Party exhibition draws A-list crowd

RSVP Strict visitor policy pays off as exhibitors praise high calibre of buyers at Olympia show

Three years after the first RSVP show, organiser Single Market Events is building on its success. This year's event, which ran from 31 March to 1 April in Olympia, welcomed 4,905 buyers and more than 290 exhibitors.

A strict visitor policy meant attendance was slightly lower than last year's total of 5,282, but it did ensure a high calibre of buyers from companies as diverse as Ferrari, HSBC and the BBC. Registration data suggested 15% of visitors had event budgets of more than £1m.

Marston Hotels director John Carter said he took four bookings during the show and generated 80 serious leads. "There weren't huge numbers of people in the hall but the quality of the visitors was exceptional. It seems the organiser has done a good job in attracting the serious buyers and sifting out the time-wasters," he said.

RSVP director Katy Bromwich added: "The response from exhibitors has been phenomenal with more than 70% of space having been re-booked before the show had even closed."

A new initiative this year was the RSVP After Dark champagne reception, organised by Launch Pad Events, which provided an informal setting for hospitality and networking in the evening. Entertainment was provided by Four Poofs and a Piano, the singing quartet made famous on Jonathan Ross' TV chat show.

The range of exhibitors included entertainers, caterers, florists and production agencies. Imaginative on-stand promotions by venues such as Madame Tussaud's, which brought along waxworks of Ant and Dec, kept people entertained. Visitors also had the opportunity to win a meal at a Conran restaurant by playing Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? courtesy of Celador International.

Innovations in stand design included a revolving bar and lounge created by agency Smyle to promote the launch of Event's sister magazine RSVP.

The conferences, which were sponsored by Mask and Stage Electrics, generated a lot of interest with every seminar more than two-thirds full.

September spin-off, the RSVP Christmas Party Show, has been brought forward and will now run from 16-17 August at Old Billingsgate in the City. RSVP returns to Olympia on 6-7 April 2005.

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