UBM quick to hail Confex content, but expects ‘flat’ attendance

UBM, organiser of International Confex, hailed the 2013 show as having the best content programme in its history.

Speaking as the show wrapped up on 21 March at Excel London, Event Director James Samuel told CN the show had more of a buzz and “the best ever content” this year. “Exhibitors managed to showcase themselves really well,” he said.

UBM did not hurry to release any preliminary visitor figures, as had been done in the past, however, although Samuel accepted exhibitor numbers were down on the previous edition.

He expected visitor numbers, including the co-located Live Experience, to come in flat, which, he said, would not be a bad effort considering the economic backdrop.

Confex celebrated its 30th birthday with Confex Week,  which included a range of events including discussions, education, meetings, buyer events, and promotional campaigns, both inside and outside the Excel London venue. The week also saw the launch of both the Meeting Professionals International UK Economic Impact Survey and the All Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry by Nick de Bois MP.

“We’re proud of our show and our outstanding exhibitors this year; there was a buzz around the show, and the whole week, that underlined why Confex Week continues to be the most important dates in the UK event calendar,” said Samuel, who claimed the co-located shows had produced “universally positive feedback from buyers within social networks”.

“The product this year was superb, and in my opinion is the best we have ever produced, this is significant in making sure we get them back in 2014.”

International Confex is contracted to Excel for one more year.

Samuel said International Confex was on the “first steps of a three-year plan to grow this event and boost our industry; next year needs to be bigger and better again, and with the help of our exhibitors, buyers and our partners in the industry, I’m confident we’ll do it again”.

Asked to pick out show highlights, Samuel told CN the keynote speaker sessions with John Prescott and Janet Street-Porter, as well as the press conference with the APPG and Nick de Bois, had been key events.

Samuel said the ISES Wednesday party night at Tobacco Dock had attracted 1,250 people. There were some thirsty customers, however, as the bar ran dry temporarily at 8.30pm.

Mash Media and Conference News staked out a big presence at Confex  this year and its famous 3pm Wednesday drinks session, sponsored by W12 Conferences, drew one of the biggest crowds of the show.

“For the second year running we were pleased to be able to strengthen our relationship with Mash Media by sponsoring the drinks reception. As a West London venue we find it great to be part of an industry get-together that brings a wide range of prospective clients together. Talking to these clients, there seems to be a great demand for our kind of venue that combines quality facilities with a great low DDR of £26,” said Tony Steedman, Conference Manager at W12 Conferences.

W12 Conferences also donated an iPad Mini for the business card draw (pictured).

Do you have news for CN? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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