• April 11, 2024

An Interview with… Convene UK Managing Director Niamh Martin

An Interview with… Convene UK Managing Director Niamh Martin

An Interview with… Convene UK Managing Director Niamh Martin 1024 686 micebook.
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Niamh Martin recently joined Convene, a global lifestyle hospitality company that designs and manages premium meeting, event, and flexible workspaces, and whose portfolio of brands includes etc.venues, as UK managing director overseeing site operations, financial performance, and growth of the company’s U.K. business.  With 14 Convene and etc.venues locations across London, Manchester, and Birmingham – and another 23 locations in the United States – get to know Niamh.

Congratulations on your new role!  Can you tell us a little about your professional background, what drew you to join Convene, and what your position as UK MD entails? 

Thank you!  I am so excited to have joined Convene, especially as we are actively growing our portfolio of brands in the market – which includes etc.venues.  I’ve spent nearly 20 years working across lifestyle-driven hospitality organisations, from luxury retail to fine-dining restaurants, and there is an obvious through-line with Convene as it aims to bring a high-touch hospitality experience to the meetings and events and flexible workplace industries.  Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to join companies that were in the early stages of growth and have cultivated a distinct skillset in developing and executing strategies for expansion.  Not only will I get to leverage that experience at Convene, but I feel very fortunate to get to work with an incredible team who are as passionate about hospitality as I am.

The Convene portfolio of brands is described as “a partner, not a place” – what does that mean to you? 

One of the things I find so interesting about the Convene portfolio of brands is how they not only offer an alternative to traditional hotel meeting and event spaces, but also aim to improve the user experience across all touch points – everyone from the buyer, the planner, or the guest.  We offer a single point of contact to help bring our clients’ vision to life and help take care of the details – including on-site culinary, A/V, and event production resources – so clients can focus on creating an impactful event.  As someone who has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, I understand the importance of looking at each area of your business through the clients’ perspective and know that anticipating their needs from the offset allows you to quickly become a trusted partner.

Convene recently announced it was segmenting its portfolio of brands – can you tell us a little more about why and what that will look like?

Convene acquired etc.venues in early 2023, officially forming the Convene portfolio of brands and allowing the company to serve clients in more places and new ways.  It is important to us that our clients understand the different offerings across our portfolio when they consider the type of event they are hosting and so we recently announced a formal segmentation to help distinguish between Convene and etc.venues Both brands have hospitality and exceptional experience at the core, but vary slightly in the delivery – for example, etc.venues have a great many meeting rooms per location and can typically host multiple events from different partners at once, whereas Convene is better suited for clients who wish to have full autonomy over the venue.

Convene is set to celebrate its newest London venue, Convene Sancroft, St. Paul’s, later this month – can you tell us a little more about this location and how it complements your existing UK portfolio? 

Convene Sancroft, St. Paul’s will be the largest space within our global portfolio and will also be home to the largest single above-ground meeting room in City of London.  Not only is the venue in a desired location for our clients – Paternoster Square in the heart of London – but its sheer size will allow us to accommodate the increasing demand for large-scale events.  Convene has been very thoughtful in developing a portfolio of locations that can serve varying event types; so Convene Sancroft, St. Paul’s is well suited for major conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, or galas, while our other locations across London are ideal for trainings, company town halls, board meetings, or networking receptions.

What trends are you currently seeing across the MICE industry? 

Convene does more than observe trends across the meetings and events industry, we look for ways to improve the client experience based on the current needs or challenges.  We recognised that groups are more price-conscious in the current climate and have taken that into consideration to redefine our pricing strategy for this year, offering tiered packages suitable for various budgets.  In addition, we’ve seen a 10% increase in demand for small meetings, so we have worked to streamline the process for booking small meeting rooms and our clients can now reserve a space with less than 24 hours’ notice.

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