x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Exhibiting positive vibes part of the job

Lloyd Kenyon explains how he tries to keep everyone happy during a big event, including his family.

Lloyd Kenyon works long hours during the week of a convention, like this week's in Abu Dhabi.
Lloyd Kenyon works long hours during the week of a convention, like this week's in Abu Dhabi.

Lloyd Kenyon is the manager of the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), an event for the tourism and events industry held this week at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec). Mr Kenyon explains how he tries to keep everyone happy during a big event, including his family:

5am

My days start very early in the morning, every morning. Apart from weekends, of course. The wife and I usually sort the kids out, who are 8 and 5. I'm a Weetabix man, so it's usually cereal, a cup of coffee and cigarette to get me going.

6.30am

We bustle out the door and drop the kids off at school. I drop my wife at work and I'm in the office for 8am. During the exhibition I stay in a hotel. Working the long days, it would be quite a task to drive.

8am

On the mornings of the exhibition, we always have a team briefing. I head a team of about 14, which includes marketing managers, sales representatives and industry experts who put on educational seminars.

9am

Ahead of the 10am opening I have to make sure everything is in place, clean, and that the daily magazine is on the tables.

Morning

We invite buyers to the exhibition and pay for their flights, accommodation and food. In return, these buyers agree to at least three meetings per day with our exhibitors. One of my jobs is to make sure all these buyers are happy and at their designated meetings. I also have to make sure the exhibitors are happy. Both need to have great experiences or they won't come back next year.

Lunch

I place a high importance on new exhibitors, because it's the first time they're exhibiting and they are not really sure how the event works. I like to sit for lunch with these individuals. Fujairah is coming on board this year, so I will sit down with the emirate's representatives to find out if they are getting a return on investment for the companies that they have exhibiting.

Afternoon

We try to create an educational platform for people to learn about the meetings, events and tourism industry to enhance the guests' overall experience. So I'll make sure that these seminars are running smoothly.

6pm

Gala evening for networking. I'll be there for the dinner, the welcome reception, cocktails and everything else.

10pm

We have 22 buses that drive around all the hotels in Abu Dhabi. I have to make sure all the host buyers are collected, delivered and picked up on time. The buyers aren't back until 11pm and you've got to be on hand the whole time for them.

11.30pm

Bed. It's certainly a long day, but I always make sure that I am available on the end of the phone while I'm away. I also never forget to call the wife and children before they sleep.