report by Trevor Connell
ASE exhibited at Sydney’s Event Showcase (nee RSVP) again this year and we were generally pleased with the results. SES2012 gave us the opportunity to promote this website and to network with visitors and exhibitors.
Some thumbs up and some thumbs down and a big suggestion.
The first bouquet goes to the exhibitors who excelled in their stand design. There are too many to mention them all but for sheer innovation and flair, mention must be made of Decorative Events and Exhibitions and Staging Rentals and Construction Services. OK, both companies are in the business of building stands for other people so you would expect them to be at the top of the game. But hey, excellent work.
The overall standard of stand design and presentation in both SES and ABEE is a credit to the exhibitors and the stand builders. This was matched by the effort put in by ETF to dress up the halls as well – especially in the SES hall. The entry was again stunning and the way the space above the stands was utilised was quite striking.
On the downside there were too many non-exhibitors trying to flog their product to those who paid to exhibit. The organisers can’t be everywhere so it does of course come back to the exhibitors to report these freeloaders.
Students are another issue – it is important for them to visit so they can see what is going on in the industry, but too many of them fill up their bags with expensively produced collateral.
Note to the organisers – please make the status of the person (exhibitor, event professional, buyer, student) more visible on the nametags. This is done at other exhibitions through colour coding on the nametags.
I was rather disappointed with last year’s Party After Dark because essentially it was nothing more than an industry piss-up, or just like any Friday night in that bar. I didn’t bother going this year because I expected the same again – and from reports I received, it was. It would seem that the days when PAD was THE industry EVENT (and I stress EVENT) to attend have now passed, so maybe it is now time to move on.
A number of visitors I spoke to were bemoaning the fact that they were only given an hour out of the office to attend. These visitors were mostly PAs and EAs, who are an important market for exhibitors.
So I would like to put forward a suggestion that the PAD be dumped in favour of keeping the show open until around 8 PM on the first day. Then this particular demographic could be targeted to attend after work. To entice them it could be sold as an invite only cocktail party. Stand holders could have the option to stay on or to shut their stand up and go elsewhere. And those who stay on should be encouraged to help create a party atmosphere with food and drinks and entertainment.
The hub area of each hall could also be utilised as a showcase for entertainment or other presentations.
And then to continue the tradition of an industry piss-up, exhibitors could adjourn to a nearby bar after the show closes.
SES/ABEE will be back at SCEC again next year but the following year the show will be in some other venue, the most obvious would be at Moore Park in the RHI and Hordern Pavilion with a huge tent structure linking the two halls (just like you might do for an event). Visitors from the CBD would need an hour just to get there and back, so staying open late at that venue would make a lot of sense. It would also make a lot of sense to get visitors used to the idea by implementing such an idea next year at SCEC.
But what do you think?
Please leave your comments below – especially if you are a visitor, we would love to know what would work for you.