The Meetings Show's Steve Knight talks football and Brexit

C&IT caught up with The Meetings Show's event director, Steve Knight, to talk about the future of the show and the impact of the upcoming EU referendum.

The Meeting Show's Steve Knight
The Meeting Show's Steve Knight

How has the show been so far this year?

For me the show has gone really well. We’re in a new room this year, which I think has injected a different atmosphere to the show. Over the last 11 months we’ve worked hard to expand our offering and I think people have reacted well. There was a 10% increase in visitor numbers on the first day of the show.

This year the Meetings Show will clash with the England/Wales Euro 2016 football match. Will you be closing the show early?

We won’t be closing early, as we’ve been screening all the games in our football lounge. The Meetings Show clashes with the big game today, which ideally we would have avoided. However, we’re setting up the lounge again and the food station in there will be converted into a bar for anyone who wants to watch the game.

What’s changed this year?

Firstly, we’ve changed the room within the venue, which I think has improved the layout and feel of the show. Every year we’re trying to boost the number of hosted buyers from the UK. This year we have 57% buyers from the UK, which is the highest percentage we’ve ever had.

We’ve hosted more than 80 education sessions, including two new streams on marketing and branding and leadership and management. We choose education sessions based on what we think is most relevant to the industry - issues like security and politics.

Our most popular session has been on Brexit. Another really popular session was ‘are we doing enough to grow the UK’s share of international events?' I think there’s a big focus on bringing events to the UK.

How do you feel the EU referendum is affecting the show or the wider industry?

We’ve been speaking to a lot of our exhibitors about Brexit. The thing is, the UK meetings and events market is so important to other European countries. I can’t see that a Brexit would have a major impact on the show itself, as people will always want to work with the British market. That said, there’s a huge amount of uncertainty right now and it’s affecting inbound traffic to Britain as people wait to find out what’s happening. If we decide on a 'leave' vote I think it’s likely to affect the wider events industry, particularly in the short term. There’ll be a temporary slowdown in the industry as we readjust.

In such a fast-paced, tech-driven world, do you feel there’s still a future for the traditional, hosted-buyer trade show model?

I think there will always be a market for face-to-face events like this, where people can learn, network and have the meetings they need. We’re creating something for everyone in the UK meetings industry and it’s what the market is looking for.

That said, I think the impact of digital is huge and in the coming years, we’ll see much more integration. For example, live streaming of education sessions, digital interaction, more use of apps and social media. Face-to-face won’t go away. We just plan to continue providing what the industry wants, with meetings, networking time and carefully tailored, relevant education sessions. 

More:

60 seconds with the Meetings Show's Steve Knight

Top 5 tips for crisis management at events 

EU vote could lead to events industry staff shortage

• For more breaking news, in-depth features and case studiessign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
DRPG secures sweet deal with client win

DRPG secures sweet deal with client win

An internal awards ceremony for a confectionary brand saw 400 employees recognised for their achievements.

Audience UK appoints head of experiential

Audience UK appoints head of experiential

Full-service engagement agency appoints Stephen McIntosh as its head of experiential to oversee activations.

In pictures: SOTI Directors Dinner

In pictures: SOTI Directors Dinner

C&IT welcomed directors from the top 50 agencies at the Savoy, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board.

Venues, hotels and activities in Latin America

Venues, hotels and activities in Latin America

From exploring the famous ancient ruins in Peru to five-star Art Deco luxury by the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro

Why organisations need a mental health champion

Why organisations need a mental health champion

Forward-thinking companies need to address mental health according to advice from Ashfield Meetings & Events and SPARK THINKING.

New London office and senior hires for Seventa Events

New London office and senior hires for Seventa Events

Three new team members join the agency at its new Tobacco Dock headquarters.

Why good lighting at events is so important

Why good lighting at events is so important

Rob Myer, managing director at Light Fantastic, explains why theatrical expertise is helpful for lighting events.

Inspirational Venues & Events hires operational director

Inspirational Venues & Events hires operational director

Inspirational Venues & Events has appointed Amina Bentamoune as operations director.

How to exceed expectations rather than budgets

How to exceed expectations rather than budgets

'The element of surprise costs no more than the predictable,' says Steve Pinnock of Performance and Event Management.

8 activities in Hong Kong and Macao

8 activities in Hong Kong and Macao

Sip cocktails, visit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island or ride rollercoasters in the 'Pearl of the Orient'.

LATEST JOBS