Blog post

Squaremeal Venues and Events Live 2017: Thoughts and Highlights

4 October 2017
Squaremeal Venues and Events Live 2017: Thoughts and Highlights
Squaremeal Venues and Events Live 2017: Thoughts and Highlights

Author - Hannah Aldis, Production Co-ordinator, Inspired.

As you may have guessed from the title of this blog, Thursday before last I attended Squaremeal Venues and Events Live at Old Billingsgate. Although I’d heard a lot about this annual event, this was the first time I’d been for myself and after hearing positive feedback from previous years, I had high hopes.

The event, for those who don’t know, is dubbed an unmissable show for event organisers. Taking place over two days, it brings hundreds of venues and suppliers from across the UK together in one place. A sort of one-stop-shop if you like for all your event needs. Squaremeal Masterclasses and Sessions are also scheduled throughout the day so you can learn from the best, alongside complimentary food by Sands Catering and street food vendor, KERB.

The day is a busy one, there’s a lot going on and a lot of people trying to grab your attention and scan your badge (so to add your email address to their mailing list, subsequently giving them the opportunity to follow up post-event with an email). This, in itself, is an efficient system. It undoubtedly saves time and stops attendees having to repeat their email addresses over and over again. It also decreases the need for business cards, contributing to good sustainable practice. And, apart from a few temperamental issues, it worked a treat. On occasion though, it felt a little like the scanning of the badge was a very one-sided interaction, rather than a mutual thing between exhibitor and attendee. The problem is that naturally and unsurprisingly, not every single exhibitor will be right for every single attendee, but it almost feels rude to refuse a badge scan when an exhibitor requests permission. In this sense, it feels a little bit like a numbers game, with those exhibitors who acquire the most email addresses being the most successful (event if 50% of them aren’t interested). Of course, this is only my own opinion – but it’s something which I picked up on whilst making my way around the various areas. Arguably, this is the nature of a show like this though, and undoubtedly, the more contacts you make, the more exposure you receive and ultimately, the more business you get.

The show, as mentioned, was held in the beautiful Old Billingsgate, yet once you’re inside you could be forgiven for forgetting where you are due to the sheer extent of exhibitors which engross you. The Vaults, River Room, Bridge and Gallery are each divided into aisles or areas, each with several exhibitors situated side by side. Experimental food installation company, Lick Me I’m Delicious, was one of the first exhibitors I encountered, and remained a firm favourite. Bringing along several of their contraptions for attendees to try out (Edible Mist, Nitro Ice Cream, the Tipsy Fountain and the Alcoholic Brain freezer to name just a few) created a consistent buzz throughout the day. Allowing the gadgets to do the talking, the friendly staff took a backseat but were on hand to answer any questions and give out any extra information.

Technical production and rental company, SLX had their stand a little further up, also leaving a very good impression. SLX showcased one of their interactive and bespoke light installations, allowing attendees to stand on touch sensitive pads which altered the colour of the lights. Similarly to Lick Me I’m Delicious, team members from SLX were more than happy to talk about the installation, and the other work they do. A passionate team wanting to put across their expertise in an unobtrusive way.

Other highlights included award winning florist, Amie Bone Flowers, who showcased a stunning floral table display. Luxury biscuit boutique Biscuiteers who iced biscuits at their stand, personalising them with names for attendees to take home. The Inception Group and Zebrano Bars offering everyone a free cocktail and KERB vendors, Hank’s and Ink serving up food on The Terrace with a backdrop of Tower Bridge for all to enjoy. London venues, The Brewery, The Barbican, Tobacco Dock and The British Museum also caught my attention. I could go on, but we’d both be here all day!

All in all, it was a great day, well-organised, executed and a great way to meet a lot of people. However, my one overwhelming takeout was this: our industry is a creative one, yet the general layout of the show was extremely, well, bog standard for want of a better phrase. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t really expecting it not to look how it looked. But I was thinking as I was walking around, I wonder why all trade shows and exhibitions must have such a linear design, with each exhibitor having some form of standard exhibition stand. With this set up, you can only be creative up to a point (something which certain exhibitors achieve better than others). It almost seems like we’re putting creativity into a box and not being as forward thinking and contemporary as the industry we represent is. It’s just a thought, it’s not an easy ‘problem’ to find a solution to but its perhaps something to think about. I know that ultimately Venues and Events Live must be commercially viable for everyone involved, but we mustn’t forget that it’s a great opportunity for creativity. Something which comes so easily to very many of the companies exhibiting and so I can’t help but think of that age-old phrase: "don’t tell me what you can do, show me…"

Blog Post

other projects

Uniting the Storage and Data Management Industry

Uniting the Storage and Data Management Industry

Creating a high impact event environment for the data and storage industry.

Showcasing a New Brand Experience

Showcasing a New Brand Experience

Unveiling new showroom experiences for a leading Volkswagen retailer.

Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation

Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation

Marking 40 years of leading edge thinking in the UK automotive industry.

A Five Star Environment

A Five Star Environment

Maintaining an exemplary guest experience during the rejuvenation of a luxury hotel.

The Power of Shared Experience

The Power of Shared Experience

Curating memorable content for a not-for-profit sector staff conference.

Other Projects

Uniting the Storage and Data Management Industry

Uniting the Storage and Data Management Industry

Creating a high impact event environment for the data and storage industry.

Showcasing a New Brand Experience

Showcasing a New Brand Experience

Unveiling new showroom experiences for a leading Volkswagen retailer.

Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation

Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation

Marking 40 years of leading edge thinking in the UK automotive industry.

A Five Star Environment

A Five Star Environment

Maintaining an exemplary guest experience during the rejuvenation of a luxury hotel.

The Power of Shared Experience

The Power of Shared Experience

Curating memorable content for a not-for-profit sector staff conference.


Last week @Google were named the best company to work for due to the incredible benefits they offer their employees… https://t.co/OChgyw6zKg

get in touch

  • Inspired
  • The Old Bakery
  • 5-9 St Andrews Street South
  • Bury St Edmunds
  • Suffolk IP33 3PH
  • Follow us on

Fill in the form and we'll be in touch: