Upper Street Events has opted to put its birdwatching consumer show on ice following its debut this year.
London Wild Bird Watch Live was launched from 24 to 26 February at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes and featured temporary halls for a shopping village, a 450-seat theatre and a 110m, double-decker viewing structure for visitors to test out new products. Tickets included access to the centre.
Upper Street Events MD Paul Byrom said a lower-than-expected visitor result and several commercial and operational changes had prompted the organiser to put a hold on the event after one edition.
“The team worked incredibly hard on it and I’m proud of what they delivered – the look and feel was superb and the content was engaging,” Byrom told EN. “Unfortunately, the numbers were nowhere near what we wanted, which was disappointing.”
Byrom attributed the below-par result to poor weather conditions, not fully capitalising on visitor promotion through its marketing partners early enough, and several subsequent questions about the show’s narrow focus.
“I wasn’t willing to commit to going forward in the current format, so it’s gone back into our new business development pot,” he continued. “We are now looking at new venues, timelines, and reshaping the proposition. We think there is something in it, so we will come back when we’re in the advanced stages of researching this further.”
For example, Byrom pointed out each theatre session was two-thirds full, while the technological infrastructure used to broadcast live feeds of the wetlands into the theatre sessions proved a major achievement.
“The exhibitors didn’t do as well as they should have done because of the visitor figures, but they were hugely supportive of the look, feel and content, and the people that did attend were bang-on,” Byrom added. “We now have to work out a better way forward.
“Basically, it comes down to how we make it more commercially viable, because it doesn’t make commercial sense at the moment.”
London Wild Bird Watch founder and director Chris James has since left Upper Street Events to take up a post at Informa. The future of the event is being overseen by head of new business, Shirry Liram.
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