Exhibition News March 2019 - Page 39

Feature exhibition in the UK from happening. We couldn’t quite get to that scenario where planes are dropping out the sky. RH: “Our biggest fear is if there are too many problems for some of our events that have a large number of international exhibitors, and that drops off too significantly. You have a certain size that an event has to maintain to be viable and be seen by the industry, and if you take too much of a hit, even if it’s just once, could that put the longevity of that event at risk? “Those are the things we wonder about and talk about. Hopefully people realise the impact of Brexit and accept that there will be some shuffling in the short term.” AH: “When it comes down to perception and confidence you’re coming down to the human nature side of things rather than a business reason.” NM: “Are there any of your members that just aren’t doing anything?” AH: “Yes. It comes down to the fact that they just haven’t got the resources. A lot of our members have two bad quarters and they’re in trouble, and a lot of our members are owner-managers. There are many who have said ‘ok, we’ll wake up on 1 April and see what the world looks like’.” Mark Bristoll, sales director at CEVA Showfreight “The uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the potential impact on the industry provided an ideal backdrop for EN’s latest roundtable discussion. As logistics and particularly the movement of freight across borders is a such a hot topic, it was important for CEVA Showfreight to join the debate.” PB: “I think there will be a lot of trial and error from everybody. From the exhibitor point of view, the first 12-month show cycle the stands will be smaller, they’ll start purchasing products abroad rather than from the UK, they’ll have to start changing their ways just to get a feel for how things are going to go.” DM: “Is anyone holding off on a big investment or decision?” RH: “Day-to-day it hasn’t stopped anything; we’re launching new shows in Europe and in the UK. Business will go on.” AH: “I personally think that the social impact is far greater. I’ve sat down and read documents on WTO and thought ‘we can make this work’. I’m not happy, but we can make this work. The social impact of this, howeverm will go on for a generation.” Driving innovation DM: “I would say it’s had a positive effect on our business; we’ve been trying to make something good out of this shambles. We’re a one-trick pony on the events side; we have the Completely Retail Marketplace and the retail industry is struggling, so we’ve said to our events team, ‘come up with new ideas’, and we’ve launched a consumer wedding show. It’s made us less complacent. It’s actually quite exciting.” RH: “I think that’s what I find when I look. Whether it be Brexit, global trade issues, a tendency of a lot of big brands to do their own events. There have been a lot of changes that force adaptation and evolution and in a simplistic way this is just another. It’s going to be a bit more painful than maybe it needed to be but it’s just another blip.” AH: “Opportunity will present itself. In the last recession we went through as an industry we looked at becoming niche- focused: focused on the visitor and focused on how consumers thought. It’s easy to talk about a slippery slope, but opportunity will present itself and it’s about turning people onto a different way of thinking.” MB: “What we’ve got to try and do is flip that switch and compete. We’ve got make sure that the choice is with exhibitions and the choice is with our organisations.” EN March — 39