What has the response from the industry been like since you made the 2021 announcement?
“I’m delighted to say that the response has been hugely positive, which fills me with the confidence that we have made the right decision. FIT Show is the UK’s flagship event for this industry – without the support of our exhibitors, we wouldn’t be in a position to deliver the first class show that our visitors expect from us.
“The fact that so many key brands have already thrown their weight behind FIT Show 2021 by reserving prime spaces on the floorplan is a further indication that FIT Show will be back, and stronger than ever, when we return to the NEC next May.
“I’m excited by the response that we have had. I sincerely hope that this momentum and support continues, not only for 2021, but for future FIT Show’s on the biennial frequency that our industry has asked for.”
What was the biggest factor that influenced your decision to revert FIT Show to biennial?
“There were many factors to take into consideration before deciding to revert FIT Show to an ‘every other year’ frequency.
“Yes, the political climate was a major, and very unpredictable factor, which impacted our decision. The market completely changed in the time that we announced FIT Show 2020, and the ongoing uncertainty certainly played a part in low confidence, and therefore low uptake from exhibiting companies.
“But the single, and most important influence, was the feedback from the industry. We’ve listened to and fully understand the impact of the show’s frequency on their businesses. We completely take on board the feedback that more time is required between shows to allow for new product development and that the resource required to deliver a first class exhibitor showcase every year is unfeasible for many companies.
“Ultimately, we want FIT Show to remain the successful event that we have all worked very hard to develop. And that meant listening to the wider community and responding to their needs for a biennial UK event which I hope they will continue to support for many years to come.”
What can people expect to see in the run up to the May 2021 event?
“With a little more breathing space before FIT Show 2021, myself and the team are taking time to get out on the road and meet our stakeholders. We’ll be attending key events in the industry calendar and getting in front of as many people as possible to find out first hand what we can do to improve FIT Show, ensure that we are giving them the best experience and that the format of the show meets people’s needs both now, and in the future.
“We’ve got time to test new channels and tactics to reach and engage with our visitor audience. We’re also looking at potentially untapped segments of the market and how we can enhance the show proposition to reach new and wider audiences.
“It’s a genuinely exciting time for the whole industry. With a more stable political and economic backdrop, I’m looking forward to seeing how various brands across the industry push on with new product development, and I am especially excited to see what everyone has planned for FIT Show 2021.”
Do you plan to make any big changes to the show features or format given that you now have extra time until FIT Show 2021?
“I’m cautious about making any drastic changes to the format of the event – especially given how protective our market is of FIT Show. We absolutely welcome feedback and suggestions from the wider FIT Show community, and as part of our roadshow in the run up to 2021, we’ll be asking for their thoughts on how we can improve and what changes they might like to see.
“There was a lack of support for the Gala Dinner in 2019 and I know from speaking with various people that they felt this format was a little tired and outdated. We are therefore switching up the format a little and introducing a new ‘networking night’ on the Wednesday of the show. We won’t be running with Late Night Tuesday either this will be amalgamated with the ‘networking night’ on the second day of the show.
“Features that have proved popular in the past, such as our CIPD Approved learning programme, new product trails, exclusive show discounts and offers, will all be back on the agenda for 2021.
“Most people already know, but we are moving over to Halls 2 & 3 in the NEC so access will be much better for exhibitors and visitors. We have also made some adjustments to the layout of key show features such as VisitGlass, our learning zone and the FIT Bar with the aim of enhancing the visitor experience.
“We’re working very closely with our key stakeholders, trade bodies, industry experts and training providers to ensure that FIT Show 2021 is the best one yet!”
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