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EXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UKThe only dedicated information hub for exhibition organisersNEWS FEATURES BLOGS JOBS SUPPLIER SEARCHThe heartbeat of the exhibition industrywww.exhibitionnews.co.ukVisit the site for up-to-the-minute news, expert opinion, in-depth analysis and special features.EXHIBITIONNEWSGALLERY EN AWARDS GLOBAL VENUE PROFILES

VENUE WATCHwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 29A regionAl The UK's largest venues continue to win business, but how are mid-sized exhibition venues faring? EN asks three regional players for their reportew events are back on the agenda as exhibition organisers look to strengthen their portfolios and leave the economic downturn behind. But industry development doesn't stop at the organiser's door. UK venues are also ramping up investment plans and fine-tuning their exhibition strategies to ensure further growth.You only have to look at a few facilities across the UK to see an emerging trend towards expansion. Those bringing new space on-board in the next 12-36 months include Harrogate International Centre, The International Centre in Telford, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, ACC Liverpool and the Royal Norfolk Society. And that's not including new entrants such as Bluewater and EventCity. In light of these changing venue circumstances, EN asked three mid-sized regional facilities in different parts of the country to outline the state of exhibition business as well as where new opportunities are coming from and what inhibitors they face.NVENUESYorkshire eveNt CeNtre, harrogatesize: 5,372sqm aCross halls 1 aNd 2; 250-aCre siteFor the Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC), capitalising on its regional location and selling Harrogate, not just the venue, has opened the door to more varied business. Venue manager Rowan Bennett highlighted several new large-scale events on its books this year such as The Yorkshire Family Show, Emigrate, Mechanex, The TR register International Weekend and the Co-operative Operations Conferences.In 2010, YEC's event portfolio consisted of 35 public exhibitions and 10 trade exhibitions as well as private dinners and conferences, attracting more than 500,000 people."During 2010 and 2011 we've seen an increase in new public exhibitions such as the Yorkshire Family Show and the British Wool Weekend," Bennett said. "In 2010 we held a number of prestigious social events including the Asda Long Service Awards, the Golden Oldies Cricket Dinner and the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards. This is due to clients and agencies looking to use more unique and unusual venues, which can meet their requirements while offering something different. "We are also seeing an increase in film location shoots due to the variety of event spaces on offer such as our disused viaduct." Simultaneously, an 83 per cent repeat business rate is keeping revenues up, Bennett said. As well as craft, antique and gift shows its flagship events include the 153-year old Great Yorkshire Show, the Harrogate Spring and Autumn Flower Shows, Model Engineering, North of England Woodworking and Power Tool Show and the Ice Cream and Dairy Show."We are seeing an increasing amount of competition for events from other venues, particularly those who are extending or building new event spaces," Bennett said in response to challenges facing the YEC. "However we are privileged to have an established and reputable venue set just on the outskirts of the spa town of Harrogate." Business continues to appear in both consumer and trade markets, particularly with an outdoor bent. "We have recently seen a huge increase in the number of large-scale outdoor events such as car rallies and camps," Bennett said. He put it down to the YEC's free parking and flexible space, which saves organisers additional costs. "Our core business is exhibitions but each year we have seen an increase in conferences and social events due to our growing reputation as an all-round national venue," Bennett added.To help meet demand, the YEC has expanded its car park with an additional 1,000 spaces and made improvements to the organiser's office. THE NORTHheAlTh checK