This week I attended The Venue Expo in Liverpool, a trade show focusing on the North of England. I attended the show on behalf of the Event Marketing Association (EMA) where I work now part time. EMA is an association exclusively for in-house corporate event planners and currently London centric with regional chapters opening in North of England and Scotland. I attended the show with Richard Waddington our Chairman and one council member from Barclays. We had our official launch at the event and met with local members to plan next steps. It is very exciting to see the association grow and expand nationwide!
I attended the show both days, met our northern partners ACC Liverpool and SECC but also met existing and new colleagues from the North.
That wasn’t my first time in Liverpool. I was there in 2011 on a fam-trip with my university and we had really good time there, visiting all the key venues such as the Everton Football Club, watching a match between Everton and Chelsea, having a team building activity around music in the world famous Cavern Club and few other venues. Back then we stayed at the Jury’s Inn, just next to the ACC Liverpool and the newly opened (Since one week) Liverpool Exhibition Centre.
The Venue Expo is only in its second year and last year it took place in Manchester so it was relatively small. From what I saw this year at the show, Personal Assistant (PA) sessions were extremely popular so I decided to attend few of them on the second day. Was interesting to hear how they run their day-to-day jobs which are very similar to event planner’s and require the same skills set.
Official trade show opening by the mayor of Liverpool
I didn’t attend as a hosted buyer so booked my accommodation myself at the Premier Inn Albert Dock, five minutes’ walk to the Exhibition Centre. I know that most of the hosted buyers stayed at the Jury’s Inn which is also excellent. I was very happy with my choice and found it great value for money. Couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about staying in Airbnb when on business but the hotels in Liverpool are not overpriced and are modern, clean and central so definitely can recommend.
Spontaneously I was invited to attend a Hosted Buyer dinner hosted by Liverpool CVB and ACC Liverpool on the night. It took place in an Italian Restaurant Il Forno where we had a short drink reception before dinner which included various warm and cold antipasti, had a choice between four main courses and between three desserts. I guess we were about 30 people, so it is an ideal location for groups of that size. The evening continued with drinks at the Novotel Hotel but I returned to the hotel as I had a 5am start on the day and was extremely tired.
One day at the show is enough, unless you attend as a Hosted Buyer and will attend social events in the evening. I think that such events are great opportunity to meet fellow event profs and better network with the suppliers in a non-sales environment as opposed on the stand.
I love the North of England and the cities I visited Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester are fantastic for events. In the UK the event industry is very London centric and I hope to see more active event scene in the North to give London based event planners an incentive to come up and network and learn from each other. I hope to be back soon!
What is your experience organising or attending events in the North? Any recommendations?