Exhibition News Supplements EN 30 Under Thirty 2017 - Page 11

PARTNER’S COMMENT Never standing still Jeremy Rees, executive director, ExCeL London 11 T ime fl ies! 2017 sees the third iteration of EN’s 30/30, with many of the original winners now into their thirties. I’ll add to the sentiments of the other judges, both the number and quality of the 2017 entries was incredibly high and the fi nal shortlist fi ercely contested. For the fi nal 30 change-makers and innovators, it really is a true achievement to have stood out from the crowd; particularly given that the events industry employs over half a million people across the UK. Our sector is agile, dynamic and creative - a world class creator and exporter of events, driver of £11bn of economic value annually; responsible for attracting, entertaining and engaging 13 million visitors each year and is of course, the leading catalyst for business tourism across the UK. This talented group of individuals will shape our industry in the years to come, as exhibitions evolve to stay current and relevant in the experience economy, and in a time of some upheaval. With the political landscape remaining unpredictable and the outcome of the Brexit negotiations a far-off unknown, these talented candidates will be coming up with the ideas that will create opportunity out of this change. Innovation is at the heart of dealing with change. The world is not standing still and therefore our industry needs to take a different approach - to not do the things that have always been done. At ExCeL, innovation and a commitment to invest in the customer experience is driving our business forward in today’s changing world. We have recently completed a multi-million pound project to revolutionise food and drink at the venue; we recognise that venue catering shouldn’t be about just feeding the masses, as great food plays a fundamental role in the overall success of an event. Our new catering proposition means that we are now able to offer a range of different solutions, from using nutritious, locally sourced produce to street food and immersive catering concepts, that delve into the minute detail of the experience. Meanwhile, we’re looking at ways in which technology can facilitate meaningful interactions at events and add another dimension to the medium of face-to face. Good technology makes life easier and business better (and those under 30 are the generation with the fi nesse to help us capitalise on this!) Meanwhile, across London, the commitment to invest and innovate is key to meeting the demands of a changing city. An additional 16,000 hotel rooms are coming online by the end of 2019, increasing overall capacity to 161,000 bedrooms, and the launch of the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) next year, will link ExCeL to Heathrow in 43 minutes, transforming the way we travel across the capital. The 30 candidates who have been selected this year will be the ones we will look to to re-rewrite the rules for the next generation and create bold, innovative ideas to keep events relevant and engaging. I am looking forward to seeing what this future looks like! exhibitionnews.co.uk | 2017