From Glasto to Expo: How festival ethos is shaping the Conference and Hospitality Show 2013
My Venues recently met with Emma Cartmell and Sue Beverley, Organisers of the Conference and Hospitality Show and found out some surprising influences behind this year’s show.
Now in its 4th year and still expanding, this year’s show is being held on Tuesday 30th April at the Centenary Pavilion, Leeds United Football Club.
The Show has recently launched a ‘VIP’ service to take customer care at the event to new heights.
Sue Beverley explains:
‘Emma and I were visiting an exhibition last year and quickly became fed up with everything from the lack of a decent cup of coffee, to a long walk to the luggage store and nowhere to sit and recharge our mobile batteries as well as our own batteries! It seemed like a chore to get around everyone and everything we wanted to see rather than an enjoyable experience. It made us consider how we could do things differently at our own show, The Conference and Hospitality Show and how every customer should be treated as a VIP.’
Sue explained: ‘I love summer in Britain with all our outdoor music festivals and I began to think about what lessons we could learn from festivals like Glastonbury and V, who look after thousands of guests in a relatively small space over several days. Festivals have become much more focussed towards looking after the visitor over the last few years – with chill out areas for example where you can sit under cover on comfy sofas in quiet areas. These areas also have lots of delicious healthy food choices on hand and other things like a massage zone or somewhere to recharge your mobile phone. All designed to make the Festival Experience relaxing, fun and enjoyable. We thought if they can do it successfully for tens of thousands of festival-goers, how hard could it be for us offer a great visitor experience at our one day Show!‘
‘We can think of a great idea one day and implement it the next’.
‘We sat down and created one long list of all the ways we could look after our guests at The Conference and Hospitality Show and create a VIP Programme. One of the benefits of the Show being owned by the two of us and not a large corporation is that we can effect huge changes quickly and easily. We can think of a great idea one day and implement it the next – such as the VIP Programme.
‘Although the Show had small beginnings we are now packing a national punch, but it is still very much Emma’s baby, she oversees all areas and is passionate about visitors feeling welcome and valued at our Event.’
‘Meeting and Event Planner such as Agencies, PAs and Corporate Buyers can apply to upgrade to our VIP status at the Show. This gives people all sorts of benefits including access to our fully hosted VIP area where guests can relax, catch up on emails, have a quick shoulder massage, enjoy their favourite tea or coffee and recharge their batteries.’
‘As well as introducing the VIP programme, this year we have more exhibitors than ever and a really strong seminar programme. We have over 100 venues and suppliers exhibiting from across the UK including many of the UK’s top hotel chains, luxury venues, academic, destinations and consortia including Visit Scotland, The North East Hoteliers Association, Pride of Britain, Marriott, Radisson Blu, Shire Hotels and Apex Hotels.
‘We have built a strong and informative educational programme with 3 stages: a PA stage, one powered by MPI and a 3rd that will provide some practical information on key issues such as technology and new venues in the region.
'Our Creative Demo Zone will literally unfold before visitors eyes as the day progresses. Themed around a Japanese garden; Events Company, Chilled Events, will create the sights and sounds of a traditional Japanese garden, complete with Geisha girls and sushi demonstrations. We are confident that this year’s show will be our best yet.’