London's East End event industry 'on fast forward', says C&IT's Confex panel

Event experts from Altitude London, Excel, Virtual Venue Visit and Rouge Events have told audiences that London's East End event industry is running 'on fast forward'.

London's East End event industry 'on fast forward', says C&IT's Confex panel
London's East End event industry 'on fast forward', says C&IT's Confex panel

Speaking to audiences at a C&IT International Confex seminar yesterday, the panel weighted up the pros, cons, and defining characteristics of London's geographical regions.

Excel's director of conferences and events James Rees said that the East remains undiscovered for many event planners. "The area is being built up at a great speed, it's on 'Sky+ 30-times' speed compared with the rest of the UK. With the Crossrail link being completed in 2018, the area will be firmly on the map," he added.

Rees also discussed how London is alligning itself with key sectors, which has been positive for the capital as a whole. "Excel has attracted corporates from the technology sectors, including Blackberry, Cisco and Nokia. The Silicon Roundabout has a real buzz, but Leicester Square is still the place to hold a film premiere. So different regions of London work for different briefs," he said.

Altitude London's marketing director Peter Kerwood told audiences that he does not see other London-based venues as competitors, but works with them to ensure event planners choose the capital over other destinations. "I'd rather see business go to another London venue rather than participate in a price war that is bad for the industry as a whole."

He added that social media will amplify London's appeal throughout the Olympic Games. "During the Beijing Olympics there were around 100 million Twitter subscribers, but now there are more than two billion."

Rees added that Barcelona's business travel boomed after it hosted the Olympic Games.

Rouge Events creative director Nathan Homan, meanwhile, praised the West End's enduring appeal. "It has the whole package and great access from Heathrow. However, clients including Nissan have been keen to piggyback the edgy image of the East."

Virtual Venue Visit's Alex Whitson, who is head of online events and video at Haymarket Business Media, discussed the wider picture of London's venues.

"Historic venues in London have been popular on our search statistics," he said. "Stratford Town Hall and Southwark Cathedral are some of our top searched properties. International buyers don't discern between regions, unlike UK buyers."

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