UBM is claiming both visitor and
exhibitor attendance increased at International Confex as the show
took place at its new home, London ExCeL.
Unaudited figures put registered visitor attendance for both Confex and outdoor event show IOEX in 2012 at 7,883, an increase of six per cent on last year’s figure of 7,447. Exhibitor
attendance increased by 16 per cent, from 2,809 in 2011 to 3,251; while total unique attendance was 11,134 this year, with statistics for 2011 showing attendance at 10,256.
However, while this year's figures incorporate IOEX attendance given there was joint registration and no separate cross-over point between shows, these 2011 comparison figures do not include the 2,020 'non-core audience transfer' attendance from last year's co-located digital marketing event, TFM&A. The addition of this audience puts 2011 Confex visitor figures at 9,467 and total unique attendees at 12,276. Attendance at Confex 2010 was 14,109.
Confex event manager James Samuel admitted that this year’s
show was always going to be “challenging” given scepticism over the move to ExCeL.
“We had a new team, a new
educational programme and of course the monumental move to ExCeL London, our
new venue. The significance of this move should not be underestimated. We
wanted to make radical changes to our product, we wanted to revitalise the show
and implement a plan that would keep the International Confex brand at the
forefront of the industry for the next generation. We wanted to tie the show into the centre of event excellence in East London and most importantly we wanted to grow.”
Samuel added that positive feedback from visitors has centred on the quality
offered during the educational programme – particularly the Association Day,
the Virtual & Hybrid Events Conference and the London Future Forum.
He said: “With this content I’m confident that those who visited
International Confex this year will visit again in the future – this remains a
key strategy for the show. That is not to say we are completely satisfied with
the content on the show floor and I know we can deliver even better, more
focused education, targeted to the many different markets the show serves.”
Samuel also said that a visit from tourism minister John
Penrose MP added kudos to the show. It was the first time in 10 years that Confex
had been given high-level support from the government.
Smyle’s managing director Rick Stainton gave his feedback on the show: “Confex grew
on me over the few days I attended - I have been somewhat sceptical of industry
exhibitions recently as felt they have not really delivered effective return on
time - however, after the manic initiation on Day one, my scepticism turned
into fruitful engagement. I have to say the revitalisation was contagious as a
result of the inspirational move to Excel, a world class venue.”
Confex is set to return to ExCeL on 19-21 March 2013.
Pictured: James Samuel