Undergraduate BBA Management consulting project
Bluestone Events is a professional event management business specialising in festivals, exhibitions and the outdoor leisure sector. Based in Cumbria, the company handles complete projects – ranging from bespoke functions to large outdoor exhibitions – or can deliver discrete elements of clients’ own events, such as logistics, marketing and sponsorship.
By 2010, the company’s founders Lucy Bennett and Kate Thomas had begun to amass an impressive portfolio of clients and were managing events such as the Outdoors Show, Dive Fest and their own Keswick Mountain Festival. Nevertheless, they were keen to continue expanding and so they turned their attentions to making plans for a new trade exhibition in Cumbria that would focus on the region’s event management industry. However, before making firm arrangements for the event, they knew that detailed market intelligence would be invaluable, so they readily accepted an offer of support through Lancaster University’s BBA Management 200 student project programme.
The support programme
“We needed to conduct market research to examine the basic feasibility of such an event,” explains Bluestone director, Lucy Bennett. “A key role for the students was to identify and evaluate the target market, looking at what kinds of business we might approach and what alternative trade exhibitions, if any, were available to them.
“Our event is intended to provide a cost-effective platform for business networking within the events industry, so we asked the students to consider not only potential exhibitors but also potential visitors. The event will comprise both an exhibition and conference, so the students were also given the task of assessing the suitability of different venues.”
Working to this brief, the team of six students carried out desk-based and telephone research over a period of ten weeks and submitted their findings in the form of a presentation and a detailed written report.
“The students were all very enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with,” recalls Lucy. “Their interpretation of the data they obtained was very good and I think their conclusions were absolutely right. They suggested new angles from which we might approach the development of the event and they certainly gave us a lot to think about. This was particularly valuable for us because, as a small, growing and very busy company, we don’t normally get the time to do this kind of work ourselves. It became a great source of useful information and new ideas.
“The students really seemed to enjoy the experience, which is great. They all showed a great deal of insight and their research has undoubtedly been very useful. They developed a good overview of the market in a short space of time and made some well reasoned proposals for changes to the event format. From that, we’ll be taking forward some very positive ideas.”
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