hat is the evaluation of this year?
2012 has been a milestone year for ICE Totally Gaming. We said farewell to our old home at Earls Court with a buoyant, optimistic and well received exhibition and straight away launched into the marketing campaign for ICE 2013 which is taking place at our new purpose built venue at ExCeL London and on new dates across the 5th, 6th and 7th of February. The great news is the change of venue to ExCeL London has been embraced by exhibitors. Our latest figures confirm that ICE Totally Gaming 2013 will be the biggest gaming event on the industry calendar with in excess of 31,000sqm – a stand-out statistic which is certain to attract the broadest spectrum of international gaming professionals to London. With visitor numbers tracking significantly above this stage of the campaign last year you have to assume that our ‘Think big’ marketing message and the campaign in general has been well received across all of the gaming sectors that we serve. The exclusive focus for my organising team during 2012 has been to do everything we can to make the first edition of ICE at ExCeL the best in the event’s long and illustrious history. It’s a new chapter for ICE and one which we are all looking forward to.
What have been the main challenges that you have had to face as an organiser of gaming events?
It has been crucial for us to be able to communicate the benefits of moving to ExCeL and what it means for ICE moving forward. To achieve this we have invested in our communications campaign, created a compelling proposition, worked closely with our colleagues in the media and developed our own channels including a digital ICE magazine and the creation of our own short video which outlines how simple, quick and straightforward it is to travel to and from ExCeL as well as highlighting the many fantastic restaurants there are following the staging of the London Olympics. ExCeL was at the heart of the Olympic experience and even staged some of the events. Like everyone else in gaming we have to be aware of the continued economic recession which is impacting our customers – exhibitors and visitors alike. Our response has been to ensure that we really deliver value in everything we do. It remains the case that ICE represents an extremely cost effective way for exhibitors to see their potential customers and for visitors to be able to select from the very best companies in world gaming. When you attend a show the size of ICE – which is 31,00sqm – it delivers opportunity after opportunity. As Nick Harding, one of our most respected stakeholders put it ICE ‘has the inherent capability to surprise and inspire in equal measure.’
How has the economic crisis impacted the attendance of international companies?
As I mentioned earlier we are very aware of the pressures that our customers are under. We can’t change that but what we can do is work even harder to deliver additional benefits and features which will impact their attendance. As organisers of the biggest show in gaming I believe we have a responsibility to deliver an experience, to ensure that ICE excites and that our stakeholders leave the exhibition far more optimistic about the future and having made really significant business introductions as a result of being there. At one of our strategy meetings at the beginning of the year we had an exercise in trying to quantify what ICE should deliver. The best we came up with is that everybody looks for something different from their attendance – it could be the successful launch of a new product, it could be finding that product, on a personal level it could be meeting up with old industry friends or making new contacts. We called this a Eureka moment – the moment might be different but the emotion it generates is a shared one. If ICE continues to deliver Eureka moments then it will be meeting the needs of its customers.
How should events evolve to go with the industry changes?
We work very closely with our stakeholders to ensure that we remain totally relevant. As an exhibition, if you fail to do this, you are finished. We do everything we can to remain close to the markets we serve and have regular contact with clients, key organisations as well as our friends working in the media. On events such as our Totally Gaming Awards, which takes place on the evening before ICE, we have been working closely with the European Casino Association, the National Casino Industry Forum and the Remote Gambling Association in order to ensure that we aren’t missing something and that we remain relevant. I believe this is about being willing to change the proposition, not being afraid of constructive criticism and being able to respond quickly.
What are you preparing for 2013?
As our industry grows and develops so does ICE. On the show floor at ICE 2013, visitors will see the convergence and integration between online and offline gaming, including the creation of a new section at the show dedicated to the opportunities afforded through social gaming. Visitors will also be able to check out new initiatives including the Sports Betting Village as well as a whole raft of companies who are first-time exhibitors at ICE. In addition to showcasing the best product in the world we also have the very best learning programme. ICE Conferences features eight high-level and carefully developed one-day in-depth and targeted conferences, tailored to the needs of very specific audiences. It also provides an invaluable opportunity to network with like-minded professionals. Another part of the experience at ICE 2013 are the free-to-attend seminars held in special theatres on the floor of the show. The three programmes are ICE Gaming Leaders, The Future of Gaming and IT Support and Digital Marketing. Whilst ICE is known as an event which provides a shop window on absolutely everything that’s taking place in gaming, there’s also prestige C-Level activities, a flourishing Conference programme, key networking events and a high profile awards ceremony which is exactly what you would expect to find at the biggest event in gaming! I look forward to seeing you all at ExCeL London in February.
For free registration visit www.icetotallygaming.com