The Meetings Show is showing signs of playing a much bigger role on the global MICE scene. It takes place for its 7th year at Olympia, London, on June 26 and 27.
This will be the third show for Ross Barker, the Commercial Director, and he is very obviously proud to talk about its growth and its greater standing as a focal point for the events industry.
‘The Meetings Show’, he told me, ‘was primarily seen as the leading event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings and events industry. However, the 2019 show has 18% more space taken by non-UK exhibitors. We will actually have 23 exhibitors from new country destinations. They range over Barbados, Jordan, The Philippines and Peru.’
Ross points out that not only will there be more destinations, but previous exhibitors are taking bigger stands to accommodate an increase in the number of partners they have attending.
‘Malaysia’s Penang stand will have ten partners. Korea Tourism will have a bigger multiple offer – and so will Canada.’
Ross sums up by saying that the whole show will be visually much more exciting and will have become something of an international festival, celebrating this industry.
‘A lot of the expansion’, he comments, ‘derives from the growth of the UK events market. The confusion over Brexit doesn’t seem to be having any adverse effect. My view is that everyone will carry on doing business as before until something actually happens, as nobody can be sure about what will happen. ‘All I know is that this year’s Meetings Show will be welcoming 16% more hosted buyers and will be setting up 21% more pre-scheduled meetings than last year.’
An interesting point made by Ross is that when TMS was reduced last year to two days instead of three, the exhibitors were able to meet 4% more visitors. ‘Obviously’, he comments, ‘this gives them more effective return on their investment. They can either take less time out of the office, or they can now use the time saved by seeing people before or after the show without having to stay longer in London.’ Now that he is engaged in the marketing of TMS, Ross has gained experience in virtually every side of promotion on the MICE scene. His previous positions were with Haymarket’s C&IT media and Cat Publications’ M&IT media, working with their print and digital versions. He sees a show like TMS as much more than simply visitors going on stands.
‘The education aspect is a big attraction’, he goes on. ‘People working in the sector are keen to increase their qualifications and to keep up with the latest techniques. Networking is very important.
Not only will there be over 700 exhibitors to see, but visitors relish the opportunity for peer-to-peer discussions and the sharing of ideas and experience, And, of course, at The Meetings Show they will rub shoulders with well over 4,500 other event professionals.’
Since last year’s event, TMS has been bought from Britain’s Centaur Media by North Star Travel Media of the USA.
However, Ross says that the 2019 Meetings Show at Olympia has been set up and is being managed by the same team as before and the new owners have not made any changes.