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Convention Bureaux

Convention Bureaux Offices in UK

Convention Bureaux Offices across the UK have successfully adopted GRATIS, the’s cloud based venue finding tool, to generate meetings and events business for their individual destinations.

Over the past twelve months, expanded the GRATIS system user base to include sixteen leading UK Convention Bureaux. GRATIS has since been developed to encapsulate specific functionality required by the Convention Bureaux sector.

The Bureaux will be joining booking agencies, leading UK M.I.C.E. industry publications and central reservation offices to be powered by’s core venue database.
In 2015, the number of enquiries generated through GRATIS reached £1.29Billion and with the addition of UK Convention Bureaux, is expected to rise.

UK Convention Bureaux, including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and Bournemouth are using’s GRATIS system to power their destination websites, act as their CRM system and to handle Destination enquiries to partner venues.

Tim Clark, Strategic Development Director at commented: “The adoption of GRATIS requires the use of one enquiry portal, as opposed to the two previously being used by Meetings Planners. The efficiency of using only one portal and access to our venue database will vastly increase the number of enquiries venues receive throughout a year“. is the largest provider of RFPs to UK venues and the efficiency savings have already been expressed by several venues: “It has made such a difference having all the enquiries through one central system, we previously received enquiries via email and even though we have a great internal filing system, receiving enquiries via the portal allows us to simply track everything and is just great for us. We are really happy with how it’s working for us”. Bethany Hunter at The Sheffield Town Hall.

“We love having all our enquiries in one place; we’ve been using for many years and the addition of Leeds Conference Bureau is great for us.” Tracey Gibson – Horizon Leeds, Leeds.




Convention Bureaux Offices UK


From the venue perspective, consolidating local Convention Bureaux enquiries within the portal benefits the Bureaux by receiving swift responses to enquiries and allows venues to use a single portal for all of their enquiries.

“Since becoming fully listed on it has made it so much easier and time effective for us when working with Newcastle Gateshead Convention Bureau. Having all of our enquiries coming through on one central system is brilliant!” Tracey Sewell - Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle.

Tim has worked with UK Convention Bureaux since 2000 when his company, Velvet Software, developed the Chaser system.
“It’s great to welcome so many former Chaser clients to”, commented Tim. “This is an exciting time as my core focus within the business is system development and integrations; within a very short time period, we’ve expanded the functionality of Gratis to incorporate Chaser’s key features, and are now building out new features to benefit both the new Convention Bureaux users and existing Agency users of the system”.

“In my experience, the success of software systems is actively cultivating user feedback, delivering what clients need, not what providers think they might want. The agile development methods we employ with our in-house team of developers at absolutely allow us to respond quickly to clients’ requirements and industry trends”, added Tim.

Gratis User Forum

At the May Gratis User Forum, the Agency-Bureau relationship was also reinforced by Julie Rastelletti Newcastle Gateshead convention Bureau, and Karen Patten of Meetings & Events team. Julie commented: “We actively assist agents looking to place events within the destination”.



Karen Pattern

Karen Pattern


Karen Patten supported Julie by adding: “We’ve used Convention Bureaux, in particular Newcastle, who have always been extremely helpful contributing their local knowledge and is invaluable to planning a successful event”. The GRATIS User Forum is a great way for Convention Bureaux to learn about the latest industry trends, product enhancements and to discuss future developments to support them in their service delivery and to uphold prosperous client relationships.


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