Now the dust has settled, the Team reflect on the inaugural MEET South West

It’s hard to believe it’s been just over two months since the inaugural MEET South West. We’ve been busily speaking to as many people as possible about how the event was for them and what we can do to make it even better next year. General consensus is that it was a resounding success! If you were there, thank you for being part of it. If not – you missed out! – but worry not, you can watch the event video and we’re already busy planning an even better show for MSW 2020.

Although it was a cold Wednesday morning in January (we missed the snow by 24 hours) we welcomed a rich crowd of event professionals to We The Curious for a day packed with interesting content, a showcase of the region’s best venues and event suppliers and valuable networking opportunities. Our three objectives (learn something useful, meet new suppliers, connect with the industry) helped shape the plan for the day and created a professional but relaxed environment.

“I found MEET South West hugely enjoyable and rewarding – it was great to have an event dedicated to event professionals here in Bristol and invaluable to be able to meet local exhibitors and venues face to face and to be able to attend a huge array of relevant and motivating talks. A fantastic event to have on our doorstep, I’m really looking forward to 2020 MEET South West!”
Business Development Events Manager, The Soil Association

People come to events for a variety of reasons so we’re really pleased MEET South West ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of people. “Having spent the bulk of my career bringing people together, it was great to see MEET South West come to life, see so many connections being made and people doing business. The buzz at the show certainly confirmed there is a clear demand for it, and we are excited about making the show even bigger and better in 2020!” Franco de la Croix-Vaubois, Co-founder.

The educational programme was a major draw to the event. With three stages and 14 industry-leading speakers, sessions ranged from personal resilience, inclusion in events and the benefits of a mentor, to demonstrating event ROI, sustainability, GDPR and what’s next in event tech. “Event planners were first and foremost in our minds when developing our programme – from the topics and expert speakers through to ensuring content was practical and easy for delegates to implement. The time spent curating our programme has been validated by the fantastic feedback received and something we will be building on in 2020”, Paola Davis, Co-founder.

Another major component of the show was the exhibition. After selling out in under three weeks we had high hopes of delivering an expo which reflected the diversity and quality of the South West event industry. From venues to AV suppliers, team-building companies to exhibition contractors and event agencies – visitors came away with valuable new contacts. And business was definitely being done.

“Being part of Meet South West was a great experience for Brightelm. It was the opportunity we needed, really cementing our profile in the local area as a specialist conference organiser. Moreover, a lead from the event has converted into a contract worth over £20,000. Not a bad return on investment!”.
Rob Eveleigh, Managing Director, Brightelm

None of this would have been possible without the support of our Partners and Sponsors. “We simply would not have had a show without them and are so pleased they got on board in the way they did” says Co-founder, Thomas Heiser. “From We The Curious who supported us with the venue; Evans AV who provided all the AV tech and staging; Floating Harbour who produced the show film; and many more, we were blown away by our Partner’s generosity, drive and genuine desire to see MEET South West become the event for our local industry”. Our Alliance Partners (Destination Bristol, Visit Bath, Visit Wiltshire and the Event Organisers Network) were also instrumental in the development of the event and their feedback was equally positive.

“Meet South West is an ambitious event and one which we wholeheartedly support. The professionalism of the organising team ensured an extensive programme and a managed exhibitor offer, making it attractive for corporate event organisers, agents and associations.”
Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism, Destination Bristol

We’re looking forward to continuing the event’s development in partnership with them all. You can check out our full list of Partners here.

And so to next year. 2020 sees the refurbishment of We The Curious so we are on the look-out for a new venue. If you have any ideas or think your venue would make a great host for the event, please get in touch. Aside from that we are already working on the programme outline and planning on ways of making a day at the event even more valuable for everyone involved.

To stay up to date please make sure you’re signed-up to our newsletter and follow us @MEETSoutWest. We hope to see you at the show in January 2020.

Thanks for your support

Thomas, Paola and Franco
Team MEET South West

Check out the MEET South West 2019 photo gallery