Anna Knight speaks exclusively to Toy World about moving BLE to London Excel

Published on: 1st August 2018

Toy World spoke to Anna Knight, brand director of BLE, about why she believes moving the show to Excel will be a standout success.

Last month it was announced that UBM is relocating Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) to Excel London from 2019. The move is part of the organiser’s ambitious strategy to evolve the show, attract even more European licensees, retailers and licensors, and improve the customer experience for both visitors and exhibitors.

When the news broke, however, it became apparent that the move was being viewed critically by some leading players in the licensing industry, so Toy World gave Anna Knight, brand director of BLE, the chance to put across her views.

BLE is an established, successful show – so why risk moving the event to a new location?

The reason we are moving it is entirely because it’s an established, successful show, and we want it to continue being an established, successful show. Our customers’ BLE requirements have begun to change over the years; exhibitors want a more flexible space and to be able to do more from an exhibiting standpoint, while attendees expressed a desire for better services and amenities, plus a much more experiential event. Excel is a modern, purpose built exhibition centre with excellent facilities – better catering, a better Wi-Fi connection, consistent air conditioning, better toilets. All in all, Excel lets us put on an amazing experience in every way.

What tangible benefits does Excel offer over Olympia for BLE?

There is definitely better accessibility for those travelling in from Europe, both in terms of airports and train stations, and there are 3,700 onsite car parking spaces too. There are 13 hotels spread across the whole site with over 2,500 rooms catering to all budgets and sizes. Logistics will be easier for exhibitors, with multiple access points and modern facilities in a single level layout, with no pillars to contend with.

We’ll have lots more to tell people over the coming months about what we plan to put into the show and the initiatives we are going to launch; these are things we would be doing regardless, but we understand that they will be particularly important to people because of the move.

How many years have you signed the contract for?

This isn’t a short term plan for us. We are committed to the venue for three years, but more than that we are committed to making it work. It’s not easy to move an event, it requires investment and some serious work. The team and I wouldn’t be doing something like this if we didn’t believe it was a good move for the event.

To read the full, exclusive interview in the September issue of Toy World Magazine, please click here.


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