The NEC is celebrating a double win after picking up two honours – Venue Team of the Year and the Innovation Award – at the prestigious industry AEO Excellence Awards held at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on Friday 16th June.
The first award of the evening was the much-coveted Venue Team of the Year, awarded to the NEC Operational team who seamlessly coordinate 500 events on an annual basis.
Kathryn James, Managing Director NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, said: “The NEC has undergone a step change in 2016 from a stand-alone exhibition venue to integrated 24/7 destination. With the opening of the Resorts World leisure and entertainments complex the NEC campus has become even busier – with visitor numbers soaring from 3million to 6million.
“That brings more complex challenges as the campus now offers endless new opportunities for organisers, exhibitors and visitors, including networking and socialising before and after shows. Our Operations team have played a huge part in that transition, seamlessly accommodating ever-changing requirements without disruption to our exhibition business, even during the build.”
Venue General Manager, Linda Ritchie, said: “It was a complete honour to collect the award on behalf of the Operations team and really satisfying that the industry recognises the passion, skill and effort it takes to deliver all the exhibitions and events we host each year.”
“This acknowledgement is testament to our Operations team and how they put their hearts and souls into their work making sure we are always at the top of our game. A fabulous contribution from everyone which clearly demonstrates how amazing the team are and how they work together with organisers, exhibitors and visitors.”
The Innovation Award recognised an incredibly creative marketing campaign, delivered in a sports shoebox that included Fitbit technology, 3D direct mail and a clever video that put the NEC in their customers’ shoes and took them on a journey around the venue.
The key element in the winning campaign – which has never previously been won by a venue – was the linking to a bespoke online landing page featuring a specially produced ‘Step into your customers’ shoes’ video – a fun tour of the campus using a quirky point of view perspective from a visitor. The Fitbit measured steps from arrival at the venue through a range of experiences taking in the halls, eating and networking, a lakeside stroll to Resorts World, shopping, cinema, relaxing at the spa, entertaining and socialising, partying and finally getting to bed – all in 4,153 steps!
NEC Director of Marketing, Martin Clarke, said: “As the NEC has become a 24/7 destination and fully integrated campus, we wanted to raise awareness of what that actually means and the benefits for our customers. Words and ads can only do so much and we know without walking around the NEC site it’s hard to comprehend what an amazing range of facilities, experiences and connectivity we offer.”
“We wanted to be creative, different, disruptive and attention grabbing: to present hard facts in a fun way, to open doors and build relationships. In a busy sector where time is short, we successfully impressed and informed customers with a unique blend of interactive marketing channels.”
Awards have been an important strategic focus for the NEC and the venue have been reaping the benefits as they have picked up six key industry awards in the last 12 months.
Martin adds, “We really understand the importance of awards as it helps reflect our success outwardly by building customer trust, helping to grow our business, attracting top talent to work for us and as a benchmark against our competitors, but it also reflects internally. You can not underestimate the morale boost within the team when their hard work is recognised.”