AG Chairman Martin Burlin has an interesting take on why EAG International has been embraced so quickly by the industry, developing its own unique identity: “I believe that with changes to the London show scene, including the demise of the autumn preview, the industry was looking for an event on which it could stamp its own identity.
"There has been a London show in January for more than 70 years so we always knew that there was a genuine need for this kind of event and from the outset, EAG International has been run by a very professional team with a real passion for our industry. The show’s management is structured in such in a way that all participants can have a meaningful input. Exhibitors, visitors, trade associations and all the other groups have all played their part in shaping the event and, I’m delighted to say, have been unswerving in their support,” he praised.
Another contributing factor to its success has to be the venue, with ExCel London now widely regarded as one of the world’s finest exhibition locations and receiving many prestigious awards for organisation, facilities and customer service.
Crown Leisure has been a loyal EAG International exhibitor since the outset with Managing Director Dean Harding praising ExCel’s goods handling and traffic facilities. “Because ExCel is relatively new it has been designed to function efficiently. We have always found it to be an easy and convenient venue,” confirmed Dean
ExCel London has benefitted directly from the billions of pounds ploughed into its locality under London Dockland regeneration projects including the 2012 Olympics, and as a direct result, EAG International’s visitors have an impressive array of transport options.
For example, the exhibition complex is only a five minute taxi ride from London City Airport which offers scheduled flights to many UK and European destinations, plus London’s other airports are also within striking distance, by road, rail or the London underground. Eurostar is also a great option for visitors from Paris, Lille and Brussels.
ExCel boasts three stations on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which in turn links to the London Underground network and for those closer to home, ExCel London is readily accessible via the M25 orbital motorway; a real bonus for exhibitors. Other less-conventional transport options include River Bus and the Thames Cable Car service.
Visitors to London have always had a great choice of accommodation and the complex surrounding ExCel certainly doesn't disappoint, benefitting from seven on-site world renowned hotels plus many more in the vicinity.
In fact, there are 1900 hotel rooms within walking distance of ExCel, and an estimated 10,000 further rooms within 20 minutes travel time.
EAG International organiser Karen Cooke has been working with the show's hotel partner, Event Express, to explore further accommodation options: “This year ExCel will be hosting another very large show at the same time as EAG International which will put pressure on local hotel supply and inevitably, prices will rise.
"It’s more important than ever, therefore, that exhibitors and visitors make their arrangements as soon as possible. Event Express has suggested the Tower Hill area as a great option with travel time between Tower Gateway and ExCel on the DLR just 17 minutes. It's also a great, historic area, close to Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and the marina at St Katharine Docks," she commended.
"In truth, for EAG International visitors travelling with partners and families, it’s probably a better option and Event Express has negotiated some excellent deals for hotels and even luxury serviced apartments,” advised Karen Cooke.
Indeed, Event Express has an in depth knowledge of the London hotel market and in addition to accessing best available rates, usually with no deposit, promises to secure more flexible terms and conditions. “I’d urge those who have not made their arrangements to contact Event Express via www.eagexpo.com as soon as possible. If you’re on a tight budget, and many of us are, give them a target price and they will rise to the challenge,” she suggested.
A visit to EAG International’s re-designed website is essential for registration and will assist with planning a visit to the show. The site is a valuable information resource, with news from exhibitors, trade associations and additional organisations that have made the show their own.
Three years ago BALPPA proudly endorsed EAG International and is now an integral part of the event,with the association hosting its own lounge in addition to staging its AGM and Annual Dinner during the show period.
BALPPA Chief Executive Paul Kelly explained that running the events simultaneously was convenient, adding: “It’s a real advantage to our coin-op members to be able to attend their two largest events in one go.”It is expected that around half of BALPPA’s 300 members will attend the Annual Dinner, in itself a 40 year tradition.
Similarly, the IOA Group has also selected EAG International as a meeting point for its members. Chief Executive Peter Weir described the three day event as “the centre of the entire industry throughout its duration.”
"Everyone we need to see is at the show and it’s very convenient for the 14 owner-managed operating companies which make up our group,” he said.
With so much happening at EAG International, the show’s organisers have embraced new media to provide a stream of information both for the lead-up and during the event, via EAGLive.
Exhibitors, visitors, trade associations and other interest groups active on Twitter can submit news and views plus product information using # EAGLive. For those who prefer more conventional methods, content may be submitted directly via a drop-down input box on the EAG International website, the EAGLive team will do the rest.
During EAG International 2014, Coin–op Community’s Steph Norbury and the EAGLive team will be visiting stands, attending seminars and gathering up to the minute news, views, photos and video clips for immediate posting onto the site. Those with material to submit at the show are encouraged to visit the EAGLive studio, situated in the show’s Media Village.
Exhibitor Justin Burke of SEGA Amusements Europe commented: “SEGA Amusements Europe has employed new media for some time and to great effect. We’re delighted to hear about this latest initiative from EAG International.”