The exhibition industry is one of the fastest moving, agile and dynamic industries around. At its best, it is experimental, bold, and brave in its creativity and ambition to surprise and delight, inform and engage.
Think of the best exhibitions around, be they consumer or business to business, every one of them has an amazing understanding of its audience, using both conventional and emotional data, and can create spectacular experiences for them. Think of the best around; Ignite at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), MCM Comic Con at ExCeL London and again at the SEC, Bett, and Automechanika at the NEC. They all create amazing business and commercial environments, but also engaging set pieces, visual features, and content that speaks directly to the visitor.
However, where we at Lime Venue Portfolio are seeing increasing dynamism is in venue choice as well. Sure, the major exhibitions are still very much at home at the stand out venues, many of which we’re proud to have in our portfolio – ExCeL London and Scottish Event Campus (SEC), to name but a few multi award winning exhibition specialists. However, for smaller, more boutique exhibitions, and those looking at new model formats for their event, we’re seeing something really special in the unique and unusual space.
Sporting stadiums are showing themselves to be really interesting exhibition venues. Think of hundreds of executive boxes and suites, each given to an exhibitor, with visitors able to walk around the stadium visiting each one, all with a pitch side view. Entertainment on the pitch, drinks receptions and educational content within the stadium conference facilities; great food and drink and the iconography you can get from places like Twickenham, The Kia Oval, Liberty Stadium and the King Power Stadium.
Equally, country homes and historical and cultural centres have exceptional space and bring in more aspects that complement the visitor. Think of a consumer ‘collectables’ exhibition taking place in The Railway Museum or Imperial War Museum (North), an artistic event in M Shed Bristol, or a historically themed exhibition at Hever Castle or Hatfield House. These meeting places are natural homes for the guests and the venues allow more dynamism for the organiser.
It underlines how new age exhibition organisers are now thinking; with the same agility that they show in the curation of their event. These are great options, and play extraordinarily well for exhibitions that want to link their content with entertainment taking place on site, be it concerts or live sport. We’re seeing a really special event coming to Twickenham this summer; FACEIT, will combine live action gaming within the stadium ‘bowl’, with exhibition and entertainment throughout the venue, and across the outside areas of the stadium.
These venues are also great homes for new and growing exhibitions, as they grow their communities and their numbers, maybe before they reach the heights and growth that move them into a national exhibition arena.
It shows where we are as an industry that these venues are even being considered as viable options and the increasing confidence that the market has towards unique and unusual venues. We hope to see more exhibition companies come to unique and unusual venues, and receiving the reward they deserve for thinking bigger, better and a little differently.Back to articles