The award winning exhibition for the fenestration sector surprised and delighted in 2013, so what are its chances second time around?
In just a few weeks, we will have the second Fabricator, Installer and Trade (FIT) Show at Telford. It defied the cynics that laughed at the notion of an event in this sector succeeding in Telford. The cynics were proved wrong and the organisers – Paul Godwin and Matthew Glover – proved their case.
But how will the second show fare? The organisers have declared that after this year, FIT will become a biannual event. MyTradeTV Editor, Michael Gannon, asked Paul Godwin for his views.
Editor: The FIT Show last year surprised many people (if not you) by delivering what it said it would. What do you put this down to?
Godwin: I am not sure that there were that many sceptics. What we had from exhibitors from very early on was commitment – they expressed their belief by booking more than £500,000 worth of stands, even before the event was formally launched – and it continued until we sold every metre. Any doubts did not come from the exhibitors and in due course, none from visitors either. Having said that, our hearts were in our mouths until visitors began turning up; one can never really guarantee these things, no matter how well prepared. We were never over-confident but that is the way it worked out.
Editor: Will this year be a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or do you feel an exhibition shouldn’t stand still?
Godwin: We have followed a similar format; it was successful in most respects. We have, therefore, fine tuned, changed and improved things that could have been better of course. There is substantially more car parking, for example, for exhibitors and visitors, the FIT for Business seminars have been refined, visitor entrances and registration procedures tweaked. As we go forward, we will always review as a matter of course, make it more fun and provide a better return for exhibitors and visitors. For 2014, I hope that the people that could not attend last year will now have got the buzz from those that did. We are pulling all the stops out to make sure everyone knows about The FIT Show this year. There will be a gap of almost two years until the next FIT Show in 2016 and of course, we will review everything after this year’s event, and make changes where necessary to make sure it’s fresh.
Editor: As you have just said, you have decided that FIT will be two-yearly. Is this a case that you don’t want to be seen as greedy like the organiser was with Glassex and Interbuild, or a realistic assessment that a UK show for this industry isn’t viable as an annual event?
Godwin: It is nothing to do with anything other than what the industry has told us. Exhibitors were quite clear overall that they wanted biennial, although visitor research was slightly in favour of annual. We have put shows back to back for 2013/14 by demand also, with demand to do so coming from companies that wanted to exhibit last year but were unable to make it, for one reason or another. Of course, many others wanted to come back again after having such a great show last year. But thereafter, biennial is the right idea.
Editor: I gather you’re launching a more general building show? If so, what are going to be the main reasons and objectives and where will it be?
Godwin: Yes we are. We are launching The Build Show which will take place at the NEC on 28-30 of April 2015. We have contracted Halls 3, 3a and 4 and are presently pre-selling, checking the pulse of the big brands in the building and construction sector and are receiving not only a positive reception, but contracts too. The building and construction industries were devastated by the recession but now demand is growing rapidly, the market is very positive. We hope that The Build Show, just like The FIT Show, will be the ‘right thing at the right time’. It looks that way.
No matter what the fortunes of these three shows this year, one thing is certain. Those Cassandras who talked about the death of exhibitions in the internet age, have got it wrong. People still see events like these as the most direct and human way of keeping in touch with the market they serve. There is no substitute for bumping into people you haven’t seen for a while and finding out there still are aspects and interests to share; let alone meeting new faces and concepts.
FIT Show: 10-12 June, Telford International Centre (www.fitshow.co.uk)