28th February 2008
The biggest trade show in the UK events calendar, International Confex, hit London’s Earls Court recently delivering a feast of options for anyone in the business of organising conferences and meetings, and planning their exhibition presence.
As well as the large number of exhibitors, ranging from venues and destinations, to caterers, party and entertainment companies and suppliers, education was high on the agenda. The three seminar theatres were well attended throughout the show, particularly for award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli’s keynote speech on the importance of food at events, which had to be screened live to adjacent theatres to meet demand. What’s more, the advice centre and CV clinic were also fully booked for the entire three days of the event.
There was certainly a great buzz around Confex this year, especially on day two, which was very busy indeed. Creativity in stand design was also impressive, and the variety of exhibitors also added to the interest and excitement. The only downside was that it was easy to get lost – there must be a better way to signpost these events – and, as seems to be a regular feature of exhibitions these days, the cafés were expensive, although the food on offer was of reasonable quality.
Post-show news from organisers CMP was extremely positive, with pre-ABC audit figures suggesting the highest ever visitor numbers in the event’s 25-year history, hitting 9,550, 15% higher than 2006.
“I am delighted with the onsite figures and the response from our visitors to this year’s show,” said event director Duncan Reid. “Our exhibitors once again pulled out all the stops to help support the show and deliver quality visitors. We are definitely moving in the right direction refining the product so we can continue to build and grow the event for the future.”
Visitors and exhibitors alike seemed generally impressed with this year’s event. On the visitor side, Lisa Wigley of Evolution Partners commented: “I have been a visitor to Confex for the past three years and this year I am really impressed by the variety of venues, destinations and suppliers.” Meanwhile, debutant Joseph Morgan of Burnham Beeches Hotel said: “It has given me lots of ideas and the seminars were full of useful advice.”
From an exhibitor perspective, Martin Boyle of Edinburgh International Conference Centre said: “This year’s show looked fantastic and we got some really good enquiries from a number of visitors.” John Vibert at Hotel de France agreed, adding: “Confex 2008 has been the best show so far. There was plenty of support both pre and during the show and we have had a number of positive enquiries. Overall we are very happy!”
Venues, TSNN and Exhibitions.co.uk shared a stand at the show and enjoyed great success. Gaby Wilson, Sales Manager at Tarsus said “this is the first year I have taken part as an exhibitor having been a visitor several times. I was impressed with the number of visitors and range of exhibitors, it was certainly a good way to introduce our new website exhibitions.co.uk and further promote the strong TSNN brand.
Sean Mitchell, Brand Manager for Venues.org.uk enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with his many advertisers whilst they were all in one place and meet those businesses he hadn’t yet had an opportunity to speak to: “It was encouraging to see that Confex still manage to draw in not only high visitor numbers but also high key representatives from the major groups and organisations involved in the meetings and events industry.”
Check out our caricaturist’s drawings of our stand visitors in the photos below!