ExCeL London

The 12-months of 2021 will go down as some of the most unprecedented and challenging that ExCeL London – and of course the entire events industry – will ever face. At the start of the year, the Royal Docks venue was a far cry from its usual hustle and bustle as, once again, it supported the Government’s pandemic efforts this time as a mass vaccination centre as opposed to the UK’s largest temporary hospital.

Yet six months on, it was able to spark back into life – after 72-weeks – by hosting the world’s first indoor/outdoor motorsport race via Formula E. This was the catalyst for the return of live events and the first of some 90 shows condensed into five months that would prove the ultimate test of teamwork and flexibility. It would also see some 800,000 visitors safely welcomed to the Royal Docks venue – each and every single one covid checked – not to mention securing 11 new business wins including The London International Horse Show, Shoptalk Europe and InfoSecurity. It would go on to generate an organiser satisfaction score of 4.73 out of five. For sure, this period will be remembered as one of resilience and diversification, especially as ExCeL looked at additional revenue streams through filming locations and exam halls, but also one of investment - as opposed to frugality - through measures such greenlighting its 25,000sqm expansion programme.