EC&O Venues is a privately owned company and its owners have a clearly defined vision for the future – to create a landmark leisure attraction centred around the core business of exhibitions, conferences and special events.
The plans that have been put in place to achieve this vision will ensure that Earls Court and Olympia remain London’s venues of choice and that the business continues to buck market trends and enjoy steady growth.
In 2007, planning permission will be sought to build a small casino in Earls Court One. The achievement of this project will facilitate investment in the fabric of the venues – new and refurbished exhibition spaces with improved and easier access - allowing it to widen and increase the variety and number of events its holds each year.
Plans to develop under-used buildings at Olympia, complementing what the venue currently has to offer, are already underway with the proposed construction of a gym and health club facility in a currently under-utilised building. Further developments under discussion include a hotel, a restaurant and new office spaces – all designed to create a buzz around the 170 events the venues hosts every year.
The addition of new venues to the EC&O Venues portfolio is also on the company’s agenda. Having purchased the Brewery in 2005 and successfully incorporated it as part of the overall business, sights are now set on further venue acquisitions, specifically in the City and the West End of London. The EC&O Venues brand – and its tagline ‘Leading Venues for Leading Events’ – was created with the idea of a collection of very different venues with very similar ideals in mind.
Beyond development of its facilities and the addition of new venues to its portfolio, EC&O Venues is also examining the future of the exhibition industry to ensure that its development, in terms of infrastructure and offer, suits the changing needs of the market place.
The AEO – the Association of Event Organisers, the industry’s trade body – has published figures that imply that larger exhibitions are in decline, while small to medium-size exhibitions are on the increase. The ‘confex’ also appears to be gaining in popularity as a format – a conference with an exhibition built around it – and, perhaps most importantly, content-rich shows that are as much entertainment as exhibition are delivering incredible results to organisers and exhibitors alike. All of these types of event thrive at EC&O Venues, thanks to the venues’ flexible space and industry-leading experience and customer service.