Venuefinder Features

Focused on the experience

Published: 15 Feb 2018

James Rees, Executive Director, ExCeL London, gives his top five trends for 2018

1) Security

Recent experiences across the globe have shown that security will remain a top priority for planners throughout 2018. Collaboration between venues and organisers is crucial. By working together, not only can we ensure that the appropriate measures are put in place, but also that they are communicated effectively to anyone attending events, in advance. This has been ExCeL’s approach since late 2015 and has helped to ensure continued record-breaking attendance.

2) The Planning cycle

Our research has demonstrated that events remain a vital part of the marketing and communications mix. To ensure that planners attract the audience they want, increasingly there is a desire to be in a global city. It is therefore essential that organisers plan ahead to guarantee they can host their event in their chosen city, venue and, more importantly, in their preferred date line. The result of this trend is that we are seeing clients looking to secure dates earlier in the planning cycle and we have confirmed contracts as far ahead as 2022. 

3) Experience is everything

We recognise the importance of delivering innovative events that provide delegates with a truly immersive experience. In an age when people are increasingly time-poor, planners have to deliver an event that is not only worthwhile but is truly memorable. 
We recognise the fundamental role that food plays in the overall success of any event and have identified a trend of planners who want to push the boundaries when it comes to catering. 
Venue catering is no longer about feeding the masses. Meeting planners want to be able to offer a unique, often high-end experience, on a large scale, which fits with their brand. 
Across the board clients are demanding different ideas, from using nutritious, locally sourced produce to street food and unique catering concepts, delving into the minute detail of the catering experience for their attendees.

4) A changing world

At a time of global political and economic instability, venues need to provide planners with certainty. Venues should be prepared to guarantee prices now for future events, right down to the price of a sandwich or a cup of tea. 
We remain committed to providing clients with certainty in pricing across every element of their event, no matter how far in advance they book, offering a consultative, partnership approach to deliver a great event outcome for both parties. 
This has been well received by planners across many different sectors, with the likes of Sibos, Diabetes UK, Adobe, EAES (European Association for Endoscopic Surgery), Salesforce and IADR (International Association for Dental Research) confirming events with the venue, this year and beyond.

5) Less time travelling, more time at the event

With increasingly busy lifestyles, there may be an appetite to spend less time at events. 
Not only do the events themselves have to be a valuable experience, but venues need to be easily accessible. We believe planners will be attracted to cities which continue to invest in their transport network, offering time-saving travel options. 
London has recognised this future demand and this year will see the opening of the £15billion Elizabeth line. 
ExCeL will have its own onsite Elizabeth line station, making it easier, faster and more convenient to get to events at the venue. It will provide an ‘Events Super Highway’ linking the world’s busiest airport at Heathrow to ExCeL in 43 minutes. 
In between, visitors will be able to access the very best of what London has to offer, with access to more hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and world-renowned theatre and shopping, all within record time.

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