Birmingham NEC is in discussions with organisers about developing alternative events with a similar audience profile to the recently cancelled Event UK.
Event UK organiser UBM Live announced the meetings show’s cancellation yesterday following a bleak outlook for this year’s event. UBM Live portfolio director Jonny Sullens said the company would instead increase investment and resources in its flagship meetings industry show, International Confex.
NEC venue sales director Richard Pegler told EN that while the NEC was “very disappointed UBM Live has decided to cancel Event UK”, it respects and understands its decision.
“We are already in discussions with organisers about alternative events with a similar audience profile and look forward to developing these new opportunities further,” he commented.
Event UK, formerly the National Venue Show, was bought by UBM Live three years ago. Despite its formerly loyal support base, exhibitors and visitors told EN the news hadn’t come as a surprise.
“We have given it all the chances we could. Since it turned into Event UK, it has totally lost its way,” said Emma Boynton, head of sales and marketing for Loughborough-based conference organiser Imago. “I think they tried to make it all things to all people and we didn’t have a clear reason for going anymore.” She claimed communication from Event UK organisers in the lead-up to the 2010 event was minimal.
“We had no intention of booking again this year. It seems a real shame we haven’t got a strong exhibition in the Midlands. Confex is all very well but it’s very London-based.”
The BT Convention Centre Liverpool has exhibited at Event UK for the past three years. “We received great leads and a number of events were won from visitors to the show over the years,” said general manager Jacquie Rogers. “However, the decision to cancel Event UK will give Confex more appeal, and attract more visitors from further afield.”
International Confex is to take place at Earls Court from 1 to 3 March 2011. Sullens said visitors will be better served by one leading industry event with the resources behind it to “up the ante every year to meet changing demands”.
UBM claims last year’s edition of Event UK drew 3,818 visitors to the NEC.
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