06 Jul 2016 by: National Exhibition Centre National Exhibition Centre

 The NEC picked up the ‘Venue of the Year’ Award at the prestigious AEO Excellence Awards beating off stiff competition from big venues across the UK, including Excel London, The 02 and EventCity.

The AEO Excellence Awards represent the best that the events industry has to offer and showcases the amazing achievements from within the events industry. The illustrious event recognises and celebrates organisers’ achievements, standards of excellence from venues and service quality by suppliers and contractors throughout the industry.

The awards are judged by a panel of key players who work across various disciplines in the events industry, including; venues, suppliers and organisers.

Commenting on the win, Kathryn James, Managing Director of the NEC, said: “The NEC has long been known to its customers as the UK’s number one venue, so we are thrilled that this status has been recognised by our industry peers.

“It has been a fantastic year for everyone associated with the NEC; we have been celebrating the venue’s 40th birthday, we became a 24-hour destination with the opening of Resorts World on our site, our customers have been experiencing fantastic growth and we smashed our financial targets for 15/16. This award win is the icing on the cake and true testament to the hard work of our venue team which I truly believe is the best in the industry.”

This is the first time that the venue has picked up the ‘Venue of the Year’ AEO award since 2001, and comes two years after its last AEO Award win when it picked up the ‘Excellence Award’ and ‘Venue Team of the Year’.

Kathryn continued: “There are some exciting developments on the horizon for the NEC, with HS2 and UK Central set to provide the framework for the development of the area around the NEC site, which will benefit both the region and our business. We will now work hard to ensure that we prepare for the future to ensure that our organisers also benefit from the opportunities that these developments will bring. With this in mind, we are confident that we won’t wait another 15 years for our next ‘Venue of the Year’ award.”

The 2016 Awards Ceremony was held at London’s Grosvenor House on Friday 17 June and hosted by well-known comedian Sir Lenny Henry.



  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval