International Confex continued to cement its position as one of the leading exhibitions for the events industry with a successful 2010 show.
Exhibitors and visitors alike hailed this year's event a triumph after a challenging 12 months for the industry.
Initial figures suggest that visitor numbers were up by two per cent compared to 2009. The pre-ABC audited numbers show that 11,058 people attended the event at Earls Court in London between February 23rd and 26th. This was a rise on last year's 10,857 attendees.
"These figures not only highlight the renewed optimism within the industry but the reputation Confex has as the place to undertake business, source new ideas, network and learn," commented portfolio director Duncan Reid.
"More importantly buyers were out in force and spending money. I think the industry can be a bit more optimistic about 2010, we certainly won't see 2007 or 2008 spending levels but the show has gone some way to re-energising and revitalising the industry."
Nevertheless, exhibitors took fewer staff to the show, perhaps reflecting the continuing challenges faced by the industry. Staff numbers were down by three per cent, from 14,359 to 14,786, although organisers anticipated that this would be the case.
The exhibitors that were there praised the show. Paul Phillips, head of sales and marketing, Harrogate International Centre (HIC), said that Confex had "proved itself to be a quality event".
HIC came away with a contract to host the Association of Surgeons' annual conference in 2014, 2017 and 2022.
"It was good to see the industry in a confident mood with some great organisations represented," Mr Phillips commented.
Fardia Messaadi, account director at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, added: "The level of buyers we met and the meetings conducted during the three days were of a very high standard."
Hyatt has been exhibiting at Confex for the last decade and Ms Messaadi said it returned year after year because it offered good return on investment.
Another company which enjoyed a successful event was Venues.org.uk. The exhibition industry website launched its new iPhone app designed to help event organisers find facilities in their area suitable for meetings, conferences and private functions.
"The launch was very good," commented Greg Bowman, group sales and marketing manager for Venues.org.uk. "We had a good response from all visitors at the show and so far have had really good feedback."
"Interest was very high - users and clients love the idea of having a venue-finding service in the palm of their hands," he said, adding that clients particularly like the fact that they gain more coverage in terms of generating good enquiries.
The company branded 1,000 protective covers for the iPhone and all were gone by the close of the show on Thursday (February 26th).
Aside from the app launch, Mr Bowman also reflected on another good Confex for Venues.org.uk.
"We had a much better position this year and had an open plan stand which was inviting for the visitors. The show was really busy on the second day and we generated over 150 new business enquiries," he said.