Business First May-June 2017 Business First May 2017 - Page 28

EIKON The Eikon Exhibition Centre Northern Ireland’s dynamic choice T he Eikon Exhibition Centre at Balmoral Park, Sprucefield is establishing itself as the leading events and exhibition venue for Northern Ireland. As the first phase of development at the 65­ acre Balmoral Park, you may have seen the Eikon’s signature red arch emerging from the landscape adjacent to the M1 just after Sprucefield. The Venue is situated in an ideal location, just minutes from Belfast and Lisburn, hotel accommodation and restaurants. It is easy to see why this area was chosen by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society to relocate its operation from the King’s Hall Complex in Belfast. Theresa Morrissey, Commercial & Financial Director at Eikon explains, “The dynamics of Eikon Exhibition Centre at Balmoral Park are second to none within the Island of Ireland. 750,000 people live within a 20 minute drive of the Venue and if you stretch a little further to a 90 minute drive you reach four million people. This offers a substantial potential reach for any event organiser. When you factor in the Eikon’s bespoke installations and facilities including 4,000 onsite free car parking spaces, superfast fibre­optic broadband, outdoor event space, extensive marketing and tailored commercial packages suited to event needs you can see why the Venue has been so successful.” Bringing such an exciting development to Northern Ireland has delivered many benefits to the local economy during the past year. Theresa confirms: “We have seen a significant increase in visitors from outside of Northern Ireland. Independent research undertaken by MRNI has indicated that well over a quarter of all respondents travelled in excess of 50 miles to attend the events at the Venue. “This illustrates that distance is not a barrier to attendance at events and is a testament to the draw and accessibility of the Venue and it makes for a great return to any event organiser.” May 2017 will see another huge milestone passed. During the venue’s largest event, Balmoral Show, the team at Eikon are expecting their 500,000 visitor. “We look forward to welcoming the 500,000 visitor to the Venue during the Balmoral Show.” Since opening doors in late 2015, the Venue has hosted a diverse range of public and trade events including the Society’s showcase event Balmoral Show, the N.I Motorcycle Festival, Amazing the Space Conference, UCAS, 26 Dubshed, The Curious Wedding Fair, CIWM Conference and Waste Management Exhibition, and the renowned MCM Comic Con. MCM, one of the U.K’s largest exhibition organisers, is due to return to the Venue in June. Local promoter, Billy Nutt from Nutt Promotions explains what drew him to run his Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival at the venue: “We decided to go to the new Eikon Exhibition Centre for our N.I Motorcycle Festival as it ticked all the boxes for us, with free car parking, plenty of outside space, a good hall with a large entrance area and good office spaces. Ultimately this proved to be a great decision with almost two thirds more visitors than we have ever had (we have been running motorcycle shows for nearly 25 years) and enjoyed a whole new experience.” With the continuing successes at the Venue, further development and expansion is planned in 2018. Theresa provides us with an early insight to what we can look forward too: “The Society is intent on developing Balmoral Park as the premier events and exhibitions campus on the island. Proposals for a second exhibition building that will link to the main Eikon Exhibition Centre are coming to fruition. “This will provide much required space for events to grow in scale and size in the coming years. It will enable the Province to host large scale events that currently cannot be accommodated.” Results from the MRNI research demonstrated that the visitors to Eikon Exhibition Centre rated the Venue as follows: • 98% rating for friendliness and helpfulness of our staff • 95% rating for our facilities • 98% rating for our cleanliness • 92% rating for accessibility • 97% rating for our parking • 98% rating for the overall venue The Eikon is a highly flexible, welcoming venue with resources that enable impactful attendee engagement, brand activation and connectivity. With a world class events team bringing their expertise, Eikon is the perfect backdrop to create a winning event.