Ahead of The Meetings Show opening its doors, the show is reporting its best-ever exhibitor stand sales figures and the highest number of pre-scheduled appointments in its seven-year history.

The leading event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry has increased overall revenue by 20% year-on-year, with a major contribution coming from an 18% increase in international exhibitors.

This year, more than 12,1000 appointments have been made

At the core of the show’s offering is its hosted buyer programme, which allows pre-qualified buyers to plan appointments with the 750+ exhibitors at the show. This year, more than 12,1000 appointments have been made, which is an all-time record for the show.

The Meetings Show kicked off today (Tuesday 25 June) with the exclusive pre-show conference which was attended by 350 hosted buyers. The half-day conference began with a keynote address from British economist, writer, and public speaker Gerard Lyons.

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Lyons’ speech, titled ‘The major economic and financial issues for the world and the UK – and what they mean’ – covered the world’s economic journey and looked at where growth would come from as well as economic threats and opportunities.

He said: “The global cake is getting bigger and becoming significantly different. We have also had a slowdown over the last year and it still remains to be seen how things will turn out, but hopefully, trade disputes between China and the US will be solved.”

Following the keynote, the conference, held at the Olympia Conference Centre, divided into separate streams for associations, agencies, and corporate event planners.

Discussions included:

  1. Attract, Retain and Develop Talent with Sarah Wright of Event Industry Board Skills
  2. Disruption Creates Innovation with James Graham of Stagestruck
  3. GDPR – Implications of Brexit with Arvi Virdee of Smartec.
  4. Breaking the Compliance Code with Andrew Moore, Caroline McKenzie, Mark Handforth.
  5. What the Future Holds for Business Events with Giles Smith, deputy director for heritage, tourism and cultural diplomacy at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Kerrin MacPhie of VisitBritain and Nigel Farminer, head of border security, visa and identity policy at the Home Office.

This was the second year the Pre-Show Conference took on this format and was deemed to yet again be a hit with the hosted buyers attending.

Hosted buyer Dominique Delaporte, president-founder of French association Reformed aisbl, attended the pre-show conference for the first time.

She said: “David Chapple opened the pre-show conference with energy and set the agenda for the conference. It was really interesting to hear from Gerard Lyons about the global economic ’cake’ and attend other sessions relevant to my job, such as GDPR – Implications of Brexit.”