The event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, The Meetings Show, has reported increased buyer attendance following a change of format for 2018.
Taking place on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 June, The Meetings Show introduced a new two-day format for this year, with a streamlined hosted buyer programme and brand-new Pre-Show Conference on Tuesday 26 June.
The change in format was in response to overwhelming feedback from exhibitors and buyers that a two-day event would offer more productive time out of the office without sacrificing opportunities to network, learn and do business.
Attendance at The Meetings Show by hosted buyers increased by over 30%, with a 10% increase in pre-scheduled appointments to more than 10,800. This took the average appointments per exhibitor from 13 to 17, year-on-year.
The three-day programme for hosted buyers, including the Pre-Show Conference and a Welcome Reception at the Science Museum, proved particularly popular and was fully subscribed weeks ahead of the event, attended by more than 300 hosted buyers.
Visitor numbers increased by 4% year-on-year, despite the show being a day shorter, and exhibitors have already hailed The Meetings Show 2018 a success, with 39% choosing to rebook their stands for the following year while onsite.
The Meetings Show group event director, David Chapple, said: "I am absolutely delighted with the triumph of The Meeting Show’s new two-day format. Both days were packed full of networking opportunities and insightful education, as well as bringing meetings professionals from around the world together to do business. The simplified Hosted Buyer Programme has been our most successful to date, the Pre-Show Conference was attended by more than 350 delegates and the Hosted Buyer Welcome Reception has been praised by everyone I’ve spoken to.”
Feedback from both exhibitors and buyers attending The Meetings Show has been positive, with Florian Gerdes, marketing manager conventions at Hamburg CVB, saying: “I think this year’s show has been much better than last year, having a two-day show with the Pre-Show Conference is a much better format. We had a really good number of pre-scheduled appointments and the show has felt really busy, we’ve also had some good walk-ons to the stand.”
Hosted buyer Danielle Patrick, Senior Events Manager, AMA, said: “Being a hosted buyer at the meetings show is such a great opportunity. It really utilises your time well and allows you to have conversations across two days that you’d normally have to spend weeks initiating. It’s the venue showcase to attend.”
Hosted buyer Rachael Cannon, junior project manager at Shore Events, said: “I’ve worked in events for years but recently moved agency side. The Hosted Buyer programme has been a really good introduction to destinations, hotels and venues from an agency point of view and to have meetings set up for me has invaluable. I’ve learned a lot about all the options available.”
This year, The Meetings Show was opened by James Heappey MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Events Industry. On opening the show, he said: “It’s really good to see an event like this in London, which is not only a great showcase for the UK events industry, but also a reminder that we really are a major player in the global events industry. The Meetings Show is a really important part of the British brand and it really underlines that the UK is well-connected and a great place to visit and have your meetings, conferences and events.”