H&E North was in attendance as media partner of The Meetings Show at Olympia London to enjoy an insightful programme and unmissable networking opportunities for the UK MICE industry and beyond.

A successful edition of The Meetings Show to date took place on 26th and 27th June, with record numbers recorded across the board. More than 5,000 meetings and events professionals attended the show. Visitor attendance was 11% higher than in 2018, including over 900 hosted buyers, and the number of visitors attending for both days of the show rather than just one was up by 14%. The show has also reported its highest ever number of pre-scheduled appointments between hosted buyers and exhibitors at 12,077.

The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry. It is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education. The show features destinations from over 50 countries across 6 continents, venues, hotels and key providers of meetings products and services.

Group event director David Chapple said: “I am over the moon with how well the event has gone this year. The show has become an integral part of the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, bringing together professionals from around the world to meet, learn, network and do business. Being at the heart of the industry, we are in a unique position to address the challenges it faces and offer support through a first-class education programme and knowledge exchange, and feedback on the show floor was overwhelmingly positive.”

The show kicked off with Newcastle Gateshead Convention Bureau hosting a press conference to announce Gateshead Quays, the exciting new development due to open in 2023. Alongside meetings and multiple networking opportunities, visitors on day one of the show attended hours of educational sessions as part of the show’s education programme, based around the planner journey.

The show’s opening keynote was delivered by Colin MacLachlan, a former SAS soldier and star of Channel 4’s reality drama SAS: Who Dares Wins, who shared SAS leadership secrets with attendees, while a host of educational sessions followed on subjects such as sustainability, technology, engagement, mental health and gamification.

Thursday’s opening keynote was from pioneering technology researcher Carl Miller on oppression and liberation in the digital age in the morning, visitors attended talks on subjects such as networking, the rise of festivalisation and immersive events.

Some highlights included panel discussion ‘Do Men Have a Future in Events?’ with Martin Ellis from event management agency Team Umbrella and ‘Turning Events into Experiences’ with John Hanlon of Giant iTab. While a perceptive discussion exploring how clients and agencies look for new and innovative ways to bring their clients events to life was led by a panel of industry leaders.

Visitors also found out about the latest trends and developments in meetings and events technology from some of the leading technology suppliers during the two ‘Technology Tours’ created and moderated by the Meeting Design Institute which took place throughout the final day. Moving around a table-top presentation suite in small groups, exhibitors had just two minutes to ‘pitch’ their latest ideas, products and services to a receptive audience of visitors and buyers.

Exhibitor Stephanie McNichol, global sales director of Great Hotels of the World, said: “This is the first year Great Hotels of the World has exhibited at The Meetings Show and we’ve had an extremely successful show: a diary full of appointments, meetings with new contacts and really interesting leads. For anyone looking to grow their business in the UK market I would 100% recommend attending The Meetings Show.”

Luke Elliott from ICC Belfast said: “The Meetings Show has been really useful for leads, our pre-scheduled appointments have been really worthwhile. The buyers are good quality, there haven’t been any timewasters, it’s all genuine business, and the walk-ons we’ve had have been really great too. The show is great for bringing the industry together, and we will definitely be back next year.”

The Meetings Show 2020 will take place on 24th and 25th June next year. Visit Themeetingsshow.com for further updates.

All Around

One of H&E North’s key finds at The Meetings Show this year was Manchester’s 360Touch. 360Touch creates 360-degree ‘real’ world tours by combining photo and videos, still images, 4K video and info text. A great way to show hotel, conference and wedding venues, car interiors, stadiums, museums, shops, manufacturing and visitor attractions.

H&E North caught up with its founder, North West-based Charles Woods, who told us that a key client recently has been Etrop Grange hotel, which utilised 360Touch’s technology to create virtual tours of every room and event space in its newly refurbished venue to help prospective event and meeting planners to choose the right space for their booking.

Charles, who has nearly 30 years’ experience in the industry, said: “We can add the 360tour online for a screen in-house or for use at exhibitions on a tablet or smartphone (iOS and Android).”

“The beauty of this is that the rooms can be viewed while occupied or not prepared. Simply invite the customer to pop on an Oculus Go headset and see how it will look on the day or laid out in different set-ups.””We were one of the few exhibitors showing off this kind of technology at The Meetings Show,” added an enthusiastic Charles, “it’s an immersive sales tool that can be used at the venue, online or on the tradeshow floor to help sell your venue.”

Charles and the team also offer a Google service to plot the mapping point at the venue. This means the venue can be found easily on a smartphone or desktop through Google Maps and then can link through to an inside tour of the business. Recent employment of this tool has seen around 1,000 new hits a week to the business’s website.

To market your business with immersive interactive tours and to find out more, visit 360Touch.co.uk or call 0161 850 3590.