GEO Business 2016 took place in London at the end of May and has reported another incredibly successful show with overall attendance up a remarkable 10% on last year. Building on the momentum of the two previous instalments, over 2,200 visitors, from 50 countries attended the show, setting the bar extremely high and positioning GEO Business as a truly international show.
From the outset there was a different feel to the event – as though GEO Business was no longer in its infancy but now firmly established as a must attend event. A hint of the week ahead was evident at the welcome drinks reception, on the night before the show opened, where hundreds of visitors and exhibitors were relaxing and reconnecting with old friends, and new, before the busy week ahead.
The opening morning saw long queues outside the exhibition hall as visitors arrived to see the new and innovative products and services being offered by exhibiting companies from around the world. Within minutes the exhibition and workshops were filled with a hive of activity and smiling faces, hand shaking and deals being done were evident on every aisle. The twitter activity was prolific with one visitor exclaiming that GEO Business 2016 was ‘..the best so far, never a dull meeting or conversation and some great insights!!’
The show director, Caroline Hobden, commented: ‘It was clearly evident by the buzz on the show floor that many of our new developments had a major impact. Changing the date so that the show took place outside of half term obviously had a significant effect on visitor numbers with many of the senior buyers that we had been courting for a number of years now finally being able to attend. The best testament to a good show though is whether or not your exhibitors want to come back and we are delighted that 94% have rated the show as excellent or good and are already clambering to book stands for next year.’
The action was not limited to the exhibit halls. The conference also had some significant developments that saw delegate registrations double in number as the quality of the programme soared and the price of the ticket price was cut dramatically. Delegates were not only provided with the opportunity to look into the future and be inspired by what is likely ahead, but also heard from the experts who are helping to shape the digital transformation and others involved in the largest infrastructure projects throughout the UK. They also witnessed first-hand some of the major developments in technology that are currently underway and how this is going to impact the way that we do business as we move into the future.
Conference Chairman, Ian Bush (Black and Veatch, Past President of ICES), reported on the conference, ”I felt honoured to take on the conference chair role this year, presiding over a truly exciting array of speakers, all at the pinnacle of their careers and leading the way in their respective fields. Fascinating keynotes and topical debates all made for a thrilling couple of days that were obviously well received judging by the sheer number of delegates in the auditorium. I have been personally involved in GEO Business from the beginning and it is immensely gratifying to see how much it has grown in the past three years and I very much look forward to the journey ahead.”
For those visitors that came with purchasing objectives in mind, the opportunity to attend more than 90 workshops hosted by the exhibiting companies allowed them to acquire detailed information prior to even visiting a stand. With more than 2,000 individual places booked throughout the week and some of them so popular that there was standing room only, it is clear to see how beneficial the workshop programme is to the visiting audience. Caroline Hobden, explains: ‘The workshop programme allows buyers to fully evaluate all of the competitive products and services on offer and arms them with the questions that they need when they arrive on the exhibit floor. It is that hands-on experience that offers so much more than your traditional static exhibition and in turn attracts such a large audience.’
The final piece to the puzzle that proves GEO Business has all the elements of an extremely successful event is the social programme, which was once again a lively affair following the addition of the GEO Ale Trail. This brand new networking opportunity drew in the crowds and provided an informal social environment on the show floor. Beers from around the country were sampled and tested with glee which continued the daytime buzz into the early evening.
After the event, Caroline Hobden summarised: “Three years in, GEO Business has successfully established itself in the minds and calendars of the whole industry. At such a vital time of change for the geo-industries, GEO Business is at the forefront, providing THE annual meeting place for professionals where they can come together to share knowledge, through leadership and best practice. We are delighted by the positive feedback and are very much looking forward to working on the next event.’
Plans are already underway for the 2017 event, which will take place once again at the Business Design Centre in London from 23-24 May.