A poll of ICE attendees, asking where the show should be staged, has shown a 75 per cent preference for London.
The market research, conducted by Explori on behalf of show owner Clarion Gaming, found also that over two-thirds of that 75 per cent are based in continental Europe.
The research was taken through an online survey between June 25 and July 14 of this year. It cited ease of travel (61 per cent), the convenience for international visitors and exhibitors (59 per cent) and the ability to attract the right mix of customers and suppliers (53 per cent) as the key benefits of holding the world’s largest B2B gaming exhibition in London.
Among the 10 per cent of respondents who felt that London did not constitute the best host city, the most frequently cited reason surrounded the impact of Brexit, in particular concerns regarding regulations and export considerations. Over half of this group (51 per cent) expressed a preference for Amsterdam as a potential alternative host.
Clive Morris, research director at Explori, believes the number of completed responses was particularly healthy for a study of this kind undertaken outside of the regular event cycle. He confirmed: “The ICE London Location Review survey was completed by 684 gaming professionals, with representation from across the globe and from both online and offline gaming operators across all the main categories.
“With half of respondents at C-suite or VP level and 91 per cent involved in purchasing decisions, the survey provides detailed insight from a robust cross-section of senior industry figures.”
Stuart Hunter, managing director of Clarion Gaming, said the research demonstrated the importance that ICE attendees place on the choice of host city. He stated: “London is much more than just the venue for ICE. The research has shown that while visiting London, 82 per cent of respondents also participate in at least one other business or social activity.
“These range from participating in meetings away from the ExCeL Exhibition Centre (pictured) and attending sponsored events to visiting tourism sites and meeting with family and friends.”
Focusing on the most popular alternative to London, he said: “There’s no doubt that Amsterdam’s a great city – we host iGB Live! and iGB Affiliate Amsterdam at the RAI, which is a world-class venue – but it does not currently have the capacity to accommodate an event the size of ICE or allow for any future growth plans. A RAI-hosted ICE would be circa 10 per cent smaller than one at ExCeL London and would present numerous operational challenges.
“Our sole objective is to provide the best possible platform for the international industry to meet, network and do business and checking our host city with our stakeholders is central to achieving this.”
In other positive news for the industry, 81 per cent of survey respondents said they would be comfortable returning to in-person events once restrictions have been lifted, with more than seven in ten (72 per cent) saying they planned to attend ICE in February. Twenty-five per cent said they were undecided with three per cent stating they would not be attending.
The most common area of focus for respondents was casinos (49 perc ent of respondents) and more than nine out of 10 (91 per cent) had attended ICE within the last two years.