Jenna Hadley
22 May 2018 00:00


You’ve taken the leap of faith and decided to finally launch that exhibition idea you’ve been thinking about for years. Excellent. All you need now is the right venue partner. So, who do you choose - and why?

Below, Richard Mann, NEC Market Development Director writes about why launch shows choose big venues like the National Exhibition Centre, part of the NEC Group.


Many show launches come in around 5000sqm gross or less, and the median size for all UK exhibitions was 6000sqm according to the SASiE 2016 report with a huge 53% of all exhibitions that year held at the four largest venues in the market.

I can’t speak for all those events, but here’s why I think launch shows should come to a large exhibition centre.

Experience. You need all the help you can get on a show launch and a larger venue usually brings a larger team of event professionals with a wealth of industry experience to the table. At the NEC, we’ve been delivering several exhibitions a week, week in, week out for over 40 years and you can’t buy that kind of experience. But you can rent it!


Halo effect. Just as our choice of consumer brands says something about us, so your choice of venue says something about your show. If you’re launching your exhibition at the largest and best-known venue you can, it says to the visitors and exhibitors that you are serious. Your show might be brand new, but it IS going to happen, and you ARE going to deliver.

Location and connectivity. Choose a venue that is the easiest one to get to for the largest number of your customers, and you’ve got the best chance of persuading them to turn up. It’s that simple. It does help if they can deliver award-winning services and customer experience too.

Growth. Not only can a large venue help your show grow for all the reasons above and more, but crucially it can also provide you with the space to do so once your show is established. For example, exhibitions launched at the NEC grow by an average of 24% in their second year.

Insurance. I have genuinely had one customer describe the NEC as their insurance policy in the sense that we allow them to concentrate on their show content, safe in the knowledge that we will deliver our side of the deal. After all, you’re carrying enough risk launching an exhibition, why would you choose any venue other than the one that will best minimise your risk of failure and maximise your chance of reward?