The London International Horse Show will be held at ExCeL in December for the second year running, following its 49-year tenure at Olympia. EN finds out what made the first edition at the Royal Docks venue successful and why the majority of its visitors will be coming back for more.
Along with the Formula E World Championships which took place at ExCeL for the first time in July, the London International Horse Show is an event that sits outside of the venue’s typical portfolio.
The show, managed by the HPower Group and presented by Clarion Events, celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Royal Docks Venue last December due to building work taking place at Olympia London.
According to ExCeL, more than 7,000 of its loyal audience completed a postshow survey on the show and headline results showed that they commended the sport and entertainment, the venue’s food outlets, the amount of space for movement around the show and the general visitor experience and festive atmosphere.
Jamie Harvie, head of event management at ExCeL London, says both the visitor interaction and size and scale of the event was “mindblowing”. He says while it might not be expanding the arena capacity, there is scope to increase the visitor spectacle itself.
“December is quite quiet for us, so for us to have the Horse Show is brilliant. The venue came alive,” says Harvie. He adds that by hosting the event just a few months after Formula E, this proves the “possibilities are endless” at ExCeL.
The event saw the largest indoor arena build outside of London 2012. According to Martin Clark, project director for Arena EMEA’s seating division, it was the largest indoor arena build the company had ever worked on.
The event’s capacity was around 15% less due to Covid-19, but the venue change allowed for more space and meant visitors could view the event’s Warm-Up and Collecting Rings for the first time. The layout of the venue’s shopping village also offered wider and more accessible aisles.
“The whole equestrian experience was much better at ExCeL,” says Jo Peck, marketing and communications director at HPower. “There was a lot of free-flow, easy access which was impossible to have at Olympia and made people feel more comfortable, particularly in a Covid year.”
She adds, “We’re looking at adding in other classes, expanding the shopping village and adding in other areas for masterclasses.
“The beauty of this year is that we’ve already held it at ExCeL and the word on the street is that it was very well run. The competitors and audience enjoyed it, and we delivered Christmas like we did at Olympia.
“It was a relief to deliver the show in a successful way – not only financially but also by maintaining its reputation with our audience.”
This year’s London International Horse Show will take place on 15-19 December. Attendees will benefit from a new high-speed Elizabeth line opening this summer, with ExCeL set to have its own dedicated station that can be accessed from Paddington in less than 20 minutes.
The April issue of Exhibition News is packed full of features about creating great visitor experiences and guaranteed to make you smile.
Read more here.