With under 20 days to go, organisers and exhibitors will be gearing up for what is being billed as the biggest window and door industry exhibition in a decade. Given that there won’t be another one for two years after this, and the FIT Show has a new home, a record number of exhibitors, this probably is the biggest one for ten years. Maybe even more.
With that expectation, results have to be delivered. Earlier on in the commentary around the show, a figure of ten thousand visitors was bandied about as a target to hit. For this show to really move up to the next level, then this is a target that absolutely has to be achieved.
Target has to be met
The show has a new home, more exhibitors and more expectation. Three big halls to fill as well. The early figures of 10,000 visitors has stuck with me ever since it was first mentioned. This is a major step up, in the thousands, from those who attended when the show was in Telford. Given the larger nature of the venue, the increased number of exhibitors and the usual marketing build up, this seems like a solid figure to try and aim for.
But there is one big caveat that I would place upon this target, and that the ten thousand visitors have to be unique visitors. That means at least ten thousand different people from our industry turning up over the three days. That means you cannot record a few thousand visitors multiple times just because they have attended the show and come to five figures. This is quite a clear point. There has to be 10,000 unique visitors over the three days. Not multiple visits from the same people.
In the data that will probably be released post exhibition, I will look through those figures to see how close, or how far past that target the exhibition got.
In order to meet this 10k target, I would say the show needs to hit 14k registrations before the doors open. You can discount a third of all those who register as real life tends to get in the way and those with the best intentions to go may not be able to when it comes to it. The show will need to shoot well past 10k registrations if they are to reach 10,000 unique visitors over the three days.
Why these figures matter more than most
Data, numbers and figures are a very good way to judge the progress of something. The better the figures, the better you’re doing. For the FIT Show this year, hitting the 10k figure is vital.
It is vital for a number of reasons. To hit the 10k mark, and remember, it has to be unique visitors, not the same ones over the three days, then this for me will signal that this show is truly well rooted and will grow into it’s new home in Birmingham. It’s vital because exhibitors, new and existing, will be scrutinising this consecutive exhibition to see how much tangible new business and exposure they can garner from it.
This year’s figures will determine if the industry believes this show to be a success or not. Moving to a much bigger home, in a much bigger city, a year after the last one, is a big ask. Sure they could get 7500, 8000, maybe even 9000 unique visitors over the course of the three days, and that will be a significant jump upwards from figures at previous shows. But I think if they want to score the big score, they have to be over five figures here. Exhibitors will be expecting as much, so anything less than that then they might leave a tad disappointed.
However, from a PR and marketing perspective, they can fall back on higher figures then in previous shows. If they don’t quite reach the 10k mark, but get quite near and post a significant jump from the 2016 show, then they know they can go out to the industry and say that visitor numbers grew double-digit percentage points.
Numbers aren’t everything of course. The quality of the show has to be there too. Those who attend need to leave feeling that the time they spent there was worth it. That means stands from exhibitors need to be eye catching, informative and engaging. The halls have to be easy to navigate. The WiFi needs to be absolutely on the money. There needs to be plenty of networking and seating areas. The food has to be good. Getting there has to be straightforward. Schedules have to be well organised and on time. There needs to be plenty of staff on hand to help with visitor queries and questions.
All of the above combines to turn an exhibition into a quality one, and whether 3000, 5000 or 10,000 go, they all have to leave feeling happy about the time they spent there.
So, ten thousand unique visitors need to step through those doors over the three days. Hit that, and I think the organisers can say a second show in a row was justified and the move to the NEC worked.
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