A coffee with Femke Kurstjens and Iris Janssen

During our monthly agency profile series, you get to know the team behind the Utrecht Convention Bureau (UCB) over a fresh cup of coffee. What drives them to promote Utrecht Region as a congress destination? And what does their daily routine look like?

We continue the series getting to know Femke Kurstjens and Iris Janssen, UCB’s Marketing and Communications Officers. Femke and Iris both work as Business and Talent marketers for Utrecht Marketing, of which the UCB is part of. Femke joined the UCB team in December 2019 when project manager Liza went on maternity leave and eventually she stuck around parttime to help Liza en Monique with the online marketing activities. To split the workload, Iris joined the UCB family as well in January 2021, and together they make sure the Utrecht Convention Bureau stays in the picture!

What can you tell us about your perfect morning brew?
Iris: “I always start my mornings with a lemon ginger tea! Actually, I never drink coffee so this tea is my perfect way to fully wake up and get ready for the day.”

Femke: “Same here! I don’t drink coffee either. I always start my day with a glass of water. I know, sound’s boring, right? However, during the day I would almost do anything for a perfect poured cup of chai latte. But only the one with milk and spices, not the version with watery tea and a bit of milk. Yes, I am very particular in my choice of the perfect chai!”

What is your most memorable congress or event experience?
Iris: “Due to the global pandemic, I have unfortunately only experienced the 2021 edition of the EventSummit - the Dutch national fair of the event industry – at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. But after more than a year of mostly working from home, it was great to finally meet and interact with our partners and prospects at this event.”

Femke: “I agree, meeting up with our partners in person again was absolutely a highlight of this year. I personally really enjoy the ‘Locatietours’ (venue tours) that the UCB organises twice a year, where we take 60+ national event planners along to visit divers venues in Utrecht Region. There is always such a good vibe coming from the enthusiastic meeting planners and venue owners. It is the perfect opportunity to network, exchange experiences and get inspired.”

Tell us more about your role
Iris: “Originally, we are both marketing and communication officers for the Business & Talent department of Utrecht Marketing. With our marketing and communication activities we try to attract new international businesses, talent and expats to Utrecht Region to stimulate economic growth. Since last year, we also assist the UCB with their marketing activities for a few hours per week.”

Femke: “Yes, we mainly help with content marketing, for example creating posts for the UCB social media accounts, redesign and further develop the website, and write blogs like this one. We also advise on marketing strategy and proof read articles and newsletter etc. We are happy we can help Monique and Liza with these activities, so they can focus on their core business: attracting international conventions to our beautiful region”.

What are you currently working on/towards? 
Iris: “We are focussing mainly on the ongoing content planning and creation for the social media channels, as we always want to provide our followers with the lasts news and updates. This also includes new articles, blogs and interviews. In combination with other Utrecht Region partners, we created an online marketing campaign that is in the air as we speak, about achieving your ambitions in Utrecht Region, which also focusses on event planners. Furthermore, another bigger project is the development of the new UCB website, as mentioned earlier. Utrecht has implemented a new brand design, so we will change the look and feel, and rewrite the entire website to be able to facilitate everyone’s needs. We hope to launch the new website at the beginning of next year.”

What accomplishment of the Utrecht Convention Bureau are you most proud of?
Femke: “I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we are not only very proud of what Liza and Monique have accomplished the past 10 years, but we might be even prouder of the resilience the UCB team has shown over the pas 1.5 years, during the pandemic. Our core business was blown away, we had to work from home but still promote a region to an international public whom where not aloud to travel, and there where so many uncertainties. However, everyone kept up their good spirits and the team worked very hard to stay on top of mind with our partners and the event industry. We are very proud of what the team has achievement under these difficult circumstances.” 

What is your favourite hideout in Utrecht Region?
Iris: “As I’m living in the busy city centre of Utrecht, I love to explore the green surroundings around the city to find some peace and quiet. My favourite spots are Amelisweerd and Den Treek forest. Amelisweerd is where I go often to walk and afterwards have lunch at De Veldkeuken (field kitchen). Den Treek forest is nearby Amersfoort. This forest I used to visit a lot as a child with my family. I always feel nostalgic when going back.”

Femke: “I haven’t been living in Utrecht Region for a long time. I moved to Nieuwegein just 2 weeks before the first lockdown in 2020. This forced me to get to know the region on my own, often by bike. However, this way I discovered so many nice spots in nature. Amelisweerd is one of them or the fortifications along the New Dutch Waterline, but I also like the forests in National Park the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. When I am back in the city of Utrecht, I love to go to Soep-er, a small café near the Dom tower where they serve a very good chai latte.”

With whom would you like to share your morning coffee one day?
Iris: “I wouldn’t say no to sharing my morning coffee with Dutch actor Michiel Huisman one day, preferably when he shows up in his Game of Thrones outfit, ha ha.”

Femke: “Even though I don’t like coffee, I would make an exception for Ed Sheeran – he is just an amazing singer and a funny guy - but only if he sings me a song afterwards.”

Connect with Femke on LinkedIn  Connect with Iris on LinkedIn