Venue watch: Looking north

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Leeds – The Royal Armouries Museum and New Dock Hall New Dock Hall and the Royal Armouries Museum are in a £350 million waterfront development in the heart of Leeds. There is a multi-storey car park for 1,650 vehicles for the venue and 850 hotel bedrooms within five minutes’ walk. According to James Vincent, the MD of the venue, the mix of different rooms including lecture theatres, breakout rooms and exhibition halls make the venue ideal for an exhibition and conference. New Dock Hall has 1,240sqm of exhibition space in addition to the foyer and Royal Armouries Hall has 886sqm. The Wellington Suite can offer further exhibition space or can be used for seminars or as a catering area. “Additionally, outside of museum hours, the Museum galleries can be used for networking events and dinners during the course of the exhibition,” said Vincent. “Our purpose-built lecture theatres are fully air-conditioned, and can have super-fast broadband Wi-Fi.” The venue hosts around 30 exhibitions a year. These include The UK Wedding Show, lighting and sound show Plasa, and Border Concepts for the higher education and marketing sector. “Our waterfront venue in Leeds is especially favourable for local and regional shows, and can accommodate up to 200 exhibition stands,” said Vincent. “The Wellington Suite can offer further exhibition space or can be used for seminars or as a catering area. The Bury Theatre makes an ideal lecture theatre linked to an exhibition in the Royal Armouries Hall. We are extremely good at the fast turnaround of a room so we can break down an exhibition or room set and re-set for dinner on the same evening, usually in the time it takes the delegates to get back to their hotel and change.” Additionally, outside of museum hours, the museum galleries can be used for networking events and dinners during the course of the exhibition. Harrogate International Centre The Harrogate International Centre (HIC) got off to a good start this year with the news that Dublin-based S&L Promotions will bring its Over 50s show to the venue in April. The lifestyle event for seniors has been held over the last 12 years in four venues across Ireland. According to Lynne Hudson at the venue, organisers want easy access and egress, halls that can grow with their shows, flexible tenancy deals, and knowledgeable, approachable staff. “Exhibitors and visitors want a central, accessible location from all over the UK, plenty of accommodation nearby, and lots of networking opportunities in a safe and pleasant destination for after the show,” she said. “Harrogate and HIC can provide all this.” The venue has a mix of trade and consumer exhibitions, tapping into the affluent demographic of its location. Upcoming shows this year at HIC include Home & Gift Fair, the Nursery Fair, The Golf Show, The Flooring Show and British Bridal Exhibition. “We are researching consumer exhibitions and shows that are a good fit with our destination and the demographic and audience that we can provide, for example the successful partnership we have with Upper Street Events and the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair which was a huge success here at HIC last year,” said Hudson. The venue will be exhibiting at International Confex this month and has also signed up for the Meetings Show UK in July. In 2012, HIC opened two new halls, Hall H and Hall G that take the total exhibition space to 18,500sqm, as well as a new foyer area that provides easy access for the Queens Suite syndicate rooms. The venue is currently planning the refurbishment of Hall Q and the halls foyers and the rolling out of a new logo across the site. “The diary is looking very positive. In the last month alone we have contracted 13 events with 10 of those due to take place in 2013,” said acting head of sales Paul Ashton. “Many of these clients decided to look at Harrogate for its great central location and the reputation it has for looking after event delegates. We are also finding that corporate event organisers are working to increasingly shorter lead times and are looking for all-inclusive deals.” Pavilions of Harrogate The Pavilions of Harrogate, also known as the Yorkshire Event Centre, has two main exhibition halls with a combined space of more than 5,000sqm, 250 acres of outdoor space and a purpose-built conference and banqueting suite. It is sited on the Great Yorkshire Showground and the company Yorkshire Event Centre Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. All the profits from the company go to fund the work of the charity which supports agriculture, the environment and rural initiatives within the Yorkshire region. “We believe that exhibition organisers want a venue that works, and by that we mean works on all levels,” said the venue’s MD Heather Parry. “It has to be in a location where organisers can attract visitors in the numbers they want and somewhere the exhibitors will have an easy life – easy loading and access, free parking and a great town to enjoy when the show is over.  We understand that exhibitions are all about communication between all parties and one of the things that Yorkshire is known for is its warm hospitality and being happy to chat.” The venue hosts The Spring and Autumn Flower Shows with the North of England Horticultural Society and foodie events such as the Ice Cream Expo, British Potato Council Show and the Fine Food Fair.  Token charges are made for Wi-Fi for use at the venue and it claims to have excellent 3G coverage with a mobile mast on the site. “2012 was an excellent year for YEC with exhibitions growing in strength and visitor number,” said Parry. “We recognise that exhibition organisers are having to work hard to get ideas off the ground and keep their events at the forefront of the visitors minds and we will do everything possible to support them.  We are working hard with our existing and new exhibition organisers to ensure that 2013 is another successful year. “Not everyone realises that all the profits we raise from YEC go to fund the work of the registered charity – The Yorkshire Agricultural Society. By holding an event here you are helping to support farming in our region.” This was first published in the March 2013 edition of EN. Any comments? Email exhibitionnews@mashmedia.net
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