UBM stands firm, says attendance figures for Confex 2012 ‘flat’

UBM’s Confex Portfolio Director Jonny Sullens predicts that final figures for attendance at International Confex will come in “more or less flat, year-on-year”.

He picked out the Association Day and PA Day programmes and “packed theatres’ as show highlights. He also pointed to the appearance at the show of John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage as a real achievement.

“It has been a solid first year at Excel London,” Sullens told CN as the 2012 show closed. “Our idea now is to grow the show further,” he added, announcing he was freezing exhibitor stand rates for Earlybirds resigning for 2013.

“A visitor at Excel spends more time at the show and tends to sit for a full presentation having made the effort to attend,” he added, noting he was happy with the move from Earls Court.
Sullens admitted the issue of outflow into the boulevard for catering had provided a challenge. “Ideally you’d want them inside the hall, although the boulevard was rammed.”

In terms of exhibitor numbers, Sullens said there had been a five per cent rise and total stand space taken up remained “pretty much flat” on the 2011 figure.

Sullens recognised the need “to accelerate work” with the hosted buyers programme for next year and said UBM had already started work on that.

Sullens said he was confident that the show could stand firm against the competition from Centaur’s new launch for 2013 at Olympia, The Meetings Show UK.

The announcement from Centaur, he said, had caused “confusion” in the market and described their launch as “disappointing”.

The move from Centaur, said Sullens, was likely to stretch client budgets, with potential exhibitors doing either one, two or no shows. Many, he added, would wait and see.

“They have made some big promises requiring huge investment,” Sullens noted.

He said new Show Manager James Samuel had been “a great addition” to the Confex team and that the show had “turned the corner”.

Sullens also looked forward to the cable car project being realised in Docklands and promised to return a major exhibitor social event in 2013.

Any conference-related news? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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