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Full page advertOur Team is Your TeamAt our launch in 2010, we said that 'without people, a venue is just a building'. Since then, we have hosted over 400 events, welcoming an impressive list of Irish and International corporate and association conferences and meetings. Our clients, from Google to Alcatel Lucent, from TM Forum to the International Statistical Institute, have consistently praised, above all else, the warmth, calibre, flexibility and can-do attitude of our team. When you book an event at The CCD, not only will you benefit from an iconic, world-class venue in the heart of Dublin, you will also be safe in the hands of our award-winning team, whose goal is to deliver truly amazing events on every occasion. In 2011 we won 9 industry awards, achieved ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditation, and a customer satisfaction rating of 96%. In 2012, our mission is to keep improving and innovating, to become the best conference venue in Europe. We would love to talk to you about your next event, so call us today and find out how our team can become your team. Contact our Sales Team on: +353 1 856 0000 Email: sales@theccd.ie or visit: www.theccd.ie

24 . www.conference-news.co.uk . February 2012INTERNATIONAL CONFEX likes of IMEX and Reed Travel Exhibitions. Is the lack of a full blown hosted buyer programme still the Achilles heal in marketing the show? Do you envisage building further on what you have created in this area next year?We will be hosting more buyers than ever before. However, as a signifi cant number of buyers are based where the show takes place, we don't need to run the programmes in quite the same way as IMEX and EIBTM. That is why we launched the loyalty programme, where our visitors are rewarded for pre-booking meetings with our exhibitors. The plan with the loyalty programme is to build a community of buyers that we are working with all year round and not just during show week. What advantages do you expect to gain by being located now in Excel London and Docklands compared to Earls Court?We are working in close partnership with Excel to deliver Confex. They understand that this is pretty much their biggest familiarisation trip, so they are working as hard as possible to bring their 4,000-plus clients to the show. Earls Court has been a great venue for Confex over the years but we felt it was the right time to move given the Olympics, Excel's facilities and the vast number of companies based in the City and Docklands.What has been the impact on Confex from other existing and launch industry shows in this sector?Confex is a maturing event that covers a number of different sectors. As is the case with these sort of events, it often faces competition with some great shows (Square Meal) and some not so great shows. We believe though, that in these challenging times, the industry will benefi t from one large showcase event and it is up to us to ensure that this event is Confex, which is why we picked up RSVP and launched IOEX.How big will the international element of the show be and how have destinations and international venues reacted to the show this year? Is the trend up or down for this section of the show?In terms of number of exhibitors in this sector, we will be in line with last year. We have worked hard this year to use a diary system to ensure that the number of buyers running international events (40 per cent of our audience in 2011 were planning to run an international event in the next six months) marry up with the destinations exhibiting at Confex. Improvements to events such as Association Day and exciting new partnerships with the likes of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) have been well received by the market and we hope that 2012 will be the springboard for real growth in this area of the show.What will defi ne 'success' for International Confex 2012?A signifi cant increase in the measurable business-to-business interactions at the show. In plain English, that means more pre-booked meetings powered by our new loyalty programme. Great numbers of people have supported us this year already and showed faith in what we have planned - it would be great to give them the show that they deserve.With 29 years of Confex history to build on, can you pick out three of the highlights from that rich history and also three major key challenges that faced the show over that time?This is very diffi cult as there are only a handful of people who have experience of all the shows and everyone that has been connected with the show has a different set of memories. From a personal perspective, I used to love the buzz created by the international area, whether it was the clog carver on the Dutch stand or the Belgian beer bar. I would have thought that every economic downturn has presented the key challenges and this one has been no different.What three pieces of advice would you give a) Exhibitors and b) Visitors to the 2012 show?From an exhibitor perspective, I would urge them to use every last drop of value from their spend with us and that means taking advantage of all the listing and PR opportunities, working the meeting booking system and engaging visitors walking past their stand. Exhibitors should also let all their customers and potential customers know that they are going to be at Confex as this is often overlooked and it can cost absolutely nothing to do this. Remarkably, something in the region of 70-80 per cent of leads from exhibitions are never followed up which is criminal given the investment so, as straightforward as it might seem I would suggest that a follow up plan is set in place before the show so when the exhibiting team return to the offi ce the leads are acted upon straightaway. From a visitor perspective, I would urge people to take advantage of the silver and gold loyalty programmes - they can receive a lot for, what in essence, is what they would normally do at a show and that is go and meet people. Using the meeting booking system will also really help them manage their time at the show and achieve a return on their valuable time. The Confex Knowledge line-up is as strong as I have ever known it to be so I would recommend that visitors check out the programme and the sessions on offer as we have some fabulous speakers, from polar explorers, to world business leaders, entrepreneurs and even someone that has run a Formula 1 team. My third piece of advice would be to try and step outside of your comfort zone and start talking to people. We have a fabulous line up of venues and suppliers that are already gearing up to talk to you. The more you talk to you them, the more likely you are to fi nd the solution you are looking for. 70% of leads from exhibitions are never followed up, which is criminal given the investment