Case Study: Winner of the Best In-house Team of the Year at the 2017 ICE Awards

Case Studies
19.03.2018 15:42



Events can do great things and the last year showed just what a high performing in-house events team could do for an organisation. This small and hugely effective team of four at Universities UK are a testament to businesses investing in events and how important they can be to any organisation.

in-house team of the year  Sponsored by SEC
uuk events team, universities uk


The Team The UUK events team is only 2 1/2 years old but in this very short space of time they have set up an effective, highly regarded and profitable in house events function from scratch.

Rachael Firth, Head of Events, has a background in corporate and not for profit events with a range of experience in places such as Emap, ITV and NUS. She was brought in at the start of this new approach to set the team up and lead them to fulfil the huge potential, which the events function had.

Katie Ross, Events Officer, is the logistics lead is continually looking at how the team can make things slicker and improve the experience for delegates, speakers and sponsors. She is also branching out in to sponsor procurement, building pipelines and leading on sponsor communication.

Agnes Jacobs, Event Producer, is a content specialist who was brought in to align with their new focus on the content of our events. She works with colleagues across the organisation making sure they are focusing on the most relevant and up to date topics, which their audience needs and wants. She also carries out extensive research and validation with key people in the sector.

Holly Wildish Jones, Events and Marketing Officer eats admin tasks for breakfast and is coming up with new ideas by brunch. Holly is the youngest and newest member of the team who supports everyone in various aspects of their work and leads on our marketing output. She has revolutionised their communications, from data, to copy, to design to using analytics to inform campaigns.

Together they provide a small organisation with an event support service, to help them meet their aims and objective and provide a large and now vital stream of revenue.

Scope of Responsibility The UUK events team specialise in conferences with a portfolio of 19, for profit, over the academic year. They are committed to providing the best content, delivered by the best speakers, in the most timely and accessible way. The conferences are all for leaders who work in Higher Education. The team also manage internal not for profit events focusing on the organisation policy and lobbying aims. Events such as breakfast briefings, dinners, hosting’s, roundtables, report launches and seminars.

Star Qualities Over the last year, the team have focused on event content, living by the mantra ‘content is king’. All content now goes through a validation process, which they have developed. The team are always asking what is the best way to present content and what do their audience need to know. This focus on content has attracted delegates and sponsors from across the sector and their events have become the place to go to receive the most up to date and relevant briefing in the HE sector.

Added Value There are 2 areas in which the team adds value to the business. Firstly revenue and secondly, supporting organisational aims. In 2017 their events contributed £215k to the organisation, which is a considerable revenue stream. It is also very important for the team that they demonstrate a wider value to Universities UK. To do this they have set a number of clear objectives. (1) Stakeholder engagement (2) Policy promotion and influencing (3) Positioning and profile rising of Universities UK (4) Revenue generation and (5) Member engagement. Developing these 5 key objectives allows the team to link all of their activity back to the ‘why’ and they can use this to demonstrate to the business just what events are capable of. A knock-on effect of setting up the team is that they have freed up staff time and therefore resource.

Achievements over the last 12 months The UUK events team has become so successful it is now a critical revenue stream to the organisation. In 2013/2014 the events at Universities UK turned over £206k in 16/17 they turned over £603k (+200% growth). In 2013/2014 events contribute approximately £40k to Universities UK but with the implementation of this new team they now contribute £210k, which is a 425% growth.The team have also achieved an average delegate satisfaction score of 8.4 out of 10 across all our events. In addition to this, they generated £133k worth of sponsorship.

The Judges Comments The Universities UK event team clearly demonstrated the value a high performing events team has brought to the organisation.  Their metrics included measurements on attendee satisfaction as well as financials, so not only did they deliver an increase of 425% to the bottom line, but they also delivered a great attendee experience through understanding their audiences and developing relevant content.  Their goals were clear from the outset and their passion and commitment to their objectives was obvious.  You could tell that they approach their work with a light heart and a lot of fun.

Good strategy, good process, good metrics
Steady aim deliver
Clever delivery, clever use of technology
Clear accountability
Brilliant logistics


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