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Last April on the night of the Exhibition News awards, Chris Brazier was enjoying a romantic holiday in the Maldives with his girlfriend when, at 3am, his mobile phone started ringing. “When I picked up, there were a load of people shouting down the phone,” says Brazier. “But even with all the noise, I quickly realised it was the team telling me we had won.”Brazier had booked his romantic holiday around nine months previously, paying little heed to a rather important period of the exhibition calendar. “EN keeps changing the date of its awards,” Brazier protests. But he has vowed to keep early Spring clear in his 2015 calendar. As You Were…For Now Brazier claims that the September 2014 edition of lunch! was the first time in seven years that Diversified had decided not to grow or indeed distinctively change the show. “Strangely, even though lunch! 2013 sold out early and also saw an unprecedented 37 per cent increase in attendees, we wanted to consolidate for a year as we have grown so much since our launch,” he says. “We also still managed to increase our average stand size which is an achievement as we didn’t increase our footprint at all. With the help of the venue and our dedicated operations team we were able to be even more creative with the usable space.” But despite keeping things steady for 2014, the show still had a record number of 6,215 attendees, up five per cent and just under 300 innovative companies. As a result the show will take over extra space in the Business Design Centre to meet 350 exhibitors. Taking a 360 degree view As EN walked round the show for the second year running, it was clear again that the stands at the far corners of the show still had a good visitor traffic.  Initially reluctant/modest at first to share some his secrets of the trade, Brazier revealed what keeps the show so successful. “It’s about making sure 360 degrees around the show, there is a feature,” he says. “We want people to move around the venue as much as possible. “For example, the exhibitor in the furthest corner of the venue has rebooked for the third year running, which is saying something.” All The Small Things Brazier also shared a tale about keeping the exhibitors looked after. “I’m sure all organisers would agree that often it’s the little things that really count,” says Brazier. “I had a call on my personal mobile from a lady who was worried that her husband who was exhibiting had left some things including his coffee flask at home. “When he got to his stand a member our team was able to go and check that he had what he needed but also took him a cup of coffee. It’s also really important to stay true to our beginnings, not just in terms of show focus but also how you are perceived as people.” Rest assured, after his diary mishap Brazier will be keeping potential dates for the Exhibition News Awards clear in his 2015 calendar. “I promise I will be there next year to try and defend the title,” Brazier insists. This article was first published in the November issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis
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