Feedback from exhibitors to the members of our Casino Life team who participated in this year’s show was an overwhelming success.
One of the main differences of this year’s show from my own experience as an exhibitor was that all three days were very productive and the customers were still at the booth as the show ended at the end of each day.
A new record of 28,400 visitors!
First of all, many thanks for your kind comments, both as a valued member of our media corps and as an ICE exhibitor. We value that kind of insight and take it very seriously. Of course, visitor numbers are important, and as the person responsible for designing and implementing the marketing and communication campaign for ICE, I am judged to some extent as to whether the number of visitors is increasing or decreasing.
Sure, we’re in a much better place when the ICE story is told against the backdrop of a visitor recovery and 2016 was the seventh consecutive year of growth for what is currently the largest gaming event in the world. But and this is an important prerequisite: the most important action is the opinion of our stakeholders. If our exhibitors and our visitors have positive opinions about their experiences on the ICE, we have achieved all our strategic goals to a large extent.
How do we measure the reaction? To some extent it is anecdotal. Comments like yours are incredibly valuable and we spend a lot of time reading the business in business media and tracking the ICE comment on social media. For each issue of ICE, we conduct an extensive customer research program to provide a more scientific analysis of what is good and, more importantly, in which areas we need to improve our game. We also get something that many of your readers can use in their business, and that’s a Net Promoter Score or NPS. It’s a well-known metric used by many well-known brands and that measures the propensity of stakeholders to recommend your brand. It can be positive or negative and is particularly relevant as it is based on the latest experiences and ignores everything that is historical or based on reputation.
With the emergence of new emerging gaming markets in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, can we expect further targeted marketing of the ICE Totally Gaming Exhibition & Conferences later this year, so that legislators, authorities and companies can do so?
Our overarching goal is to help our clients and stakeholders reach their business goals around the world. Take, for example, Juegos Miami, our upcoming event, which takes place May 31 through June 3, 2016 at The Biltmore, Coral Gables, Miami.
We spent over a year talking to all the Latin American and Caribbean gambling sectors and listening to what they wanted from a new-style gaming event. The result is a completely new concept, based on building relationships and networking at the highest level against a strong commercial backdrop.
The industry has been asking for an event that truly embraces the region and reflects a whole continent of gaming excellence. By listening to and working with the market, we are confident that Juegos Miami will meet the business expectations of the market.
In 2013, the first ICE edition took place at the ExCeL. In a relatively short time, the hospitality infrastructure has improved significantly. The heart of London is moving east, adding more facilities and a wider choice of entertainment options to complement existing ones. Changes to the venue are never easy and it takes time for those involved to settle into a new environment. I feel that the process is already in full swing and that the benefits of London’s largest venue and the resulting opportunities for continued growth of the ICE are being recognized at a controlled pace.
And finally, when will planning for ICE Totally Gaming begin next year? Are the rumors true that they plan to open more exhibition space in ExCel in 2017?
The team never stops planning for next year and the following year – it may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. We have submitted our attendance numbers for independent review, I will receive the results of our follow-up research and in April the team will attend the annual strategy days, which will focus on 2017.
In view of the future size of the ICE, we will renegotiate our contract with the owners of ExCeL for the show starting in 2020. We have enough space for the next few years, unless something dramatic happens in the industry. Our current contract expires in 2019, so we’ll have to re-evaluate everything by then. Our policy, however, remains focused on continuous and sustainable growth.