I attended Confex in March and the Meetings Show in June but with so many events out there for event professionals how do you know whether it is worth going, taking time out of your business and which ones should you attend?
I have been a regular visitor to Confex since 1997 when I worked for American Express on the Johnson and Johnson account organising events, conferences and incentives to GPs, drug representatives and key account holders. I would attend Confex back then as it was a good way to find new venues and hotels, network with contacts in the industry and there was usually a couple of competitions where you could win a free night stay in a luxury hotel – a great incentive to make you attend!
So what are these events like now, 20 odd years on? There was a real buzz to Confex but it will be moving to Excel next year and we will need to wait and see if the venue is better suited to Confex that Olympia. The seminar and knowledge programme was excellent. The confex team spend a long time planning informative sessions with famous keynotes, inspirational speakers covering the most up to date topics. There are lots of new innovative event ideas like the new Event Box catering bicycles offering new enticing treats such as gin flavoured sorbets. There are also still plenty of networking opportunities with suppliers, associations and other event professionals.
So is it worth attending and which other shows are worth taking time out to visit? There are a whole host of shows for event professionals such as the Meeting Show, the one run by Square Meal called Venues and Events Live and IBTM in sunny Barcelona which is geared towards to the international events market. The main things I consider when deciding whether to attend a show are whether there is a seminar/speaker programme when any up to date topics and whether there will be event contacts that I would like to catch up with. Usually there are at least a few event contacts attending so it is an opportunity for me to meet a few of them in one go rather than planning multiple meetings in London.
I would really recommend taking some time out from your work and going along and learning about new technologies and changes in the events industries.