Media Fortune Fame & Folly

“UK trade show recovery”

Phillip Soar, chair of two UK-based trade show companies – CloserStill and Nineteen Events – wrote in Flashes & Flames in July to counter much of the negative comment about the resilience of exhibitions. Specifically, he faulted the comparison of trade shows with other types of media and marketing:

“… what happens at Trade Shows is totally visible to everyone: you can see the hall, how many people are in the hall, and what they are doing. You can talk to the exhibitors. With other media, you really don’t know how many eye balls see what you spend (apart from Google etc – which isn’t to be discounted, but then nor are bots which, on occasion, can represent the majority of hits).”

This week, Soar told us about five shows operated by his companies at the three largest English venues during September:

  • Total revenue across the 5 shows increased 14% compared with the last events in 2019. (The spread is +30% to -2%). Total revenue of the 5 shows was £10.5M.
  • Visitor numbers varied from +50% to -25%. The median attendance was -3%.

Soar commented: “The most material indicator is re-sign percentage (in other words, what percentage of the revenue at the 2021 event has been re-signed for the 2022 event). Across the five shows, this averages 109%. These five shows do not represent the whole industry but they seem to me far more representative than the ‘statistics’ you produced in Flashes & Flames.