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New Ally PAlly CeO's eveNts PlANExhibitions and events business remains a vital part of Alexandra Palace's programme, its new CEO told EN as the venue embarks on an ambitious regeneration and refurbishment plan. Chief executive Duncan Wilson OBE (pictured) will oversee both the trading arm of Alexandra Palace, previously under the jurisdiction of MD Rebecca Kane, and the trust. Kane leaves in March after a three-year stint at Ally Pally to join The O2 arena. Wilson has spent the last 10 years as CEO of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, building its public access programme. Before that, he was CEO of the Somerset House Trust. He identified two key tasks in his new role: To sustain present events business including Ally Pally's dynamic Olympic programme in 2012, and to regenerate the venue. "This venue has huge potential and our task is to bring new spaces online and supplement what we have already," he said. Wilson admitted his task was momentous and that many had failed in their quest to realise Alexandra Palace's full potential. "The difference with our approach is we are building on a successful events business, which we will sustain," he said. "Secondly, we are looking at a series of projects that are different in character and bringing them on-stream over a period of Glow's show statementnews10, Bluewater claims to have made its mark on the UK exhibition venue space with two strong consumer show performances so far this year.The retail-based venue said a strong marketing campaign and a boutique product offering helped Clarion's Wedding Week to attract 7,890 visitors. The consumer show ran 9-12 February and incorporated two full days with an additional late-night opening. Glow also claims International Craft and Hobby Fair (ICHF) Events' first show at the venue, Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts (pictured), exceeded targets after attracting more than 11,000 visitors. The event ran 2-5 February."Wedding Week had a distinct, niche offering, like our previous event Hobbycrafts, and people came specifically for the show," Glow venue Clarion takes it Home Clarion's Top Drawer and new launch event Home reached nearly 14,000 visitors at its combined earls Court show. Last January's Top Drawer show had just over 10,400 visitors. "The numbers only tell half the story," said show director Raj Gill. "we have also had extremely positive feedback from exhibitors regarding the influence, buying power and quality of buyers that visited, testament to the fact that Top Drawer is the leading event to discover new talent and write orders. "when retail gets squeezed, design-led gifts remain in high demand, as customers seek quality products, and we are proud to be able to deliver a platform for this industry." The next edition of Top Drawer takes place in september.spring Fair Hit by snowemap Connect has attributed a 10,000 drop in year-on-year attendance at this year's spring Fair International to a combination of heavy snow conditions and continuing economic pressures on the retail sector. Held at The neC from 5 to 9 February, the trade show attracted more than 63,500 attendees (pending ABC audit) and 3,000 exhibitors. In contrast, spring Fair reported its highest attendance in five years last year with an ABC-audited 73,438 visitors. According to emap, this year's fair was 11 per cent larger than the previous year, filling every hall of The neC. emap Connect Home and Gift Louise Young MD estimated attendance would have reached 76,000 if there had been no snow, based on prior pre-registration conversions and show research.bts grows FootprintCentaur exhibitions' 2012 Business Travel show (BTs) at earls Court on 7-8 February attracted 197 exhibitors, up from 134 last year. show director David Chapple claimed its exhibitor numbers were double those for its nearest competitor show, Business Travel Market. Centaur's co-located Travel Technology europe expo and conference also attracted a 24 per cent visitor rise this year to 4,354 attendees. The organiser said it had already rebooked 65 per cent of total space for its 2013 event and claimed several exhibitors had secured bigger stand space.director Rebecca Cardozo told EN. "It demonstrates traditional stand-based shows have a place at Glow." The success of the two shows lie in contrast to Clarion's launch event, Spirit of Christmas at Glow, which was plagued by exhibitor criticism. "We've always had high footfall, but being in a retail mall means there's a different visitor pattern in the exhibition venue," Cardozo continued. "A key thing for us has been wayfinding - we have the brand but people need to be aware of us so we have worked hard on that both inside and outside the venue." Marketing a show in a retail space also requires a different message to ensure the brand achieves "cut-through", Cardozo pointed out. As a result, the venue is now working closely with organisers on a new level of messaging.A new report claims the number of companies losing money in the UK exhibition industry is falling. According to research from analysts Plimsoll Publishing, exhibition companies have been rebuilding profitability in the face of economic turbulence. The company's findings were based on analysing the commercial and financial results of 661 companies involved in the exhibition industry including both organisers and suppliers. "when we examined profitability in the exhibition services market last year, we found millions of pounds worth of profit being wasted," Plimsoll senior analyst David Pattison explained. "In our latest analysis, the number of companies reporting a loss has fallen from 307 to 235. It's remarkable so many companies have managed to rebuild their profitability during the worse trading conditions in recent memory." Pattison claimed 60 "high-profit" companies are leading the pack with average profit margins of 20 per cent. This is against an industry average of five per cent. "To do so in a tight market is testament to how well these companies are managed," he claimed. But Pattison warned 235 companies are still reporting losses, 131 for the second or third year. This is occurring at the same time that debt is rising. report Finds industry's Fortunes on tHe risetime. The sheer size of the work here has defeated people in the past and they've either run out of money or abandoned schemes for other well-known reasons. We hope to get lottery funding for the theatre refurbishment, but we'll also work to secure commercial partnerships."We are exploring opportunities to build a hotel here, but again, we will approach this in a measured way. We're not handing it all over to someone else, which is an essential difference." In the short-term, Alexandra Palace will use a £320,000 grant from English Heritage to make essential repairs to its façade. Wilson said exhibitions and events remain a key part of the venue's programme and confirmed two new shows on its books this year: The biannual London Foodservices Exhibition in May and the debut National Apprenticeship Exhibition in October. "Some of our other clients have grown into the main hall, such as the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show," he continued. sHOw BRIeFs

Exhibition News and Olympia. The heart and soul of the exhibition industrySecure your table at the 2012 Exhibition News Awards today by calling Liz Agostini on +44 (0) 208 971 8265 or visit sponsorsEvent partnersAWARDSEXHIBITION29th MARCH 2012OLYMPIA, LONDONARE YOU READY TO PARTY?Make sure you get your tickets or table for the most important industry night of the year