The sold-out Conference and Hospitality Show (CHS18) held this week, Tuesday 24 April, at Leeds first direct arena saw a 19 per cent increase in visitor numbers from the previous year. The event welcomed a range of event organisers, PAs and meetings professionals from across the UK.
Over 230 venue and event suppliers travelled to Leeds for the group’s flagship show, with 35 per cent of the exhibitors brand new for 2018. New sponsors including Jockey Club and Meet in Ireland were in attendance, along with a new media partner – C&IT magazine.
This year saw the shows first industry ‘meet ups’, which was cited by visitors as a particular highlight of the day, providing opportunities for visitors to speak to industry professionals at the VIP Rockstar Bar. The show’s hashtag #CHSRocks made it to number two in the UK twitter trending hashtags on the day.
Leeds-based conference venue provider, Well Met, showcased their facilities including Cloth Hall Court via state-of-the-art VR technology, whilst the SS Great Britain Trust showed off their brand-new event space where guests can explore the ship’s beautiful weather deck or enjoy fine dining in the beautiful recreation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s own dining room.
There were a wide variety of venues on display from the vast such as Magna, Sheffield and St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent and home to England’s 28-national football teams and 13 full-size pitches on its 330-acre site to intimate spaces such as D&D, London and Leeds and the Haversham Arms Hotel, Helmsley.
CHS18 also saw more destinations exhibiting than ever before, including Venues of Excellence, Destination Bristol, Lime Venues Portfolio and Destination Wolverhampton. National organisations Pride of Britain and Visit Scotland returned to the show, promoting the wider UK offering to visitors. Business was brisk and delegates made the most of the networking opportunity, no doubt resulting in some great leads to follow up, post-event.
Keynote Jimmy Garcia held a captive audience with his inspiring story of success, including his experiences catering for internet giants google and facebook. His quirky and enthusiastic take on event catering has seen him create innovative ‘food walls’ with branded macaroons and doughnuts – providing event planners with the inspiration to think outside of the box when planning corporate experiences.
Speakers Julia Charles-Wiginton and Abigail Jones provided fascinating insight into their areas of expertise, providing the audience with practical tools to make positive changes and add value to their businesses and individual roles in the events industry. A session on GDPR from Senior Director of Marketing at Cvent, David Chalmers, proved exceptionally popular – with only a month to go until the deadline, event planners were keen to gain knowledge and understanding about best practice.
Emma Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer at CHS Group commented:
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to deliver a 19 per cent uplift in visitors for our exhibitors and sponsors, whilst giving our buyers a great experience in Leeds.
Our next big event is the CHS awards evening on 31st May in Manchester so we’re looking forward to seeing some of our exhibitors and attendees from the show at the ceremony”.
2019 will be the shows 10th year and is set to be a fantastic celebration of the group’s achievements over the past decade. CHS19 will take place on 30 April 2019 at Leeds first direct arena.