Since the demise of Glassex alongside the Building Exhibition BEST in 2011 the Glass and Glazing Industry has been without its own Exhibition. Some would say with the current depth and extent of the construction recession, it’s not a time to be starting a new Trade Show. But just over a year ago two experienced industry visionaries had different ideas and the FIT Show was launched.
From the start The FIT Show message from Matthew Glover and Paul Godwin was strong and won over many doubters in the Industry. Now on the cusp of what is lining up to be an extremely successful show, Lennart Jonsson of Senior’s interviews Paul Godwin about what we can expect:
“So why should a company such as Senior Architectural Systems
be exhibiting at The FIT Show?”
“It depends upon what Senior’s or other exhibitor’s have to sell of course and who they want to reach. The FIT Show is the first national event ever organised for the Window, Door and Conservatory Industry, and is specifically targeted at the Home Improvement Market, in both the private and public sectors. Our target audience is therefore very clear: the people who fabricate and install these products and anyone that specifies them. If that is your target audience then The FIT Show is where you should be to engage your customers.”
"Senior's are delighted to be exhibiting our wide range of systems, including the launch of several new home improvement products, all of which are available fabricated, such as our new Hybrid Sliding Folding Door.
What products do you think are going to be most popular at the show?"
“I am delighted that Senior’s have decided to attend and that there is a strong Aluminium presence at The FIT Show generally. Aluminium and Aluminium Timber composites, have gained a great deal of importance in the Home Improvement Sectors in recent years and certainly with the popularity of Bi-Folding doors. It’s good to see the Sector roll its sleeves up and get involved at an event designed for fabricators and installers, most of whom will be very interested indeed in Bi-Folds, Hybrid Systems and others they have never had the opportunity previously to see at a Trade Show. I believe the presence of Senior’s and such products at The FIT Show will be a real pull for visitors.”
"What's your expectation of the show?"
“When we conceived and launched The FIT Show Matthew and I brought with us two separate approaches. Matthew still heads up the Conservatory Outlet, which is widely regarded as one of the most successful Trade Fabricators in the UK and which has led the way in recent years for its incredibly successful online and conventional dealer network marketing. He is very savvy about the power of Digital Marketing and also simply ‘thinks big’. He is unencumbered by the sort of constraints by which conventional exhibition organisers operate, so everything is larger than life, and
done on a grand scale when compared to the exhibition industry.
“I have many years behind me in the Exhibition Market as a Press Officer and Consultant to various events over the years, including Glassex. Mostly it was a frustrating exercise as I watched people play politics with each other rather than looking at what an industry – or more importantly the people in it – needed. I see Trade Shows simply as being modern versions of markets where people gather just as they have for thousands of years to trade, to meet, to be entertained and to learn and exchange ideas.
“Matthew’s boldness together with my vision for how shows should be run meshed and the result is what you see in The FIT Show. At the risk of being pretentious I call it ‘Business as Entertainment’.”
"Could you indicate what numbers you expect at the show, and how many pre-registrations you currently have?"
I can’t I’m afraid. Any precedents that existed are irrelevant now. The Glass and Glazing Industry has changed beyond all recognition, the market place has shifted and so have the people within it. What I can say is that we are employing the very best people and techniques to exploit the market, to reach everyone likely to buy or specify products and services relating to Windows, Doors and Conservatories. We are spending in excess of the £500,000 that we said we would spend on Marketing and I believe that the power of that is sweeping the industry along in its path.
“Our goal is to reach everyone involved with the Manufacture and Installation of Windows, Doors and Conservatories and to convince them that a few hours at The FIT Show will be the most profitable they will spend all year.
“We began the Visitor Campaign in January with more than 1000 pre-registered visitors, some of whom appear in our latest advertising campaign when fabricators and installers tell readers why ‘I’m going’. By the time this appears in print I expect to be way beyond that figure. Our goal is 7,500 visitors registered in advance and the trick then is get most of them to actually attend – our offer of free parking, free Wi-Fi and free coffee and Danish when they arrive before 10.30 will hopefully help to keep them faithful. And then we will build upon that with visitors who turn up on the day.”
"Major national shows in the past at other venues have been difficult to get to by car, how will Telford cope with the logistics?"
The International Centre at Telford is served by an excellent road network that was developed in and for the age of the motorcar. It is served by motorways and dual carriageways almost to the front door and is very convenient for the 95%+ that our research indicates will want to come by road. There is plenty of free parking right outside the door of the event and the most anyone will have to walk will be a few hundred metres. Compared to the NEC, anyone travelling from the north west will be up to 45 minutes closer and conversely for anyone driving from the south, but without the trek from the car parks to the halls.
"What are your proposals regarding digital communications?"
“We have free Wi-Fi in the halls and the 3G signal is very good also for most users so everyone can keep in touch with base; no one will be cut off from their business whilst they spend a few hours looking at the very latest Products, Machinery and Systems available in the market place today. For anyone taking their laptops or tablet computers they can sit quietly in one of the FIT Bar-Cafes and catch up with their emails or even confirm any orders they may have placed at the show!”
"Who can we expect to be visiting the show, do you have any breakdown in percentage terms as to the professions of visitors?"
We are focusing clearly on UK fabricators, Installers and Specifiers of Windows, Doors and Conservatories. Using accepted industry figures we believe that around 60% of our audience may be Installers, 35% Fabricators and the balance between non exhibiting Suppliers and Specifiers, including from the Public Sector. We need to appeal to the smaller operators of course as that is where the volume of visitors will come from. We have to convince them to take a day off site, that their visit will put money in their pockets one way or another.
"And for the future, what can we expect, as you seem to have outgrown Telford already?"
“A good point. Yes we have had to extend the floorplan three times over the original plans. But the International Centre is one of the very best venues in the country and there is still some additional space that we could utilise. There is a great deal to be said for sticking with a winning formula.
“Of course so much depends upon the success of this year’s event so let’s make this one a huge success first.”
Located on stand 3.320, Senior’s will be displaying a full range of Hybrid Systems and finishes. Staff will be on hand to explain the systems available and introduce the fabricated option. Advanced orders on the Senior’s stand for fabricated order’s will attract a 10% discount.