Carole Nash organiser happy despite drop in visitors

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The organiser behind Carole Nash Motorcycle Live has proclaimed its 2010 event a visitor and exhibitor success despite reporting its second consecutive drop in footfall.MCI Exhibitions MD Finlay McAllan said the NEC-based show was cut from 11 days to nine after dropping a one-day press event and dedicated trade day. The list of features and exhibitors were also overhauled following what McAllan told EN was a disastrous 2009.This year's plans were based on visitor research which listed a good day out, bike demonstrations, and quality retail goods to buy as the top three reasons to attend.“Our 2009 results were poor, and coupled with the economic climate we ended up presenting a show with just 11 manufacturers,” McAllan explained. “This left us ‘knitting wind’ as organisers. We overpriced and under delivered and underestimated the impact this would have.“Through our exhibitor and visitor research, it was clear what had to be done. We looked at the floor plan and what people wanted and we adjusted accordingly,” he added.MCI worked to lift the number of exhibiting manufacturers to 38 by offering value-added extras such as stand staffing services. It also dropped several profitable but superfluous features such as the wall of death. “These sorts of features generated money, but they weren’t what people were coming to the show for,” McAllan said. “It was the bikes that were the stars.“As an organiser, we have to prove we can organise, but we also have to listen. Sometimes the show research is difficult to read, however we followed it and now people are saying we had an amazing show.”Total visitor attendance was just shy of 99,000 (unaudited), representing an 11 per cent drop year-on-year. The 2009 event was also down 15 per cent. Its record was 206,000 visitors in 2001. McAllan blamed heavy show conditions for a poor first weekend, but pointed out a larger percentage of this year’s audience were new to the industry. Visitors feedback was also much improved. “We had less come than last year, but we’ve built the platform now for a positive step in 2011,” he said. “It comes down to what you do with the people in front of you – the numbers are important, as that generates budgets and income, but it’s the visitor experience when you walk through the door that’s critical and feedback this year has been very positive.”Carole Nash Motorcycle Live chose Birmingham NEC’s in-house events team, Managed Events, to design manage the main performance area at this year’s event.
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