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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 7
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Can PLANTWORX Succeed Where Others Have Failed?

SED at Whipsnade where the land contours did not make the traditional straight lines that make for easy stand location.

SED at Whipsnade where the land contours did not make the traditional straight lines that make for easy stand location.

For many years, the UK was well served by the annual SED event organized by Reed publications, Contractor Journal and Plant 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 failure of 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.

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.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’.

Early days - SED at Hatfield. What could be simpler? A basic 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.

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.

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Page updated: September/October 2012



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