UK Venue Show Director Tanya Cohen says venues want choice in their sector’s exhibition market and is confident she can deliver a successful launch show at Olympia.
ODEON Conferencing and Events, the Business Design Centre, the Concept Centre and One Great George Street are four of the venue names signed up for a show that co-locates with owner Ocean Media’s Event Production Show, 1-2 February.
“ROI is the key to any definition of success rather than simply numbers,” says Cohen, and says the UK Venue Show carries far less risk than more expensive shows in the sector.
Cohen says she would “love over 30 venues to exhibit” and believes the co-located shows, being marketed together, should pull in 4,000 visitors. The Event Production Show, attracted 3,600 visitors last year.
“The Event Production Show does what it says on the tin and will attract many event buyers searching for suppliers, including venues,” says Cohen, who notes the biggest challenge, “aside from the general state of the UK economy and depressed budgets”, has been industry people “losing a little faith in the UK exhibitions that are out there”.
“However, this is my sector and I have been touched at how many people have welcomed me back and been so supportive personally.”
Cohen’s career in the events sector exhibitions includes launching Square Meal and the old National Venue Show, as well as running Confex.
She lists as her greatest challenge selling the show to people who haven’t budgeted for it, but who have been receptive to her new launch. “We would have doubled the exhibitors if they had money,” she believes.
On the question of the fast changing meetings industry show market in the UK, Cohen sees the acquisition of RSVP by the Confex Group as “a strange move”.
“Why would they want to buy a failing show,” Cohen asks, adding that the previous RSVP owners, Single Market Events, “had taken the finger off the pulse and run that exhibition brand into the ground”.
The new Ocean Media show, by contrast, Cohen notes, will be better value for exhibitors. Exhibitions that have been around a long time, she believes, have more to lose “only being as good as their last show”.
Asked about major venue committing to the UK Venue Show, Cohen noted that the Meetings Industry Association was getting involved and that the Association of Event Venues was endorsing the show. “ISES UK will also be involved in at least one of our sessions,” she added. "And with an exciting few weeks ahead, we are confident of booking more leading venues."
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