It’s a busy old time in the events and exhibitions world next week with International Confex  in London and Exhibitor Live happening across the pond in sunny Vegas! We’re headed to London this time and can’t wait to hear all about the latest insight, trends, tech, design and engagement tactics to help inspire you towards your own exhibition excellence.

To give you the background, International Confex is the UK’s largest gathering of  event professionals, venues, service providers and thought leaders with the aim of creating an environment to inspire, support and drive the industry forward.  For us, it’s the place we HAVE to be to learn everything we need to know about what’s new, engaging and effective so that we can help support you better.  We’re going to BE meeting with stand builders & designers, lead capture providers, event agencies, venues and a myriad of other businesses who could all help to power your trade show experience!

So what’s on our Top 5 Must See List (and it’s been flipping difficult getting it down to 5!).

FESTIVALISATION: We’ve heard a lot about how events now need to provide more of an ‘experience’ for visitors and delegates with edutainment being the other buzz word that’s creeping in. Whilst we wholeheartedly believe we all need to work hard to create memorable events, we’re also nervous that in the enthusiasm for an experience, exhibitors forget their proposition and relevance. So it’s fantastic to see Exhibition News running a session in their pavilion on just this topic. EN are asking the crucial question with a panel of experts from WRG, DRP UK Ltd, Haymarket and CloserStill Media

Festivalisation: How Can Organisers Improve The Visitor Experience While Ensuring Business Is Done?Tuesday 26th Feb – 10am – EN Pavilion

SUSTAINABILITY: Visitors and exhibitors are increasingly voting with their feet and making a choice about whether the value they will get from events is worth the harmful impact on the environment from waste and travel. The industry seems to recognise it has a problem, but how is it going to help itself, its clients and visitors to develop a more sustainable future? Hosted by ABPCO and with speakers from SEC Glasgow and BASVA this panel addresses some of the key themes.

What Does A Sustainable Event Really Mean?Tuesday 26th Feb – 2pm – Association Events Forum 

COLLABORATION: one of the things we LOVE about this industry is the power of working together, connecting ideas and maximising the experience and knowledge of so many different talents.  But sadly, we also see gaps, where for many different reasons, opportunities are missed and the experience for exhibitors and visitors isn’t as valuable as it could be. So it’s great to see a panel coming together to talk about how organisers and suppliers (specifically stand builders) can working together to benefit their mutual clients – it’s great to see our past Podcast guest Lori Hoinkes of Fresh Montgomery adding her insights to this panel!

Why Organisers and Stand Design & Build Companies Don’t Talk More – Wednesday 27th Feb – 10am – International Pavilion 

So 3 of our 5 things to look out for are live seminars but there’s a fantastic range of other sessions including Health & Wellbeing, Tech, Event Marketing and Diversity as well as appearances from Alistair Campbell and Will Young – it’s nothing if not varied this year! Check out the full programme here

For our final 2 picks we’re turning to EXHIBTORS – but how on earth do you choose 2 from hundreds of different companies? Well, the first cull is easy – no logo, no click!  If you’re not even investing the time to tell me who you are and what you do, why would I invest the time visiting your stand? You might be just what we’re looking for but your competitor who uploaded a logo and an outline of what they do just beat you to my time.

And shout out to all those exhibitors who used brilliant images, photos and videos to show me exactly what their product and service is all about! However, there were 2 that caught my eye that I’m keen to meet up with that could really help us support our clients better:

  • download
    – engaging audiences at live seminars is tough so I love the idea of using engaging quizzes, polls, questions and interactions and displaying instant results on screens to keep the audience involved. I also love that in a really short overview I get what the exhibitor does and why it could benefit me – I read several profiles where at the end I still hadn’t got a clue!
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    AzteQ Solutions Ltd
    – talk Holograms to me and I’m all yours – the potential this could bring for exhibitors and live theatres to create engagement and grab attention is huge – but I was also really impressed that AzteQ talk about content that’s ‘pertinent to the brand’ – so no tech for tech’s sake which exhibitors can sometimes be guilty of!

I wish we could have featured more exhibitors as there are some fantastic businesses including quality lead capture solutions, gorgeous venues, innovative stand designers and Giant I-pads! If you’re visiting check out the rest of the Exhibitor List here 

We’re really looking forward to getting to Olympia next Tuesday and would be really keen on meeting stand design agencies, event organisers or anyone with an interest in collaborating on exhibitor training, exhibition consultancy or live theatre management – the coffees as always will be on us!  And you never know we might even have a free copy of hot-off-the-press book The Exhibitionist for the first 2 people to book an appointment with us!

Why not drop us a Tweet or an email to tell us what you’re looking forward to at Confex and don’t forget to share this blog with anyone else who’s looking for some inspiration before their visit! See you there!

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