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FROM the Middle East to the East of England – with more than 20 years event industry experience, Dean Rees is relishing his new role of attracting more business to the region.
As recently appointed business development manager for the rebranded East of England Area and Events Centre, Dean will use his wealth of knowledge to promote the venue as a premier B2B events destination – and the gateway to doing business within the region.
He said: “My objective is to bring large regional and national B2B exhibitions to the arena in order that they can take advantage of a relatively untapped market. The East of England economy is an untapped market for most show organisers.
“The regional economic drivers include food and drink, not surprising giving our proximity to the agricultural and farming sector, manufacturing, digital and creative as well as transport and logistics.
“The Eastern region also has one of the fastest growing populations anywhere in the UK and many leading brands have chosen to make Cambridgeshire their base of operations, brands including Amazon, Bauer, Ikea, Thomas Cook, Perkins.”
Dean has worked in the event industry for more than two decades, on many types of corporate events within the UK. He spent three years working as Event Manager at the National Maritime Museum in London where he managed both corporate and B2B events.
He also managed several royal events and head of state visits.
Dean returned to the UK after spending eight successful years living and working in Dubai as business development manager as well international sales director within the B2B exhibitions industry.
A keen fisherman, Dean is back living in the East Midlands and enjoying the chance to resume his hobby on the local rivers and lakes and taking up his new professional challenge.
He added: “The main challenge I face is trying to communicate to event organisers the growing economic opportunities that exist within the eastern region. My first task within my new role was to oversee the rebranding of the business. The old Showground model no longer accurately reflected the position of the business and a decision was taken in 2016 to rebrand. The repositioning is important since it reflects our regional audience demographic and demonstrates that our venue is a multi-purpose modern events centre. The future growth strategy for the business is now very much focused upon building on the new brand.
“In order to achieve our objectives we have forged several important new partnerships. To improve our accommodation offering we are working with many of the local hotels in and around Peterborough, with a view to offering exhibitors and visitors better room rates during their stay. In regards to travel, we are working with Virgin Trains East Coast with a view to offering visitors promotional offers for their train journey. This will cut down on car use and hopefully will draw more people to the region.”
The success of the perfectly positioned venue – which enjoys excellent road and road links – has grown in recent months by continuing to build on Peterborough’s profile as an entertainment hub.
Comedy nights, which have seen Billy Connolly and Jack Whitehall perform at the arena, as well as a sell-out show with science superstar Professor Brian Cox – are helping to bring in new audiences.
Dean strongly believes that this is the start of more great things to come – and events he hopes to have an active role in attracting to the venue. “We have really started to build the profile of the venue through some of the bigger public ticketed events which we have been hosting, and more are planned.
“I am definitely working towards bringing at least one leading food exhibition, and another which is related to manufacturing sector, as I believe these are two key markets that the region has to offer potential show organisers.”