Updated: Jun 19, 2019
After experiencing many of the venues & events exhibitions in London we knew there had to be something similar ran in the Southeast.
We wanted to give the venues from beyond London a place to showcase themselves, plus we wanted to introduce all the fantastic suppliers based here too.
And so, the idea of the Venues & Events Expo Southeast was born.
It turned out that our exhibitors came from all over the Southeast, London & we even had the Park Regis from Birmingham join us, because they wanted to get in front of buyers & bookers from the Southeast.
In truth from the moment of booking the Kent Event Centre, our home for the two days & bringing on board the fabulous Aimee Nicholas of Clear Cut Venues, it was a total of just 4 months in which we worked solidly to create & organise the whole thing.
Aimee set about getting in touch with all her contacts in the hospitality world & I started to source speakers & create ideas for the type of workshops that would fit in well with the theme of the exhibition.
The first speaker to sign up was Kubi Springer of She Builds Brands, she was keen to share her branding knowledge with the attendees. She had the attendees wanting to go straight out & put into action what they had learnt from her, she taught them that your brand is not what you do, but who you are.
The first workshop to confirm was the Team Building with BITE networking workshop, with
Mark Kingston Jones & his team. Such an amazing concept of bringing people together to make toys or feeders for the wild animals housed in the local wild life reserves, such as Port Lympne & Howletts.
In the morning session the attendees of the workshops made toys for the gorillas at Port Lympne reserve out of old fire hoses, Mark’s team then took the toys directly to Port Lympne, gave them to the gorillas & broadcast it live to the big screen at the exhibition, it was so amazing to see.
And so it continued to grow as venues & suppliers started to book their exhibition stands, speakers signed up & workshops were created.
We ended up with 8 great speakers:-
Kubi Springer covering branding your business & your event.
Amy McManus, CEO of AM Marketing, covering marketing your events digitally, especially with google.
Mike Hacker, aka Hax, of Prisma Broadcast, covering the importance of film before during & after your event.
Molly Wright CEO of Molly Moodle Media, covering social media, before during & after your event.
Richard Bell, from Ten Intelligence, covering security for you business & your events.
Our CEO Amanda sharing her expertise on getting bums on seats at your event.
Key notes speakers were Gavin Farley Director of In2Events & Richard Harper Of Fifty Blue, who told their story of building a successful events business In2 Events & the importance of good marketing in doing so.
And 6 different types of workshop, as well as the Team Building with BITE, we also had:-
Canape’s & Bubbles with Chives caterers
Video capture at your events with Micheal Wearing of That’s Bellion
Wine tasting with Mike Best from WSet.
Corporate wellbeing with Dayone Wellness
Cocktail masterclasses at the bar with UK mobile Bars.
Once word spread we began to be contacted by other venues & suppliers wanting to join us, even up to the week before we opened the doors, spaces were sold, we ended up with 80 exhibitors in total.
A lot of time, pain & tears, as well as fun, joy & passion went into creating what we wanted to be a fabulous first event.
The plan was to create a relaxed environment, where the attendees could easily walk round, browse & chat with the exhibitors, as well as the exhibitors being able to chat amongst each other & make new connections.
But what would make it different to the other big venues shows that happen all the time in London?
It was about the personal touch, speaking & communicating well with all those involved, constant communication & making sure every detail was covered. We were consistently working, even up to the evening before set up day, making sure we had done as much as we could.
Then the real fun began, set up day. Marking up the floor plan, setting out the tables & chairs, then waiting for the exhibitors to arrive to set up their stands.
The set-up day was so much fun, there was such a buzz in the room as stand by stand it all started to come together, the stands were looking awesome, everyone was excited & looking forward to opening the doors.
At the end of set up day the transformation was so awesome, from an empty shell to a buzzing exhibition. We just couldn’t wait to open the doors to the attendees & the beginning of the first ever Venues & Events Expo Southeast.
The energy in the room was electric, the atmosphere, buzzing but relaxed, everyone was having a good time.
We had a few things thrown as us, there was a thick fog every were, they were threatening another major thunder storm, there was a big accident on the motorway causing major delays on the approach to the venue & it was half term, so the number of people through the door was not as high as we had hope, we had a big drop off. But those who did attend were great attendees, people who were truly interested in meeting & doing business with exhibitors.
A lot of conversations took place, business cards exchanged, connections made & fun was had by everyone who were a part of the day, whether they were attendees, exhibitors, speakers or workshop hosts.
It was none stop from the moment we opened the doors until the moment we closed the door & we finished the day off with a VIP drink reception in the bar for all the exhibitors & attendees who wanted to spend more time with the exhibitors & speakers.
The experience was amazing, we learnt a lot & as we set about planning next years expo we are already tweaking to make it even bigger & better than this year.
Venues & Events Expo Southeast 2019 will be on the 9th May, put it in the diary