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Next monthROI is historically perceived as a diffi cult thing to demonstrate to our exhibitors, but there are solutions if you're prepared to think more strategically. This feature looks at short term and long-term options to demonstrate exhibitor return on investment. Selling ROIIssue: Exhibition News June 2011Editorial submissions: mtrudeau@mashmedia.netEN

You asked for comments on your editorial on exhibition space (EN, April 2011). In essence, the conflict appears a simple issue of supply versus organiser demand. But the reality is subtler than that.Just three obvious points reveal the real issues at stake here: CapCo's 'reason' that 80 per cent of exhibitions require less than 10,000sqm gross. To quote the evergreen Miss Rice-Davies: "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they". It is a clear piece of obfuscation (whether deliberate or otherwise I wouldn't like to guess) because the issue is not the number of shows, but the total amount of square meterage occupying more than 10,000sqm. In 2008, 102 out of 338 UK events that reported their square meterage (and this certainly encompassed almost all major events of the type which Earls Court and Olympia and Excel London would wish to hold) used more than 10,000 gross square metres. These 102 events represented 72 per cent of all square metres sold across all events recorded that year. In 2009 the figure was higher - 73 per cent. I don't have the 2010 equivalent, but I doubt it has changed materially. In other words, over 70 per cent of the value in UK exhibitions (essentially the money paid for stand space) resides in events that use more than 10,000sqm. Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) is right in saying four fifths of UK events use less than 10,000sqm, but these represent only about one quarter of event turnover in the UK. What is actually being said is EC&O no longer wishes to accommodate the top events, or those that represent 73 per cent of the turnover of our business. This is a very different statement indeed from the implicit suggestion that 80 per cent of the industry won't be affected.Liverpool's expansion plans, and the development of exhibition space in Trafford Park Shopping Centre, are, at best, a red herring and at worst irrelevant. It is not unlike the Government spending £24bn on the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. It really doesn't matter what the Government spends - it's not a lot of use if you want to go to Plymouth. In other words, the great majority of new events are looking for space in London and that's the significance of any decision on Earls Court (the West Midlands has a clear oversupply with Ricoh, Stoneleigh Park, Telford and The NEC). Losing Earls Court must change the balance of supply and demand in London. In the late 1990s, Reed and UBM invested £31m in building Excel because they were so frustrated with the lack of slots in London and (as they saw it) Earls Court's monopoly pricing. It didn't prove to be a good investment for them, but one can understand the thinking behind it. I have run shows in Excel such as DSEi and Oceanology and think it an excellent venue. But there are many organisers who believe they need a West London showcase for their events. If the supply/demand relationship changes adversely, then the result will be higher prices for organisers and, inevitably, exhibitors. Whether this is a good or bad thing obviously depends on where you are in the food chain. CapCo is right to pursue its own financial interests, but the effect of Earls Court Exhibition Centre's closure on our industry is not going to be a factor in what happens. The only story is whether CapCo can recoup the very significant investment it has made in Earls Court - an investment made with planning permission in mind.Philip Soar Chairman, Niche Events, CloserStill, Northern Gift Fairs, Closer2 and EaglemossI express my appreciation for your warm encouragement and care regarding the earthquake, which hit Japan on 11 March. The situation in Tokyo has become better day by day, and Tokyo has almost recovered to normality. Our office did not close at all and all of us have been working from 14 March. All our employees are working harder than ever to overcome the difficulties presented by this natural disaster and each show team is expressing a strong commitment to the success of every show. The disaster has brought a strong unity to our organisation. However, we are facing difficulties because the negative news that was broadcast excessively has made people overseas afraid to come to Japan. We have received a number of cancellations, but we are convincing them to exhibit one by one. At FineTech Japan, scheduled in mid-April, 600 of 700 companies exhibited and visitor registration was around the same as usual. We are making every effort to overcome this situation and bring business to exhibitors. There was a mood in Japan to voluntarily restrain all events, but the stream has finally changed. Now many Government bodies say holding events as usual will help the economic recovery, and it is essential that exhibitions go ahead. Tad Ishizumi President of Reed Exhibitions Japan and chairman of the Japanese Exhibition AssociationLetters12industry recovery in Japan ExhIbITIoNNEwS.Co.uk mAy 2011 41letters exhibition newsLetterLetteridentifying value in exhibitions