings and events location.
As the home of a premiership rugby team, Kingsholm Stadium is the Gloucester area’s biggest sporting ground with a matchday capacity of up to 16,000 people. Over the last year the stadium has achieved a 56% increase in new business from agencies, corporates and associations.
Here, Angela Sanders, Head of Conference and Events Sales at Gloucester Rugby, discusses how the club has focused more on the promotion of Kingsholm Stadium as a corporate venue and what makes the site stand out from the crowd.
As a sports venue, what was the biggest challenge you’ve faced in attracting a corporate audience outside of matchdays?
People think of Kingsholm Stadium first and foremost as the home of Gloucester Rugby. The club has a very loyal fan following and a great reputation in the rugby world.
However, here at the stadium we host the main premiership matches 16 times a year – meaning we have lots of capacity to offer our space for conferences, events and meetings.
And so, began the task of communicating with our most loyal audience – the fans – about our capabilities and offering as a meetings and events space.
Every penny spent on booking a meeting room or hiring a conference space goes back into supporting the club, so it’s a great message to get across and one that’s played a key part in the success of our site as an C&E venue.
What does a sporting venue such as Gloucester Rugby have to offer corporate clients?
Here at the stadium we’ve got a variety of different facilities to offer, from our 1873 Suite which can host up to 350 delegates in theatre-style; to our 44 boxes that all have balcony’s overlooking the pitch.
Sports stadiums are stunning spaces, with inspiring views and it is our job as a team to maximise that atmosphere and engage clients during their time with us.
We do this by emphasising the club’s heritage and sustainability wherever possible, with our aim always being that each delegate will leave the site knowing something new.
Being a sports venue also has many major plus points that allow us to compete with other venues across the UK.
For example, we can provide motivational speakers, drawing on the club’s inspirational players of past and present; and, we have easy access to expert nutritionists, too, who not only focus on our players’ diets, but can input into our corporate menu offering as well.
How has building awareness of Gloucester Rugby’s meetings and events facilities benefited the organisation as a whole?
Over the last year we’ve seen a huge increase in meetings and events bookings, with a 56 percent increase in the number of delegates attending events at the stadium.
Our Christmas party bookings have doubled in comparison to last year and, as a result, we’re reaping the rewards.
Across the business, each department is working together in recognition of the huge opportunity we have at our fingertips as a venue, marketing our facilities in a more proactive way and changing the perception of Gloucester Rugby as a site.
As one of Gloucester’s biggest venues, within easy reach of major cities such as Birmingham, we are fast earning ourselves a reputation as a key venue for corporate meetings and events as more and more people realise that here at the stadium not only do we have a fantastic Rugby Club we also offer lots more.