We have been a member of the Buyers’ Networking Club for a few years now. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the BNC is a networking association for corporate meetings and events managers, aiming to assist conference, events, incentive and meeting managers with the day-to-day planning of their events where a community of events professionals share information, ideas, experiences and recommendations.

On the 20th and 21st February, I headed to The Brewery, London to take part in the 2nd edition of the BNC Global Event Show. I was accompanied on stand by The Royal Yacht Britannia, represented by Emily Shields.

On the first morning, there was a frantic hour of setting up the stand, and trying to fit 9 boxes worth of guides and whisky miniatures on to a table measuring around 50cm across! Note to self: less sometimes really is more! The BNC event is aiming to be a bit different from some of the others out there in the trade by veering away from shell schemes, and leaving more of an open feel to the event to make conversations even easier.

The BNC Global Event Show

The open feel to the show improved conversations

Two things about the event impressed me the most. Firstly, the organisers had gone to great pains to vet buyers attending the show. We have all collectively spent a lot of time at trade shows having conversations with contacts either trying to sell to you, or only interested in the goodies you have to offer rather than discovering how wonderful a place Scotland is for events! Not an easy feat, and I’m sure the organisers must have had many awkward conversations, however the effort showed. While there may have been reduced footfall as a consequence, the conversations that we did have on stand were of quality and with serious buyers knowing what they were looking for.

Secondly, and maybe slightly more off the wall but it really did work, there was a constant stream of food and drink circulating for buyers and exhibitors alike to help themselves to. None of this slipping off stand to wolf down a quick sandwich and back to the action! It also meant that it broke down barriers between buyers and exhibitors with everyone on an even footing and certainly made the event feel more informal.

As ever the proof of the pudding will be in how these contacts develop in the future, but I definitely think it was time well spent out of the office, and a good addition to the event calendar.

We were also grabbed by the roving cameraman at the event to say a few words about the show – you’ve got to love those on the spot moments!