An independent audit has confirmed that the combined attendance over the two day exhibition reached an impressive 8,909 – the highest ever since SALTEX moved to the NEC, Birmingham.
After two successful days, the 72nd SALTEX exhibition came to a close on 2 November and by all accounts it was a resounding success. Over the past two years the exhibition has recorded an encouraging and consistent flux of visitors on each occasion, but this year a boom of visits seemed to be apparent.
The show’s debut year at the NEC in 2015 saw 8,714 attendees, 2016 recorded 8,754 and this year saw a record 8,909 – which didn’t go unnoticed by exhibitors.
“An excellent show in 2017,” said Jeremy Hoyle, director at Earlsmere. “Enquiries on the stand were up 15% on last year, and we gained a number of significant leads with sports turf professionals, schools and colleges featuring heavily within our stand attendee list.”
Nathan George, contracts manager for MJ Abbott, said: “Having the opportunity to speak to potential new customers – as well as current customers – is invaluable when continuing growth into a new market, and that is why such an emphasis is placed on attending shows, with the large number of attendees and decision makers a particular highlight for the company at this year’s SALTEX.”
“We were really impressed with the amount of customers visiting our stand this year! SALTEX TV was excellent too, perfect for promoting a new product,” said Holly Jones, marketing manager for Reesink Turfcare.
After a 16 year absence from SALTEX, LWS Irrigation returned this year and director Simon Edginton, confirmed that it was the correct decision. “We were delighted with the huge amount of leads we received from a wide sector of the industry including football, golf, cricket and bowls facilities. The large number of visitors created a great atmosphere and we were also able to catch up with many existing customers and industry colleagues to share news and developments. Needless to say we certainly won’t be waiting so long to exhibit again.”
Price Turfcare, a newly established business founded by Ransomes Jacobsen’s former sales director, Rupert Price, was another exhibitor that achieved all of its objectives. “As a start-up business which has only been in existence since the beginning of the year, our first visit to SALTEX has been a very positive experience. One of our aims at SALTEX was to look for new dealer partners and this worked well for us. I can safely say that SALTEX ticked all the boxes,” said Rupert.
With more than 300 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, SALTEX visitors were treated to an impressive line-up of world-class innovation.
“I’m like a kid in a toy shop,” said Stuart Kerrison, Essex CCC head groundsman. “There are so many fantastic products and it’s nice to be able to see them and have a good close-up look before you make any purchases.”
“We are always looking for new ways to do things, looking for new products and new machines that may be able to help us and SALTEX gives us this opportunity,” said Hannah Richards, gardener for the National Trust.
Chris Wood, pitches consultant at England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), suggested that SALTEX is a place where some of the greatest industry ideas are born. “The value of a show like this is being able to talk to colleagues from other codes of sport and share ideas. Not only that, it is a place to challenge exhibitors about new technology and that is how new innovation comes about.”
He continued; “I’ve been in this business for 50 years and the opportunities for young groundsmen now, compared to when I first started, are profound.”
Indeed, there were plenty of opportunities at SALTEX 2017. Learning LIVE, SALTEX’s all-encompassing education programme, featured over 100 high-profile speakers and 26 hours of free seminars; Pathology and Soil Science LIVE enabled visitors to solve any problematic soil profiles; career advice was on hand through the all-new Job Clinic and turf management advice from IOG regional pitch advisors was readily available through Ask the Expert.
SALTEX 2018 will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 31 October and 1 November.