Whenever a new band explodes onto the scene with a new album, the excitement and buzz is intense and constant. But eventually, when all that dies down, fans and their expectations then turn to the next album to see if they are going to be a flash in the pan band that’s around for a year, or if they are going to be a consistently great band that is going to be worth following for some time to come.
This was the case for this year’s FiT Show. After such a successful first year, expectations were high for the second exhibition. I was there for the full 3 days and this is my full review of the show.
Planning And Execution
Right, lets gets the basics out of the way. As was to be expected, this year’s FiT Show was very well organised and planned. With extra parking laid on to help solve that issue from the previous event, that seemed to do the trick. Although it was probably only required properly on Wednesday which was by far the busier of the three days. The shaky internet of last year was banished too.
The venue itself was well laid out from front to back with the entrances well manned with staff to help people register and get their lanyards for the event. Programmes for the exhibition were plentiful and were a must for anyone wanting to get around the event with any sort of organisation.
The other nice addition to this year’s event was the FiT Show TV. This was a new in-house live TV feed with a set of presenters roaming the halls visiting stands and interviewing the various staff members on the stands. Although those being interviewed might have been a little uncomfortable with that sort of attention, it made for good viewing.
Overall if I was to compare the organisation of the event to last year, it would put it on a par, as the first event was well organised too. The task here was to match that and that was achieved to a high standard.
Stands, Standing Out
I was looking forward to the stands this year. We were promised some great work, and I was not disappointed. There were some exhibitors that had clearly spent a lot of money and time honing their vision with the aim to make the biggest impact as possible, and that was certainly achieved.
These are just a few of the images of the stands I captured over the three days. You can see a lot more of them in the full image carousel at the bottom of this post.
Picking the best stand out of the 150+ exhibitors would be a hard task, but if I had to pick a few, I would put forward MACO, MASCO Distinction and Residence 9 as some of the memorable ones for me. Most of the stands were very well designed and thought out though so credit to everyone that worked hard on the designs and builds. I know they’re not always the easiest tasks to complete, but that hard work paid off this year, with the stands far better than last year.
The much publicised Gala Dinner was again a focal point for Wednesday evening, and indeed the cause of many a hangover on Thursday morning. But no hangover for me, as tickets weren’t sent my way for whatever reason. So I’m basing this part of the review on the feedback given to me by people I talked to during the event on Thursday.
From what I have been told, it sounds like the food wasn’t all that great. Complaints about food being cold, late and small in size were quite regular. The bar shutting at 12 surprised many too. However, Nina Conti as the entertainment for the evening went down a storm. Many were skeptical about a ventriloquism act for the evening event, but fears seemed to be allayed and everyone seemed to enjoy it. But I did get a sense that people were a bit underwhelmed.
On the plus side, Madi Fundraising, the new glazing industry charity, managed to raise nearly £10k on the night which is a fantastic result and shows that the fenestration industry in this sector is a generous on. You can see more about the charity by clicking this link: http://madifundraising.com/
This time round I was there for the full three days. Last time I was there only for the Wednesday so didn’t see the activity on the Tuesday or Thursady. So as we rocked up to the car park on Tuesday morning, I was a little underwhelmed to see so many empty spaces. At the time I put that down to us being there at 9:40am.
It was a brisk start on Tuesday, but it didn’t really get beyond being brisk. I was expecting more visitors than actually turned up on Tuesday. Not that the people there didn’t keep the exhibitors busy. I didn’t see many stands unoccupied throughout the day. But after speaking with a few that would give me an honest response, all said that compared to the previous year, it was obviously less busy. In fact, I was told that compared to the previous Tuesday in 2013, footfall was down by around 200. Which is a bigger number than it first looks when you bear in mind the numbers that went.
Wednesday was the far busier day of the three. Also the day of the Gala Dinner, this was the day when game faces were well and truly on. This was the day when the extra car parking was very much required. I think the number of visitors were still slightly down compared to the same day last year however.
Thursday, as expected, was the slowest day of the three. Hangovers from Wednesday’s Gala Dinner, coupled with minimal visitors and tired exhibiting staff meant that Thursday was a nice steady meander up until the 4pm close of then event.
Although numbers didn’t appear to surpass last year, we have to put this into some context. Interest in something like this is always going to be highest when it is newest. That is why the 2013 show will probably have had more visitors than this one. Also, after the first event and the understandably high interest, this time round potential visitors may have been more selective about day to turn up on, rather than stay for the whole three days. For some people coming to the event, they only wanted to see a number of stands that could be seen in one day rather than three. If you ask me, this one was always going to be a consolidation event. An event to build on the solid foundations that was set last year. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just this time round people were coming for a different reason.
Just like last year, this year’s event was extremely well marketed right from the build up last year up to the event. All the magazine ads, email updates, VIP Golden Tickets, planners, programmes etc all formed part of a strong and innovative marketing campaign that did a very good job of letting the entire industry know exactly what was about to go down in Telford.
Even at the show itself, the centre was decked out in FiT Show colours, FiT Show staff and branding which did our industry’s main exhibition in this country justice. The addition of a live TV feed with professional presenters was a nice touch which kept a lot of people on their toes, probably trying to escape the gaze of the cameras!
I can’t think of anything I could give in the way of criticism in terms of marketing. Just like last time round, I would expect them to win awards for their marketing prowess.
Thankfully, this part is going to be short lived. But the only gripe of the whole three days was the food. Being brutally honest, it was pants! It was way overpriced for what it was. Variety was average. But the taste and quality of what was on offer was very disappointing. A view shared by many according to the feedback survey girls on the way out of the event.
When you come to something like this, you rely on food to be the pick up to get you through the day. It really wasn’t. And for the amount of money we were being charged, it was far from value for money. £15 for a tiny wrap, two bottles of water and a medium sized main meal – something to address for next time I think.
Other than that, no other complaints.
Overall, A Great Event
To sum up, the past three days have been a great event for the industry. On a personal level it has been a very valuable few days in which I will go into more detail in further posts. But on an industry wide level, it has provided thousands of people with a great opportunity to network, look at new products to expand their portfolios, take a look at new innovations and new products hitting the market and to generally be part of an active and vibrant industry. And lets face it, that’s what an exhibition is about.
I want to say a big well done to Mr Godwin and Mr Glover for putting on another great show. A big well done to all those who put a real shift in exhibiting. A pat on the back to the designers of the stands and all those marketeers who could probably now go set up their own stand design companies! It all takes a lot of effort and that showed throughout the three days.
The next big test will be in 2016. Why is it a big test? Because it will be up against Fensterbau. The fight for attention will be strong!
Here is a wider selection of the images I took whilst at the show:
I don’t understand, even after speaking to a select few people who attended, how you can comment so in depth on the Gala Dinner when you weren’t even there!
Hi Titi To be fair, I did say at the beginning of that part that I was basing the analysis on what people had said to me. Also, the select few you mention was a bit more than a select few. As I didn’t go and because I wanted to find out as much about it as possible, I did ask every single person I met on Thursday what they thought of it. I think most importantly however, the amount of money raised that evening was a tremendous testament to the generosity of our industry. Anything to say about that?… Read more »
What on earth does that have to do with my comment? No problem at all with that being mentioned, just people who base opinions on hearsay with regards the rest of the evening and who weren’t even there have very little foundation IMO.
Fair enough Titi
Although I didn’t physically go, I was doing a review on the whole event, trying to cover as many aspects as possible. I think it would have seemed odd to miss out the gala dinner.
Seems most of the exhibitors were saying it was a complete waste of time from a business perspective, with numbers down on last year and the majority of “visitors” being people from within the supply side of things rather than the fabricators and installer customers that you want on the stands.
Hi Peter – As a trade fabricator exhibiting at the show it was far from a waste of time, and whilst visitor numbers were slightly down for us we achieved better results than last year. It was certainly a case of quality over quantity and that was exactly what we were looking for. 102 companies had re-booked for 2016 by the time I left on Thursday which would also back up the success of the show
As a company we normally have a day out to the show , but this year it was so far into the year we are choc full of work and appointments plus staff trying to take holidays , we just weren’t motivated enough to go .
We found the show very worthwhile with many more people asking questions on our stand about how to comply with the Consumer Rights Directive and also many more membership enquiries than last year’s show.