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“Confex week embraces the two sides of International Confex. First is the exhibition and conference programme, providing business opportunities between exhibitor and buyer, and an educational programme that progresses all sides of the industry. Second is the platform International Confex creates for the industry to meet during a focused week in March, encompassing networking, meetings, AGMs, hospitality and live events. These activities create a week long focus on the UK events industry.” Jonny Sullens, Group Director, International Confex.
International Confex has unveiled its three-year vision for the show, encompassing a week-long programme of industry events built around the main exhibition taking place 19-21 March 2013, in what will become known as Confex Week.
International Confex will expand its influence beyond the show walls over the next three years with the ambition of building a week of industry meetings and events. The move follows the show’s successful move to ExCeL London earlier this year, the launch of sister-show Live Experience (formerly IOEX) and the organisation’s joint ambition to take advantage of the whole of the campus, embracing business meetings, education, networking and entertainment.
Confex Week will give more flexibility for visitors to the show without limiting them to the traditional 10-6pm exhibition hours, but including breakfast briefings and evening events. In turn, the move will allow more opportunities for visitors to take time on the show floor, meeting the growing number of exhibitors attracted to the show.
International Confex is challenging both exhibitors and industry associations to build the programme in partnership, adding value to the visitor experience and creating an event that reflects and represents the full spectrum of the events industry.
The programme is already developing, with major industry event brands such as the Meetings & Incentive Travel Awards, London Future Forum and Best of British pavilion all taking place during Confex Week and with more to follow.
International Confex will use its 30 years of experience to create the perfect environment for business to be done between visitors and exhibitors, including a review of the show floor plan and the integration of new features and areas.
Live Experience: Earlier this week saw the launch of Live Experience, the new identity for IOEX, another success story from this year’s International Confex. Live Experience will return in 2013 and integrate more closely with its umbrella brand, ensuring the full spectrum of events buyers that visit the show are catered for, with market leading education to match.
The Experiential Hub: The experiential hub will engage buyers looking at the brand experience side of events and will feature case studies and thought leaders discussing the future of brand activation and field marketing.
Destination Village: International Confex will also be launching the Destination Village later this month (July). The area will create the perfect environment for buyers to gain closer, first hand experience of destinations around the world, and to meet with Destination Management Companies and to build up their business and social itineraries.
Hotel Lobby: The Hotel Lobby will be another feature aimed at the growing number of hotel brands that come to the show and giving the buyer a dedicated area to explore this innovative market sector. The feature will have its own branding and creative execution, launching later this year (August).
Earlier this year (May) International Confex launches its Advisory Panel, a group of highly experienced and influential event industry profiles, with the objective of expanding the visitor experience.
Through the Advisory Panel, International Confex is embarking on a full 12-month programme of buyer engagement, allowing the show to provide new business opportunities for exhibitors outside of Confex Week, and for buyers to accelerate through the Loyalty Programme based on the business they do with International Confex exhibitors. This engagement will include the re-launch of the Loyalty Programme (July) and a series of Buyer road shows launching later this year (September).
The feedback from the show’s educational programme was exceptional in 2012 and International Confex is once again looking to improve on this vital part of the visitor experience. The show will again be working with industry associations both domestic and international, to create the programme. This year will look to use new innovations to add even more dynamism to the content and delivery of the sessions.
The educational programme will also be structured to provide professional development opportunities for exhibitors, suppliers and buyers and to create the right balance between enticing visitors to the show without keeping them off the show floor for long.
Already there is content in the pipeline with a series of Tech Talks launching later this year (October), and Social Media Spot looking at the growing influence of digital. Returning again this year, bigger and better will be the Association Day, PA Day and a new Local Authority programme targeted programmes.
International Confex at 30
Although never a brand to dwell on the past, it would be remiss not to celebrate this sizeable landmark for International Confex. The show has a very proud history in the industry, creating opportunities for businesses to launch, grow and become successful, and providing event buyers and planners with the very best products and services, making the UK one of the leading countries for meeting and events. In this vein, International Confex is once again a proud supporter of Britain for Events, celebrating the quality and creativity of the UK events industry.
The show has also invested consistently in the industry over the past 30 years, supporting associations and their members, investing and innovating in the industry and creating products that help its exhibitors succeed in the market, through good times and tough.
There is no other brand in the industry that can boast such a long relationship with UK buyers, and to celebrate International Confex will have a programme of events and celebrations. The main event will be the official show 30th Birthday Party (March), organised in partnership with ISES UK Chapter.
2012 will be one of the stand out years for the UK events industry, however as 2013 looms large, challenges and opportunities within the industry remain and International Confex is once again prepared to do its duty for the industry, providing unrivalled business, education and networking opportunities for all.