The aim is to understand even better the needs of exhibitors, visitors and their representative bodies, in order to find the most cost-effective route to market for all. Senior representatives from Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA), British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), and Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) met under the impartial chairmanship of David Gwyther of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).
They continued to review the strengths and weaknesses of existing trade shows, including topline data from both the latest Saltex and BTME shows. They also considered in principle the respective visitor and exhibitor profiles and views, and the current show target sectors. It was agreed that some additional market research was needed to more fully clarify the needs of stakeholders for the future, and to facilitate a development programme for trade shows.
This programme will represent a properly planned route map identifying the right solution to meet the needs of all industry stakeholder groups. The plan will be published later this year to enable solid preparation to be undertaken to implement the programme over subsequent years.
Andrew Mellon, BIGGA Chairman, commented: “As a member organisation we need to ensure that our resources are directed at delivering benefits to our members. We are undertaking a thorough strategic planning process and we will ensure we re-align our resources to that end once complete. We do need to ensure that our decision making processes are fully informed by reliable information, but have a sense of urgency and can assure all stakeholders that it is at the top of our agenda.
“We took the opportunity at BTME 2011 to consult with our trade customers, and received excellent feedback. BTME 2012, which will take place in Harrogate in January has already attracted huge support and we will continue to engage with the trade to ensure we adapt to their needs.”
Geoff Webb, Chief Executive of IOG, said: “IOG has listened to others` views on the subject of trade shows and understands the need to adapt and evolve. The discussions we have held with other stakeholders have been constructive and positive. Whilst both confident in, and proud of, the track record of Saltex (despite the economic downturn) we believe the time is right to engage constructively in this review process under the direction of the independent Chairman David Gwyther.
“In the meantime we are planning for this year`s show – with as ever some exciting innovations – whilst continuing the dialogue with other representative bodies to look at possible future formats.”
David Gwyther said: “It was another very constructive meeting on a challenging subject, but one which needs to be properly and professionally sorted in the interests of all involved in the sports turf industry. I am pleased that each organisation confirmed its desire to work together on this very important issue.
“Participants are all strongly committed to finding the right way to deliver the most effective show programme for their members and their customers. The Group has the professional knowledge and the right development processes to achieve a successful outcome, but will ensure it tests the water with everyone necessary on the way through.”