No decisions have yet been taken about the 2009 venue for THE Conference, delegates were told at Tenerife.
BMJ publisher and joint conference organiser Colin Petty told the conference that the 09 event would be tailored to the changing needs of the market.
“The economic landscape has changed quite a lot in the past couple of years, and this industry is going through a tough time,” he said. “Your organising committee have no doubt that there’s a role for THE Conference going forward, because when business takes a downturn, there’s an even greater need for a forum in which merchants and their suppliers can share experiences, exchange ideas, and focus on ways in which we can best deal with the changing world.”
“But a conference model which was right five years ago and which has worked successfully since then isn’t necessarily the right conference model for this new and more challenging environment.”
As always, delegates will be sent a questionnaire, asking for feedback on this year’s event and for suggestions for next year.
“But this year we also want to sit down with our sponsors, and focus particularly closely on how they feel the conference should move forward,” said Petty. “Because the blunt fact is: without our sponsors, the conference couldn’t take place.”
Consultation will cover more than the venue; it will also take into account the business programme, the social events, the structure and the timing.
“This isn’t something that we can knock off in the next couple of weeks, while we all continue with our day jobs,” said Petty. “It may be more like a couple of months before we’re ready to make the announcement that we would normally have made today. But as soon as we know, you’ll know – we’ll flag it up through the trade media and through the BMF, Unimer and NMBS. It might be very similar to this year’s event, and it might be completely different. However, I can promise you it will be a conference that’s right – right for the economic climate, right for the delegates and right for the sponsors. And on behalf of the BMF, NMBS, Unimer and Builders Merchants Journal, we look forward to seeing you there.”