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VENUE WATCH40 automotive venue offers four key spaces - Concept 1, 2, Pod and Cubo - across its 700-acre site and caters for indoor and outdoor events through to one-on-one driving experiences. Millbrook is near Milton Keynes and has recently invested in new energy-efficient LED lighting, improving Wi-Fi capacity, creating all-in-one event management packages and enhancing the track. Growth areas this year are large manufacturer launches and 'ride and drive' events, Millbrook Events head of events Kevin Leaver claimed. Several exhibitions are also returning including the fleet industry's Company Car in Action, the fifth annual Low Carbon Vehicle Events and a fresh show for the commercial vehicle sector in October."It makes sense for exhibitions that have motoring at their heart to take place at a motoring-based venue; not only can delegates see the vehicles, but with a range of track facilities such as those at Millbrook, they can also experience them," Leaver said. While it has been a difficult couple of years in events, Leaver claimed enquiries and bookings were up. "In some cases it seems the focus has shifted from substantial, nationally-focused exhibitions to more targeted regional events, where it's now more about little and often when it comes to customer contact," he added. millbrook eventsThis Birmingham-based venue has 2,000sqm of ground-floor exhibition space that can be divided into four sections. A further 10 suites are able to accommodate from 10 to 1,000 delegates."Our exhibition offering is constantly focused on how we can improve their ROI, building a successful event and working closely with our customers to improve their exhibition year-on-year," venue director Nick Hartland said. "Due to the downturn, we are focusing on helping our customers reduce their costs by being more flexible and improving their sustainability."Clients are very much more focused on ROI and sustainability of their event, they are looking for increased flexibility due to shorter lead times."Hartland pointed out 70 per cent of the UK population is within two hours travel time of the motoring-themed venue. Its biggest current challenge is the increased focus by UK businesses on the export market rather than their home market. "More resources are being spent overseas and we have also seen an increased gravitation back towards London and the South East," Hartland said. However, he claimed opportunities abound as the economy slowly picks up. "We are seeing new entrepreneurs opening new businesses who are eager to expand and therefore this is slowly feeding through to the exhibition business," Hartland added. national motorcycle museumThe Donington Park Exhibition Centre in Leicestershire claims to be the second-largest exhibition space in the region with 4,000sqm in display area on one level. Donington Park re-opened in 2010 and embarked on a refurbishment plan including new heating systems, lighting and complimentary Wi-Fi. It also has dedicated service areas and vehicle access, office space, a café and free parking for thousands."From closure and the brink of demolition, the Donington Park Exhibition Centre is well and truly back on the map," event executive Nick Wale claimed. "The exhibition centre is somewhat in the midst of its re-launch and the early stages are going extremely well. We have seen a lot of events already returning to Donington, along with new organisers taking a serious look at this new, old venue." The events calendar includes toy and antiques fairs, motorcycle shows and product launches. The biggest challenge is getting the message out there that the centre is back and open for business. "The greatest opportunity we have is the sheer size of the exhibition space, ready to cater for a huge variety of events and exhibitions and our superb, hard-to-beat location," Wale added. "We have the added bonus of the excitement from a race track running parallel to the exhibition centre."donington parkthe events highway: 3 uk venues with a motoring heritageonsite event manager. Digital signage is available across the venue.To make the most of its motoring calendar, the wing also has an international media centre, which doubles up as further conference and meetings space and includes a high-tech auditorium for 100.The Silverstone Wing has its own in-house catering supplier and is compiling a preferred supplier list, but allows organisers to invite their own choice of shell scheme, electrics, creative and AV agencies. Whittemore said a particular focus of the events team is to highlight the many experiential elements available to organisers and their visitors on the site. "Our goal is to be the best conference, exhibition and sporting venue in Northamptonshire," he said. "We recognise we are getting into a very competitive industry, so we have to be service-led and meet customer needs."Silverstone's competitors range from other motoring venues with event spaces to the Heritage Centre, Stoneleigh Park, hotels in the area, and even Ricoh and The NEC. Despite this, the venue has secured several key pieces of exhibition and conference business already including the Helicopter Show, Motorsport UK, the Electric Vehicle Show and Fleetworld. Having completed its first phase objectives, the next stage is to secure investors to unlock the next part of Silverstone's masterplan, Whittemore said. He hoped to see work commence on this in early 2013. Of particular note for event organisers is the plan to build three new hotels, providing 600 rooms onsite by 2016. driving ambitionAccording to site owners the British Racing Drivers' Club, development of the masterplan will realise the broader potential of the Silverstone site while creating 8,400 permanent jobs with firms and activities onsite. To this end, Silverstone Holdings MD Richard Phillips branded the plan the most important initiative in its 60-year history."This planning will help maintain Silverstone's position as a leading global centre for sport, leisure, education and technology and retain its position as a world-leading motor sport destination," he said.It's clear the team driving Silverstone are in the events lane for the long-haul. So can they take the chequered flag? Time will tell.1943 - Silverstone opens as a World War Two airfield.1948 - The Royal Automobile Club approaches the Air Ministry to obtain a lease to the site. The first RAC Grand Prix is held on the 3.67-mile course on 2 October. 1949 - Silverstone hosts the Formula One Daily Express International Trophy.1951 - British Racing Drivers' Club takes over the site. 1974/1975 - A new pits complex with 44 garages is opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.2003 - A four-lane entrance road into the venue is created after the M1 and M40 are linked. 2011- The Silverstone Wing opens in May. Silverstone gains planning approval for a 20-year masterplan to expand the site.2012 - Halls 4 and 5 open at the Svilerstone Wing.key milestones

more than just event space@SwEventGroupT: 01952 281 500 E: W: www.southwatereventgroup.comSt Quentin Gate, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 4JHContact us to find out more!15,000m2 event space | 3 event halls | 2 dedicated conference and banqueting suites seminar suites | onsite hotels | onsite parking | inhouse cateringThe Midlands venue with more to offerBar counters, reception counters, hospitality bars, exhibition branded counters, cocktail bars and Bar Hire LtdTel; 08454 686 888