Staff at professional conference organiser (PCO) Meeting Makers have been left deeply saddened after its Glasgow office announced it was to close just days before Christmas.

The company, which specialises in organising large-scale association conferences of 6,000-plus delegates, and has been based in the city for 30 years, is to centralise its operations in Wiltshire following what it called ‘highly competitive trading conditions in Scotland’.

Meeting Makers is one of the UK’s longest-established PCOs and took gold at the Scottish Event Awards for its delivery of the European Hernia Society (EHS) 36th Annual Congress 2014.

It was also named Scottish Event Awards Finalist 2016, in the category of “Best Conference Held in Scotland”, for the organisation of the 25th Congress of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry on behalf of The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, which took six years to develop.

Speaking to EventsBase, its Managing Director, Clive Thomson said the decision to close the company – which has delivered over 900 conferences in the city – was “very sad” on all those affected but that the ‘big competitors coming into Scotland’ had forced the move.

In a formal statement, the company said that the changes have ‘regretfully led to several redundancies, which the business is supporting with interview mentoring. So far some of those affected have already found employment elsewhere.’

A spokesperson for the business, Philip Allott, added: “Projections of future income for Glasgow were not sufficient to justify current running costs following highly competitive trading conditions in Scotland. Reluctantly the firm has taken the very difficult decision to close the Glasgow office. The rest of the business continues to trade normally.”

Some staff will continue to work in the office for several more months while existing contracts are completed, the company added.

Fiona McGillivray, Conference Manager at Meeting Makers, said in a LinkedIN post: “Well I think the word is finally out. Meeting Makers (Glasgow office) is closing after 30 years and we’re all being made redundant. We’ve known for a while and some staff have got other jobs. I’m still looking, so if any of my connections hear of any events jobs going, or any other jobs where I could use my transferable skills, please do let me know! Thanks in advance and have a great Christmas and a wonderful 2018!”