25th November 2009
This year's Confex International show was a huge success in spite of country being in the midst of its worst recession in decades, with record numbers of visitors attending the event.
And next year's event, which is being held from February 23rd to the 25th, promises to be just as popular, according to Confex International portfolio director Duncan Reid.
"[The last] show was the biggest ever, so we had more visitors than ever before, around 15,000 was the total attendance. I think, realistically, [next] year we're going to see a similar attendance," he said.
Although exhibition space has been down this year in terms of square metres, most events have seen visitor numbers remain level compared to 2008 or have been up slightly, so Mr Reid is confident that Confex will follow this pattern.
"Exhibitor numbers, I think, will be about the same as well, we'll have about 1,000 exhibitors turn up to the show," he added.
"I'm not sure if they'll spend as much money on their stand or if there will be as much champagne as in previous years, but I'm still expecting a really good turnout and some really good ideas that the exhibitors are looking to show off," Mr Reid continued.
Each year, Confex has an overarching theme. While this year's premise was dealing with the credit crunch and delivering events on smaller budgets, 2010 will focus on reinvigoration and revitalisation within the industry, as well as helping event organisers get maximum value.
"All of the seminars that we're putting together and all the content will be helping the visitors deal with that," Mr Reid confirmed.
There will be a range of new features appearing in Confex International 2010, such as the theme factory, based on "six different themed areas which are done on quite a good budget but will hopefully give people some ideas and inspiration".
An outdoors section is another new addition and will offer ideas on how a venue can make the most of any al fresco space to run extra events alongside the standard conference and banqueting offering.
In addition, Thursday 25th will be "PA day", with tailored content aimed specifically at senior secretaries and executive personal assistants.
On Tuesday 23rd, the show will open later for the first time, running until 7pm.
"That's really to give all those people who when it gets to lunchtime and they have to go back to the office, it still means they can come back to the show and get round to see a lot of the exhibitors before it shuts in the evening," Mr Reid explained.
However, he would not reveal the keynote speakers for 2010, which organisers are keeping firmly under wraps until the weeks leading up to the show.
Mr Reid insisted that exhibitions such as Confex are still a huge draw for those working in and with the events industry.
"I think one of the great things that exhibitions do is that, if your budget has been cut by ten per cent and you're an event organiser looking to buy the best venues and products, and services, going to a show like Confex means you can actually speak to all these people and ensure that you're getting the best deal," he said.
He believes that reduced budgets are also boosting competition between those within the events industry.
"We have seen a few venue refurbishments and launches so there's always new stuff coming onto the market so it remains competitive," he concluded.