ANTOR members vote for shorter showOne the one hand the number of MICE exhibitions, workshops and round-table forums is increasing. On the other hand, there is a very evident demand for shows to be shorter. The most recent example was International Confex in London, which has been going for over 30 years. In 2014 it was cut from three days to two.
What will be next to follow this trend? Very possibly World Travel Market, held in London for 34 years.
A very influential body is recommending – strongly – that WTM should be reduced from four days to three. ANTOR, based in the UK, stands for Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives. They are responsible for manning a very large proportion of the destination stands at WTM.
It has announced that there has been a poll of its members and over half of them voted ‘to lobby against the fourth day of the exhibition’. It adds: ‘The fourth day is no longer achieving the results needed to justify attendance by the private sector.’
In spite of the efforts of the show’s organisers, Reed Exhibitions, the fourth day is not providing the Return On Investment, which is nowadays a key factor.
Participation in a show, of course, absorbs time and money for accommodation, subsistence and time spent away from the office.
Why do exhibition organisers aim for longer shows? Obviously, they can charge more, making the event more profitable for them as the biggest part of their cost is in setting up the show and marketing it, which is virtually the same regardless of the show’s duration.
An additional suggestion of ANTOR seems to make less sense. It says that the show can remain as a 4-day event, but with the fourth day comprising just the Global Village (for international hotel groups) and the Technology Area. Their statement says ‘Visitors who attend on the final day can still enjoy a busy show.’
ITCM is astonished at this remark. Those visitors who fight their way to the ExCel Exhibition Centre, far out in the east end of London, would surely be very disappointed to find that all those magnificent stands from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas are not present.
In our opinion that part of the ANTOR proposal is a non-starter.