London venues play down impact of The O2

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Key London venues have welcomed the arrival of The O2 as the latest player in the exhibitions and live events industry, but dismissed concerns about its impact on short- and long-term sales and bookings. The O2 announced its Live Quarter exhibition and live event space earlier this month, with bookings available from February. Managers at the 4,500sqm venue told Exhibition News they were targeting established venues for business including Old Billingsgate, the Business Design Centre and Excel London.Business Design Centre chief operating officer, Graham Stephenson, said The O2’s arrival would offer more choice in the exhibition and live events space, but was confident bookings at his own venue would be unaffected by the introduction of another competitor to the mix. “Another 4500sqm of space in London will keep other venues on their toes, which can only be a good thing,” said Stephenson. “The Business Design Centre is very happy with its place in the market and has worked hard to build up its reputation as a top-end, unique exhibition and trade centre.“We will continue to focus on providing the best quality offer and highest levels of customer service together with continually enhancing our offer, as demonstrated this year by becoming the first Carbon Neutral Venue [in London].”Old Billingsgate sales and marketing manager, Tom Pinchin agreed The O2 would add to London’s diverse array of event spaces and unique buildings and wished the team luck. However, he pointed out exhibition organisers tended to be loyal to venues, and as long as commercial requirements and the exhibitor/visitor experience matched, they weren’t likely to change venues. “We have fantastic exhibitions and clients. We hope our historic location, beautiful architecture, service and offerings along with our established reputation will maintain these relationships and win new business,” he said. “We will of course monitor activity and modify strategy if required.”
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