When the organisers of the FIT Show say that everyone is going, they appear to have a point. After a great first year and a solid second, the pressure was always going to be on to deliver a third exhibition that surpassed the achievements of the first two. The registrations so far appear to show that the third show will indeed be the biggest.

Visitor registrations way up

I managed to snatch a brief chat with the FIT Show organisers early Wednesday morning and they gave me an update on the number of people who have already registered, as well as comparison figures on the previous two shows. Here’s how they stack up:

2013: 3461

2014: 2360

2016: 5253

These are figures from opening of registration to now, not the complete lists for each year. Which means that the final figures for this year’s exhibition could dwarf previous shows.

The 2016 figure so far represents a massive 122.5% rise in registrations compared to 2014, and a 52% rise on 2013. Either way, this a a fantastic rate of growth.

They also told me that as of now, there are 200 new registrations per day. So, if we apply that figure to the remaining days until opening, that means the total number of registrations could top 10,000. If it did, this would be a significant achievement and would demonstrate to the whole UK window and door industry that this is a show to really fly the flag for the sector.

It would also provide a perfect springboard for the show as it prepares to move into it’s bigger new home, the NEC in Birmingham, for future exhibitions.

Why the steep rise?

Well, it’s been two years since the last show. That’s two years since of research, two years of development and two years of product announcements. There are a lot of companies that have a lot of new things to show to a lot of new potential customers. It means they have to get people through the door though.

And, from the perspective of installers, a show like this presents a unique opportunity to get the widest perspective possible on what is out there in the market place. It’s a rapidly changing one, with new potential streams of revenue appearing on a monthly basis.

With an almost over the top amount of choice and range available, installers are at risk of drowning from options. If there is too much choice, it is easy to get lost in the mire of information, which can cause installers to lose direction of their own business.

An exhibition of this size however would allow installers to take a wide angled view of the whole sector, see what is on offer and then cherry pick the very best products that suit their business and business models.

Logistical considerations

If visitor numbers really do top 10k, then the facilities are going to be tested at Telford. The previous two years have seen the car parks, hotels and wi-fi well used and well tested. But numbers could be seriously higher this time, and the staff at the show and Telford will need to be on their game to make sure everyone has the smoothest experience possible.

Still, all the more reason to move out of a starter home and into a bigger second home, in this case the NEC. The Birmingham based arena is much bigger, and the team at the FIT Show will have wanted to see a rise in registrations like this to validate their decision to move to a different location.

My advice to anyone going in April is to get there early. If you’re already saying that, then get there an hour earlier than you planned to. Traffic will be busy. The car parks do have limits and you don’t want to be walking to the venue from a car parking space miles away.

Failing that, do what they do at an Apple product launch and get there the night before and pitch up in a tent outside the door!

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