FROM THE EDITOR: A flying start to a year of change and development

It's been a golden year already, as the Schroders London International Boat Show celebrated its 50th year with a new home and an enhanced format last month.

A move from Earls Court to Excel allowed the marine consumer show to loosen its belt and noticeably breathe-out to the tune of 30% more space compared with last year.

The risks were clear - if high numbers of visitors weren't prepared to travel to the Docklands venue then the show would look and feel very empty. But the visitors came in their droves and the Boat Show's success has seen Excel finally come of age as a competitive venue (page 10).

It is often noted that the whole events industry pulls together when things don't go according to plan. National Boat Shows director Paul Streeter has reason to be glad for this after experiencing first-hand how a near disaster was averted when the show's watersports arena collapsed during build-up.

Suppliers Arena Structures and Star Events Group completed a salvage operation by working in shifts of up to 18-hours and the first UK indoor windsurfing championships was delayed by only four days.

Former Melville managing director Richard Pegler reckons that the exhibition industry is going through more change. He has swapped roles from supplier to organiser and now aims to replicate the success of Simply Group's niche shows abroad by launching a specialist security event in the UK (pages 7 and 8). He believes that more niche exhibition launches will follow as companies continue to demand a higher return on their event marketing investments.

Organisers such as CMP and its security show portfolio may not be looking over their shoulders just yet but it may only be a matter of time before more specialist events squeeze the larger, more general shows harder and tighter. These larger organisers must look at their own working practices and event formats to remain competitive.


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