International Confex preview: part one

In our three-part guide to this year's International Confex, Event speaks to portfolio director Jonny Sullens.

Jonny Sullens
Jonny Sullens

In what ways are you looking to improve this year’s event?

Our research pointed to a desire for Confex to be more business focused. To that end we have introduced a hosted buyer programme, are welcoming Visit Britain’s Discovery Programme and opening up the appointment system for every visitor and exhibitor to use.

How will the closure of Event UK impact on the show?

It is always disappointing to have to close a product that has worked well for customers in the past but the closure should have a positive impact on Confex. Our team will now be able to focus solely on Confex and ensure it continues to lead and innovate for the events sector while exhibitors may find they have increased budget to invest in their activities around Confex to build their ROI.

Will you be incorporating any features from Event UK?

Absolutely, the Next Big Thing talent competition was a real draw showcasing the best live acts to use at your event. It proved very popular with visitors and exhibitors alike so this will now take place at Confex.

What do you think will be the most popular features?

The Floating Bar in the Media 10 Marina should look incredible as well as providing a hub for networking activity throughout the duration of the show. The free Confex Knowledge seminars continue to lead and we expect these to be packed as always.

How many visitors are you anticipating?

We expect to welcome over 10,000 buyers over the three days. Following our research we have restricted student entry to the show in 2011 and are welcoming just 250 to take part in a dedicated conference programme on Thursday. This may have a negative impact on our overall numbers but our focus is about ensuring the quality of the attendees both for the benefit of our exhibitors and for the industry as a whole.

International Confex 2011 takes place at Earls Court from 1-3 March. The event will move to Excel London in 2012, as reported by Event earlier this week.

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