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Full page advert NewcastleGateshead is a refreshing conference destination with a charisma that's hard to resist, offering an exciting choice of places to meet, from one of the world's fi nest music centres to a genuine Roman fort. Combine this with some of the fi nest support service providers in the country and fantastic travel links right to the heart of a compact city centre, and it's easy to see why NewcastleGateshead is fast becoming one of the UK's most popular destinations, whether it's for a meeting of ten people or a conference for thousands.NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau's experienced and enthusiastic team can help you with everything from fi nding and booking your perfect venue to accommodation, travel and entertainment for your delegates - and our service is FREE of charge. To discover more about NewcastleGateshead, arrange a familiarisation visit, get a copy of our award­winning Conference Guide or to discuss your next event, talk to the people who know the place best.Call: +44 (0)191 440 5757 Email: conventionbureau@ngi.org.ukOr visit us on stand B210 at International Confex, ExCel, 6­8 March 2012An inspirational conference needs a setting to matchConvention BureauMake an appointment to see us at International Confex - visit www.international-confex.comNewcastleGateshead.com/meet

CONTENTSFebruary 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 5 Contents46 City focus: London How can the industry take advantage of the capital's busiest year? 64 City focus: Hull Hull is investing in the UK association meetings market.69 Perception v reality Extracts from one of the White Papers produced by MPI: dealing with the issue of low perception of return on investment.Features20 Confex preview Jonny Sullens lifts the curtain on what we can expect at this year's show.31 Virtual world Everything you need to know about virtual events.39 HBAA Forum The lastest forum focuses on agency prospects for 2012 and meetings technology.54 Coastal venues Seaside resorts are back in business.57 A day in the life of... Group Operations Director at the Jockey Club Racecourses74 Big interview: David Evans MBE The story of Grass Roots from the horse's mouth.81 Spotlight on an organiser Accomplished Events' Directors tell their story.85 Motivation Andy Edwards shares his equation for winning business.Regulars7 Editor's Note 'God fi nally caught his eye'.8 News Ocean Media acquired by former owners, Big:group recruits.18 Livewire What's buzzing in the business?36 Top tips Maximising conference facetime.97 People Tracking the latest appointments and promotions.99 Business Top Banana's top turnover, bad debts in the Belfry, record turnover for P&MM, silver invetsment in people. 101 Have Your Say Church House Conference Centre's GM Robin parker on second chances in events and CN's pick of top tweets.104 Gallery HBAA Annual Dinner and the World Travel Awards 2012.106 Breakout Industry tips on leaving a lasting impression with venue fi nders and agents. Contributors91 Richard John Richard John spares a thought for the introverted presenter.95 Rob Davidson Rob Davidson says conferences can seriously damage your waistline.