Letter To The Editor
We are huge fans of window industry trade shows. Windowmaker has exhibited approximately 200 times, and I have personally participated in over 150 of these. In the 80s and 90s, there was a lot of growth and innovation and the Internet was in its infancy.
Many exhibitions including Fensterbau and Glassex were annual events. Fensterbau alternated between Stuttgart in the odd years and Nuremberg in the even years. With the new millennium, many Fensterbau exhibitors pushed for a change to a biennial event in Nuremberg, staying away from the Stuttgart events. In 2003, the attendance at the Stuttgart event dropped from 45,000 to just 5,000. Subsequently, the event has only been in Nuremberg every 2 years. It has gone from strength to strength. Together with its Holz Handwerk partner exhibition, it claims to attract over 1,000 exhibitors and over 100,000 visitors! I consider it unmissable.
In the UK, we were one of the companies pushing for Glassex to change to biennial. It didn’t. It died.
If a trade show only happens every 2 years, then most potential exhibitors and visitors feel compelled to attend, as very few want to miss out for 4 years. More exhibitors attract more visitors; more visitors attract more exhibitors. It’s a virtuous circle.
It is in everyone’s interest for there to be a de-facto standard exhibition for a market. Sadly, this gives the organisers some scope to take advantage of a monopolistic situation. We can live with that to some extent, e.g. the inflated prices per sq.m for stand space. Some might even find value in dinner at over £200 per head. However, I believe that it is unsustainable for the industry to exhibit every year with all the assciated costs (stand, hotels and labour etc..) for the non-existent benefit of annual shows.
Let’s push for the FIT Show to be biennial in the odd years, rather than repeating the mistakes that Glassex made. See you at Fensterbau next March?
Goronwy Jones, MD