Page 20 - Contractors World - UK & Ireland Edition Vol 2 No 7

Page 20
Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 7
For many years, the UK was well
served by the annual SED event
organized by Reed publications,
Con t r a c t o r J ou r na l and P l an t
Managers Journal, neither of which
has survived the recession. . . and
neither did the SED, as a well proven
formulae was changed ‘in the name
of progress’ or, as some believe, to
maximise commercial profit.
The fa i l ure o f SED and the
continued success of Hillhead raises
some interesting questions. Is there scope for a construction event and if so, what is the formulae that needs to be
applied if it is to be the success that Hillhead unquestionably is?
Two Dimensions
For any show to be a success there are two dimensions that it needs to safely manage. One is exhibitors expectations,
and the second is visitors anticipation.
Contractors World believes that focusing on visitor numbers is very important. Of great importance is delivering
visitor anticipation. Over hype it and visitors will feel let down. Down play it and visitors will not bother. From past
experience in many shows spanning over 30 years, I believe that visitors like to be unrestricted - free to roam, meet to
discuss business in an informal way.
To date, the Plantworx team has been focused on getting as many exhibitors as possible on board, with some success.
Attention needs to move to creating the right brand awareness and perception.
Although Plantworx has been very successful in attracting a high
number of exhibitors, large and small, that in itself is no guarantee
that there will be a second Plantworx. Exhibitors will only renew if
visitors in sufficiently high numbers and appropriate quality turn
up for the event.
Stoneleigh Park, the venue for Plantworx is a central location
so is relatively easy to get to, but location is not always important
anything has to be easier than a quarry in the heights of the
Derbyshire peak district, the location for Hillhead.
It is the management at the location that is key, and there
being sufficient interest to attract visitor numbers.
As an event, Hillhead could not be any easier or simpler. It
is what is says on the can ’a trade event for the quarry and
associated industries’. Apart from working demonstrations,
exhibitors are left up to their own devices (even to walking
some distance from the entrance to the quarry floor). No
special ‘zoned areas’ (always a problem for companies that are
multifaceted), no conferences or other distractions.
Entry is free, as is car parking. For those with the means,
helicopter access is also there. Traffic management and
marshalling works well, apart from the herding as people try to
get through a narrow entrance at the beginning of each day.
Early days - SED at Hatfield. What could be simpler? A simple
stand and a busy demonstration plot. Looks like chaos, but it was
organized chaos which the visitors appreciated.
Unfortunately this is no longer possible due to stringent Health &
Safety regulations.
SED at Whipsnade where the land contours
did not make the traditional straight lines
that make for easy stand location.