The organiser of the 39th annual London Book Fair, Reed Exhibitions, estimates that the travel disruptions, as a result of the volcanic dust over Europe, could have hit visitor and exhibitor attendance at this year’s show to the tune of 20 per cent.
Speaking to the The Financial Times during the show, Reed Exhibitions’ group exhibition director, Alaistair Burtenshaw, said the three-day exhibition and conference, 19-21 April, would result in an attendance increase of seven per cent, year-on-year, and over 1,700 exhibitors.
Once the organiser knew of the travel disruptions, the customer service team contacted international exhibitors to ascertain whether interim stand helpers were needed and, although all weekend events took place as planned, those that couldn’t attend were able to nominate someone to replace them or receive a digital copy of the notes.
The organiser said there were no major speaker absences for the general seminars, however the FT noted many stands in Earl Court’s halls were left empty, “with others manned by a skeleton staff.
The London Book Fair provided a free business card/enquiry form box for affected stands with a 'Sorry we're currently unable to man our stand' stand sign.
See the next edition of Exhibition News to find out to what extent the disruptions ended up affecting the London Book Fair’s official attendance figures.