It’s still only the first couple of weeks into the New Year, but the industry is already starting to look to the middle of the year, specifically May 23rd to May 25th, as the FIT Show gets underway at it’s new home at the NEC in Birmingham. An extra exhibition that surprised many, there will be high expectations, and with it pressure, to make this a show worth visiting that really should be seeing footfall reach five figures for the first time in it’s history.
As always, I will be in attendance during the three days, giving it the usual DGB treatment. So as such, these are five things that I would like to see from the exhibition. I’m taking three days off from my day job, make it worth my while guys!
It will have been just over a year since the last FIT Show in 2016. This isn’t the longest period of time in which to research, develop, test and launch new products. But, I, as well as many thousands of visitors, will be wanting to see something new from many of the exhibiting companies.
This puts pressure on exhibitors. But, if people start turning up and saying “well I saw that last year, what’s new?” then we’re going to have some issue. I seriously hope that companies are going to showcase plenty of new and exciting things to get my teeth stuck in to.
Personally, I would like to see further developments on the residential aluminium front. It’s one of my five areas to watch this year and I would like to see some aluminium window products that have the ability to really put the squeeze on the PVCu market. You know, just to keep them on their toes.
This might sound like an odd one, but think about it. It’s in a brand new, much bigger home in the NEC. The halls are bigger, there are more of them. More exhibitors. More visitors (hopefully) too. Even in Telford you could see people wandering the halls looking up to make sure that they were going in the right direction.
When people start to arrive, it will be helpful to them to be able to feel comfortable in their surroundings and have enough information and help to let them whizz round the halls in the order they want to. Remember, an informed visitor is a happy visitor!
I want to see food, and lots of it! And make it affordable too. I want to be able to have change from a fiver if I want a coffee and biscuit in the morning. I’ll be honest, I was never overly impressed with the food that was on offer at Telford. It was either sparse, expensive or a bit limited. When I’m on my feet all day, food and drink is my fuel, as it is wit everyone. And with the FIT Show targeting over 10,000 visitors over three days, there is going to have to be plenty of good, affordable choice around the halls.
As a side note, if you’re an exhibitor there, food always goes down well on the stands too ;-)
Stunning stand designs
The question remains whether exhibitors who attended in 2016 will use the same stands or if they will fork out more cash for a new stand design. For me, a new venue deserves new stand designs. Stands befitting of a venue of the stature of the NEC. Remember, bigger halls, more space, more stands, more people. It’s going to take a corker of a stand for people to look from their planners and take note.
During the 2017 show I’ll be keeping an eye out for what I think is the best stand design. I’ll pick my own personal best and give that company a shout out. the FIT Show have their own awards for that kind of thing of course. If it was me, the Central Perk replica from comedy series Friends would have got the nod for design of the show. A stunningly accurate representation of the real thing we all watch on TV. It had a great and relaxed atmosphere, which instead of ramming product info down people’s throats, allowed weary visitors and exhibitors a place to put their feet up and have a tea or coffee. Loved it.
No promo girls!
The last thing I want to see is in fact something I don’t want to see. The use of promo girls on stands. I was hoping that companies wouldn’t be using them last year but I was proved otherwise. I don’t want to deny models work of course, but when we’re trying to promote more women to come into the glazing sector and the wider construction industry, the use of promo girls on stands only serves to detract from our positive message about working in fenestration.
Attitudes are changing I believe. Slowly, but they are on the move. We don’t need to be resorting to women scantily clad to try and raise interest in our companies and products. We should be able to do that already. We need more women in our industry doing all sorts of jobs in all positions of the supply chain.
So, please, no more promo girls. Remember it’s 2017 and think of some more innovative ways to get people on to stands.
Away from these five main points, I’d like to see good phone and WiFi signal there. Visitors, even myself, still need to get some work done. Phone and WiFi signals are very important.
I want to see the car parking facilities at a good level too. I personally will be taking the train in. No chance I fancy driving in to the centre of Birmingham on a morning. Plenty will be driving in though. There needs to be plenty of space available to make sure visitors aren’t parking away from the NEC. You don’t want hundreds of soaking wet visitors if they have to park away from the centre and the British weather is doing it’s best.
As we get closer to the end of May and the show, I’ll focus a bit more on it. But for now, as a starter to the main course, if most of these boxes above are ticked, I’ll be a happy visitor to what should be by far the biggest FIT Show yet.
I’ll be covering all three days of the FIT Show on DGB, including a live text page, regular live video sessions on Twitter and of course daily reviews of the show.
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