BY David Hyde:
I am obviously aware of Madison’s decision to put their main activity into a house show in 2002. We are still discussing a smaller but relevant involvement with Cycle and Leisure and I hope that we will be able to confirm their intentions shortly.
As most people know, Cycle and Leisure was launched to quash the years of indecision over timing and venue. Regardless of the individual needs of some companies, the vast majority of both exhibitors and visitors still require a major trade exhibition prior to the main consumer season.
Most people would agree that the 2000 show was the best trade event this industry has ever seen. I agree that this year’s show lacked some of the vibrancy, but it took place against a background of bad weather, the foot and mouth epidemic and the launch of a second and I believe unnecessary exhibition. Even so, the event attracted well over 1200 outlets, nearly 3 times that of the Harrogate event and way more than any house event could ever hope to approach.
While I have considerable respect for Terry Bowles and the Madison team, I think his comments regarding stand design and presentation are unfair to the many suppliers who work very hard to promote their products within severe budget restraints. NEC management and staff, who see a vast number of different exhibitions built throughout the year, have genuine admiration for the look and feel of Cycle and Leisure. Good presentation is of course vital, but in the end, visitors come to see exciting products, not expensive stands.
I trust Madison have a successful event with their house show. All industries use this method to attract a targeted audience to view the new season’s range, but too many house events will make the retailer question the validity of so much time away from the till.
I feel sure that the majority of this industry has had enough of the constant fragmentation and wrangling regarding exhibitions. I, along with Madison and the ACT want to see a united industry, and will continue working to achieve that aim for 2002 and the future.