Founded in 2009 Broadway Events is now the education industry leaders with the Childcare and Education Expo, as well as running the highly successful Care Roadshows and prestigious Future of Care. Founder and director Emma Barrett (left) and senior marketing executive Kara Neill (right) told EN why running successful exhibitions is child’s play.
How would you describe Broadway Events?
Kara Neill: We put our heart and soul into everything we do. Although we are a small team, we have big achievements and aspirations.
How does being independent affect the way Broadway operates?
Emma Barrett: Being independent means that we can be as flexible as we like and respond to changes at speed. This has been particularly useful over the past few years while the industry has been so unstable and ever-changing. We’ve consistently acted quickly and communicated our changes efficiently which has really helped us through these tough times.
Another advantage of being independent is the quality teamwork that results from the working environment. The team is always collaborative, open and honest which allows us to produce the best work possible.
Some of your biggest industries, care, education and childcare have been amongst the most significantly affected by Covid-19. How have your communities adapted and how can you reassure exhibitors and visitors?
KN: It has been an incredibly tough few years for these industries and while a lot of the world were drawn to a stop, they didn’t have that option. They have been persevering and supporting those that they care for and we couldn’t be prouder to be involved with such fantastic communities.
We work very closely with each of the sectors as it’s crucial that we stay up-to-date with the current news and issues. A vital part of all of our events is that they provide visitors with relevant support for any challenges they might be facing.
We do a lot of market research before each event so that we can establish what the visitors needs may be and we use this to build our speaker programmes.
Despite concerns surrounding Covid-19, the Future of Care Conference sold out in 2021 and a number of the seminars and panel discussions at Childcare & Education Expo Midlands 2021 were sold out – a testament to quality.
How are plans coming along for the Childcare and Education Expo in March?
KN: After having to postpone four times we are bursting at the seams to get this show out the door. It almost feels as though we have been planning this event since 2020 so to say that we are prepared is an understatement – we are raring to go.
What makes Broadway different from other events companies?
KN: We have always been a small company, currently a team of ten, with every member of staff passionate about their role.
We put quality customer service at the forefront of everything we do and offer a personable approach. We always go the extra mile and this is what sets us apart from other companies.
How have you coped as a company over the past two years?
KN: If it wasn’t for the incredible relationships we hold with our exhibitors, contractors and speakers – I think the past two years would have been slightly different for us. We’ve been shown an incredible amount of understanding from everyone we work with which has made it easier when moving events.
We wouldn’t have made it through the past few years if it wasn’t for the team at Broadway Events. We are like a family and everyone has stepped up and worked harder than ever before, supporting each other immensely along the way.
Do you think being a smaller, independent company has made it harder or easier to cope and adapt during the pandemic?
EB: There have been disadvantages and advantages to being such a small company. The pressure on the team has been ten-fold as there were so few of us, however this pressure has led to team members discovering new talents and really strengthening their skill sets.
We are also a lot stronger as a business now because we survived with minimal revenue coming in.
If the world returned to pre2020 normal tomorrow– is there anything you have learned from the past 20 months that you would want to take with you?
EB: As many others did, we took the digital world by storm when we couldn’t hold any physical events. As a result, we have up-skilled in technology which has helped us really grow as a company and try new things that we wouldn’t have considered pre-pandemic.
Something that has really stood out is the importance of a healthy company and team culture. The pandemic has brought us even closer together as a team and this will only make us stronger moving forward. This also extends to the exhibition industry who have worked so collaboratively with each other, helping and sharing information wherever possible.
Are there any other hurdles that we need to overcome as an industry?
EB: Over the past two years the industry has lost a lot of contractors and with events still moving dates, this is going to continually have
an impact. Covid-19 is something that we will all have to keep in mind this year so we can reassure visitors and meet their needs.
Sustainability is something else the industry will need to put focus on this year. We play a key role in the climate crisis and I
think we all need to help minimise our impact on the environment. We have recently pledged our support to the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge – a fantastic industry initiative to address these issues.
And finally, what does the medium to long term future look like for Broadway?
EB: We are working on building our communities to engage with them all year round and not just at the events. Currently, the main focus is getting our events back on track in 2022 and looking to introducing some new events in 2023 and beyond.
This feature appears in the February issue of Exhibition News.