Centaur Exhibitions today announced a series of initiatives and additional investment designed to secure substantial increases in the hosted buyer, trade visitor and exhibitor communities within the show.
With the appointment of new hosted buyer recruiters, ever-more focused marketing and additional staffing resources, hosted buyers are set to rise by more than 50% to 750 including a notable increase from within the UK. New recruiter organisations include Global Cynergies, the global site selection agency, tasked with bringing in a substantial group from within the UK and mainland Europe.
The education programme will include core elements for the corporate and agency sectors with additional sessions tailored for the PA and marketing agency audiences. The highly commended Association Conference will again take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 7 July, 2014 and is set to double delegate numbers. Linda Pereira, executive director of CPL Events has been confirmed as conference chair and will be advised by a specialist panel convened from the association sector.
Plans are underway for the exhibitor community, both from the UK and internationally, to significantly expand. Turkey has already confirmed, and with countries such as Sweden increasing the size of their stand, they will be joined shortly by an array of new international destinations. The UK sector of the show is also experiencing growth with key destinations already confirmed and showing their confidence by increasing their presence at the show.
Steve Knight, event director commented: “This is a show created for meetings professionals by meetings professionals – everything we do is guided by our desire to serve this sector well and create a show worthy of the industry.
Last year’s show saw more than 6,740 pre-scheduled appointments take place across the three days through the hosted buyer programme alone and we expect this to rise to in excess of 10,000 this year. The feedback regarding the quality of these buyers and the walk-on business confirms a successful launch event and with continued financial investment and extra team resource, we believe the 2014 show will stand in a class of its own.”
Key exhibitor feedback from the 2013 show included:
Steven Small, Head of Business Tourism from Visit Manchester: “The show has been a great platform for us to showcase Manchester’s dynamic conference offer, not just Manchester as a destination but also some of our great venues. The show experience has been great. We’ve had a nice balance of both pre-scheduled appointments and walk on meetings. The quality of buyer has been very good. Something we’ve always strived for in Manchester is looking for ways we can ensure the quality of our conversations, and the meetings we’ve had have been really good. And The Meetings Show has been a great platform to do that. A Hosted Buyer programme has allowed that quality to shine through.”
Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, the city’s strategic marketing partnership that operates Meet Birmingham, said: “Our decision to attend the inaugural Meetings Show paid off, with a large number of high-quality appointments taking place at our stand. The buyers we engaged with displayed a genuine interest in Birmingham as a meetings and events destination. Overall, the show had a really positive atmosphere and attracted very high calibre delegates. Its education programme also seemed to be very well received, helping to focus discussions around event technology, social media & marketing and the ROI of meetings.”
Kevin Leaver, Head of Events, Millbrook Events: “It was great to have exhibited at The Meetings Show and we were very impressed with the quality of delegates and exhibitors, particularly as this was the first year of the show. A hosted buyer show in the UK is something that our industry has been lacking and The Meetings Show is a welcome addition to Events calendar, offering exhibitors access to a range of prospects that we have not seen before. Whilst we “dipped our toe” in this year with space on the MIA stand, I will definitely be putting The Meeting Show into our budget for next year.”