New look pays off for Confex

Last week’s International Confex recorded a 13% rise in attendance – the largest increase in seven years. More than 12,500 people attended the show, held on 20-22 February at Earls Court, according to preliminary on-site figures. It represents a significant increase in popularity for Confex compared to the 11,127 visitors in 2006. Of this year’s attendees, 8,300 were non-exhibiting visitors – an increase of 16% on the 7,211 recorded last year. Confex Group director Duncan Reid said: "It’s the first time the show has reported a significant growth for some time and it’s pleasing for us and the rest of the industry. The fact that we are looking so healthy is a good indicator of the strength of the meeting and events industry." He attributed the growth, in part, to a more creative marketing campaign, which included tailoring advertising to the readers of specific magazines. The show’s new feature areas, including bars for networking, and initiatives designed to attract and retain new visitors also boosted numbers. Among new initiatives was the enhanced education programme, which included speakers such as former political heavy-weight Alistair Campbell. "A lot of the features at the show were new this year and one of the biggest was Confex Knowledge," said Reid. Exhibitors were positive about the show: " It’s our first year here but if this is anything to go by we will be coming back next year," said Visit Barbados information officer Cedric Lynch. Next year’s show is already off to a good start. Reid said rebookings for 2008 were up 25% year on year. "About 70% of the show has been sold out already," he said. He added that he anticipated it would attract an additional 500 – 1,000 visitors. In 2008, the show will take place at Earls Court at the same time as two other shows – Technology For Marketing & Advertising and the Video Forum. "Technology For Marketing & Advertising attracts marketing directors and managers and those people also attend Confex," said Reid.

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