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MAY 2013 |www.opp-connect.com WORDS | Francine Carrel


s the UK (fi nally!) started to get a little warmer, albeit damper, the much-anticipated A Place in the Sun Live 2013 spring show opened its doors at the London Olympia from Friday 12 April - Sunday 14 April. The event is the offi cial exhibition of the Channel 4 TV series, A Place in the Sun (APITS) and featured appearances from presenters Amanda Lamb, Jasmine Harman, Jonnie Irwin and Laura Hamilton. It hosted more than 150 agents and developers selling overseas property, arranged around a central hub and complimented (debatably) by a startlingly vibrant orange color scheme. We knew before the show that pre-


registration and ticket sales were up 8% on last year’s event, so the signs were there that A Place in the Sun would be a success. Managing Director Andy Bridge told OPP Connect, “The exciting aspect from our point of view is a new venue, Olympia rather than Earls Court, with a different design concept. All the A Place in the Sun activity takes place in our central Hub with our four Villages/ Pavilions in each of the corners.” The new venue had the added advantage of being more accessible to visitors from in-and-outside London, as well as being close to Gatwick airport. Wandering gratefully out of the drizzle


A place to have fun A


at 10am on the Friday, the OPP team was immediately and pleasantly surprised at the amount of footfall – what is traditionally a trade day seemed to have drawn in a decent number of consumers along with the property professionals. Navigation was initially a little diffi cult, but once I’d got to grips with the map and worked out the (in hindsight) fairly obvious groupings of the ‘main’ countries, it was easy enough to fi nd my way around as a visitor. Food was a couple of notches above the usual exhibition fare and decent coffee was readily available, so I was pretty happy. Having a wander round in the afternoon, it was good to see chatty exhibitors with smiles on their faces: the property professionals we stopped to have a chinwag with ranged from cautiously optimistic to brazenly confi dent. It’s events like these that give credence to the general feeling of recovery through our sector. The buzz continued throughout the weekend, with most exhibitors getting a pleasing amount of leads, contacts and (in some cases) sales on the spot. It transpired that visitor numbers


actually jumped nearly 20% from the last Spring show (in Earl’s Court), going from 4,390 in 2012 to 5,195 this year. Andy Bridge said, “We were extremely pleased. Friday and Sunday saw a similar


number of attendees at about 1,500 each day, but on Saturday we saw over 2,200 people through the door. When we opened there was a genuine rush as a large crowd came in. “The 20% increase in visitors is probably down to a couple of factors, a slowly improving market and the new TV series being on air throughout March. These are episodes fi lmed last year, so contain plenty of attractively- priced properties and it has been a long, cold winter!”


Quite. Despite the landscape of Testimonials


“The best show we have ever done! Lots of traffi c – we met some great people. We had four stands that were constantly busy! We congratulate A Place in the Sun for their organization as everything went smoothly from start to fi nish.”


Marina Pasquill, Marketing Manager at Ideal Homes Portugal (www.idealhomesportugal.com)


12th – 14th April 2013


Olympia, London new layout


“I thought the show was excellent and very positive in terms of numbers and quality. We came away with some very good sales leads, as well as good business-to-business contacts and opportunities. “It’s the fi rst consumer facing exhibition we’ve attended for a couple of years


27th – 29th September 2013


and we’re delighted with the results. I think it was very well organised, and a good mix and number of exhibitors, plus it had a very focused and sales-orientated feel to it. There weren’t lots of distractions and other side-show events happening – there was a good schedule of seminars and presentations but they didn’t detract or overshadow the core activity of getting exhibitors in front of the visitors.”


NEC, Birmingham new audience


Adam Ellis, Marketing Director at Resort Group PLC (www.theresortgroupplc.com)


Make a splash in 2013


Buzzing | The show raked in a whopping 20% extra visitors this year 4th April


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27th June 19th September 12th December


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“It was the fi rst time we attended at this show. We were more used to business- to-business exhibitions. This show was mainly retail and business-to-consumer, as we were expecting. There were a lot of off ers and due to the global economic situation key loca-


tions in Italy were a bit above the general budget. We found the organization of the show good. We participated with the Italian Chambers of Commerce that helped us in terms of marketing and business support. The only downside is that we would have expected maybe a few more upper budget requests.


Alberto Guglielmone, Marketing Manager, Hera International Real Estate (www.heraimmobili.com)


APITS LIVE


WISH YOU WERE THERE? | 41


A Place in the Sun Live is, without doubt, the UK’s largest and most successful property show. They have learned that the visitors do not just come to learn about international property. They also come to have fun. To help them, the show presents a selection of seminars and other entertainment. Have they made it work?


unremitting grey outside the window, the atmosphere at the show was superb. A good venue and clever design meant that the wall-to-wall stands were receiving plenty of traffi c and there was a real sense of revival at the event. A few exhibitors were selling to overseas markets for the fi rst time, while others were dipping their toe back in the water after a long drought. The next A Place in the Sun Live show will take place from 27-29 September at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. See www.aplaceinthesun. com/exhibition for more details.


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