One of the biggest tests for the FIT Show this year is to massively increase the visitor numbers in comparison to 2016. It may have came as a surprise to a few to see another show soon after the last one. But as the exhibition will tell you, they outgrew their Telford home, choosing to move to the NEC in Birmingham to help spread it’s wings.

The test of it’s longevity then will be in it’s ability to get people through the door again. And the early signs look positive:

A doubling in early registrations is a good early sign that the industry plans to be there at the event, be it as an exhibitor or a visitor. I have said before than anything under 10k in footfall will be classed as coming up short. So early rising numbers like this should give some confidence to the organisers. It’s not in the bag though.

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Registrations will need to surpass 10k

Just because people register doesn’t always mean they will turn up. In fact you can probably knock around 30% off the number of registrations to give you an idea of how many will actually come. It’s the way with these sorts of things.

So, registrations will need to be at least 13,000 in order to hit the 10,000 visitors mark. Perhaps more. When you think about it in these term, the task looks rather big. Organisers will need to be absolutely on the money from now right up until opening day to make sure it gets the commitment from the industry to make it to these figures.

Exhibitors will also need to give people a good enough excuse to leave their busy offices. It will be one year since the last FIT Show, so how many “new” things to look at during this one will remain to be seen. My guess is it won’t be a show dedicated to new products, rather one where fabricators will show installers how their ranges and support can help them win new business during the course of 2017 and beyond.

And aluminium is going to get some big representation this year. Far more than at any other previous shows. This is testament to the recovery in aluminuim, and is crucial to ensure the FIT Show continues to grow into an exhibition that all parts of the industry sees as worthwhile.

Long term however, I believe the FIT Show needs to focus on the relationship between sysco and fabricator, and fabricator and installer. We’re all getting busier these days, so to take time out of our schedules, the reason needs to be worth it. That reason should be the promise of more business. It’s fine releasing a raft of new products every show, but fabricators need to then work with installers to market their new offerings to home owners successfully. This for me should be the long term focus of the exhibition.

As you would expect, I’ll be there for the full three days giving it the DGB treatment. Might avoid the booze this time round though. There will be more to see throughout the day and to be quite honest the boozy part of our industry is losing it’s appeal the more I work in it. I just need to find a hotel and train tickets. No chance I’m driving around the centre of Birmingham!

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