International Confex reinforced its position as a creative hub for brands, event agencies and suppliers to engage and share ideas this week, when it filled Olympia London’s Grand hall, 1-2 March.
Brands including Playstation, Innocent and Macmillan took to the stage to offer the industry both insight and inspiration and were featured among an exhaustive and informative conference programme.
“This year we have focused even more on offering the perfect setting for the industry to meet. We have truly established Confex as an essential event on the industry calendar and we feel our creativity and innovation helps to challenge and inspire the event world. By bringing together brands, event agencies and suppliers under one roof we feel we’re enabling our peers to engage on a whole new level and help strengthen our industry further,” said Liz Agostini, event director.
Thirty percent of the show featured new exhibitors and returning exhibitors reported a strong show. The Discover Telford stand reported double the number of visitors compared to last year, saying they were delighted by the quality of enquiries. “We’ve left with some really great enquiries from qualified buyers with a genuine interest and excitement about our investment,” said Sarah Bird, destination tourism programme officer for Telford & Wrekin Council.
Southport Conferences unveiled its new brand at the show as part of the destination’s return to the exhibition in 2017. The new brand ‘Southport – Different Everytime’ is part of a wider marketing campaign that will underline the many different experiences that visitors can enjoy while in the destination.
“We’re delighted to bring our new brand to Confex and excited to give it its first outing in front of meetings and events professionals,” said Sammi Rudge, business tourism development officer at Southport Conferences.
“Our event visitors are as diverse as our leisure visitors; everything from large association meetings to corporate incentive days on the golf course. It’s important to us, that every visitor takes away a refreshingly different experience…every time.”
Southport is also celebrating the return of The Open to the destination later this summer where it will be hosted in Royal Birkdale for the 10th time. The 146th Open will once again showcase Southport’s ability to host major global events, and still create different experiences in and around the region.
“Golf is a big reason for some corporates to choose Southport,” added Rudge, but said there were also opportunities to use the beach for sporting activities and include a more healthy, lifestyle element to meetings.
The Confex conference programme continued to draw the crowds with the Day 2 keynote Jason Allan Scott wowing the audience with his quirky take on ‘in-trepreneurialism’ versus entrepreneurialism during the show’s second day.
Scott offered insights into how to pursue breakthrough ideas. Tips included the importance of working collaboratively, being creative and maintaining flexibility. He also placed great value on the importance of being connected: “Your network is your net worth. You’ve never been more connected as everything you need is out there. You need to do the work and make friends,” he said.