EVENT ROUNDUP: THE FLOORING SHOW
This year’s Flooring Show, it’s 56th edition and the first run by its new owners Ocean Media Group, has been declared a success by leading exhibitors.
“Harrogate this year has been an excellent exhibition for Ball & Young,” said Ann Shaw, sales and marketing director at Ball & Young Ltd, which has already confirmed its space for 2019.
Neil Valentine, commercial director at Furlong Flooring agreed, saying, “We had some excellent meetings at the Flooring Show this year and at times had visitors queuing to get onto the stand, despite having more manpower than last year. It was one of our busiest Harrogate shows to date, resulting in great sales and quality leads for the team to follow up in the coming weeks. A great way to start the autumn sales period…”
“This year’s show seemed to be a little more diverse and interesting,” said Richard Moore, executive director of the Associated Carpet Group (ACG). “It had a more independent feel and we saw a good quality of visitors.”
Managing director, Phil Hartley at Victoria Carpets agreed, “The quality was definitely there, and it has been a productive show with a good return on our investment.”
The three-day show, which covers Sunday, Monday and Tuesday opening, attracted a good mix of specialist flooring retailers and contractors, fitters and more general buyers and retailers from department stores and builder’s merchants.
“Exhibitor comments about quality buyers and doing significantly more business, is backed up by our data, which shows that 80% of our visitors this year were owners, managing directors and directors – up from 60% in comparison with 2017, and 86% of our visitors having purchasing responsibility, up from 68% last year,” says event manager Kane Thomas.
“Our new hosted buyer programme, targeting our exhibitor’s top customers and our VIP buyers definitely helped ensure the right people to make the buying decisions visited the show. We’ll be discussing ways to refine and improve this next year, with help from our key exhibitors,” he confirmed.
The show also welcomed visitors from some new countries this year including Russia, Sweden, Iraq, Japan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Guernsey and Ghana. Overall 10% of the show’s visitors are from abroad, with 40% from the Midlands and South and 50% from Yorkshire and the North.
The total number of show visitors came in at 3009 (3096 in 2017), including 5% more visitors travelling from the South. Nearly 40% of this year’s visitors ONLY attend The Flooring Show.
The FITA Demo Zones and NICF Carpet Fitter of the Year competition were once again an integral part of the show, with John Wright from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire picking up the Winner’s trophy this year after being a finalist in 2017.
New initiatives for the show this year included a Hosted Buyer Programme, which ensured VIP buyers were offered free hotel stays and assistance with travel, free 30-minute Trend Briefings by trend forecaster Scarlet Opus which were well attended, a revamped Live Talks programme which included plenty of ideas and information for independent retailers, some serious US market data and great advice for both suppliers and retailers wanting to understand how to get the most out of technology and the internet.
In addition, a new ‘Flooring Forum’ discussion panel hosted by trade press editor Sarah Robinson from Tomorrow’s Contract Floors ran on Monday featuring Craig James, national sales manager at Egger, Steve Bakker, global marketing director of The WoolSafe Organisation, Myles Shaw, managing director of carpetrunners.com/Grimsby Carpet Warehouse and Richard Catt, president of the Contract Flooring Association.
The issues covered by the panel included how to build better and closer relationships with end users beyond a simple price offer; the general shortage of labour coming into the flooring market and how to attract younger people to the industry; the unregulated fitter market and the importance of promoting reputable, trained installers and for MD Myles Shaw how a 30% growth in business online and a burgeoning commercial portfolio had revealed the need to keep staff motivated and willing to grow with the business.
The show also saw two sets of Awards being presented – the brand new ‘Flooring Innovation Awards’ introduced by leading flooring industry trade publication The Stocklists, and the Wool Carpet & Rug Awards, now in their 3rd year, run by the Campaign for Wool in association with British Wool. Both sets of Awards had worthy winners in attendance at the show, with trophies being proudly displayed on stands across the halls. (For the full results in each case, please click on the links provided above.)
Planning for the 2019 show is already underway – with an Advisory Board meeting in the diary for the end of October, to be held in Manchester.
Event manager Kane Thomas commented, “Our priority is to work with exhibitors to ensure that bona fide buyers from across the flooring industry are invited to attend the show, and that we have interesting and relevant content for them to see, learn from and share in when they are with us – so the more we know about exhibitor’s plans and aspirations for their businesses, the better we can target our marketing efforts for the show.”
The 2019 Flooring Show will run from 15-17 September at the Harrogate Convention Centre.