Confex ramps up international drive

The Confex Group is looking to build on the success of this year’s exhibition with additions to its online offer and a marketing drive lined up for this autumn. The moves will focus on further increasing overseas business and will kick off with an extension to the company’s Venuefinder website to include an international channel for the first time. The package will be launched at this year’s National Venue Show, taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 25-27 September. The international option will add 4,000 venues from some 40 countries to the existing database of 8,000 UK sites. The facility will enable event organisers to search for venues according to how far they are from the UK, by hotel group, number of rooms and maximum delegate capacities in one location. Confex sales director Alison Willis said that the idea was to provide UK buyers with a more holistic offer and to help drive business for the exhibition. “Given the strength of the pound, more and more UK buyers are turning to outbound destinations,” she said. “This has resulted in an ever increasing demand for international event solutions from clients across our portfolio.” February’s exhibition marked a return to form for the London show, with visitor numbers up 16% on 2005. Among exhibitors, the likes of Germany and Brazil returned and new names included Croatia and Russia. While Willis said she is aiming for Confex to grow again in 2008, she stopped short of naming a target figure for exhibitors or visitors. The Confex Group is set to follow the digital expansion with a wider marketing drive targeting UK buyers. Details are currently being finalised, but the campaign is provisionally scheduled to kick off next month.

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