With questions swirling about what, if anything, Reed Exhibitions would offer attendees and exhibitors who were unable to make it to last week's London Book Fair, the show's organizer issued a letter answering that question. Group exhibition director Alistair Burtenshaw outlined a "thank you/loyalty" package LBF is issuing to its 2010 customers. LBF is not providing rebates, but is offering a 30% reduction on exhibition space and table holder fees for the 2011 show (at the 2011 rates). Pre-registered international attendees who couldn't make it to the fair will be given free admission to next year's show.

The letter detailed that attendance was down 32% at this year's show, due to the travel mayhem wreaked by the erupting volcano in Iceland. The 2011 show, as Burtenshaw also notes, will mark the 40th anniversary of LBF.

Here is the complete text of the letter:

Further to my letter at the end of last week's London Book Fair, I am writing to follow up on our stated intention to recognize our 2010 exhibitors, table holders and visitors, whose experience was significantly affected by the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the volcanic ash in Iceland.

Given the air travel chaos that lasted from Thursday 15th April through to Wednesday 21st April, our exhibitor and table holder numbers were significantly reduced and our total attendance numbers were down by around 32% compared with the previous year (based upon unaudited figures - the audited figures will, as in previous years, be available 6-8 weeks post-show). Clearly, for those people whose diaries at the Fair are almost entirely made up of international meetings, we understand that the perception of overall attendance being around a third down will seem out of kilter with their experience.

Whichever sector you represent, this year's London Book Fair - which was set to be one of the biggest and the best - was disrupted across the board. As Director of the Fair, it was heartbreaking to deliver such a comprehensive show and content programme only for the airlines not to be able to deliver many of our international participants. In recognition of the disruption to the show, and to our 40th birthday in 2011, we would like to offer you, as our 2010 customers, a loyalty package. This one-off package comprises a 30% reduction on exhibition space and IRC table holder rates against the 2011 prices*. Additionally, any pre-registered international visitor for the 2010 show, who was unable to attend, and whose ticket was not transferred to a colleague, can attend free-of-charge next year.

We very much hope that this gesture of goodwill helps to mitigate the disruption to your experience of this year's London Book Fair, and will support you in attending a milestone in our development - our 40th anniversary fair - for which planning is already underway. One of the distinguishing and valued aspects of The London Book Fair is its year-on-year loyalty from attendees; we hope, therefore, that this significant contribution to your budgetary planning for next year demonstrates Reed Exhibition's commitment to The London Book Fair and all its participants.

Over the course of the next few months, my team and I will be visiting several markets and very much hope to have the opportunity to see many of those international clients that were so greatly missed at this year's Fair.

Yours sincerely,

Alistair Burtenshaw
Group Exhibition Director - The London Book Fair

*Based on the same exhibition space or number of IRC tables being taken as in 2010 with any additional space or tables booked at the published 2011 rates. This additional Loyalty Rate is an additional Early Bird discount and this offer expires at the same time as our current Early-bird Loyalty Rate - 1st July 2010.