LOFA’s marketing manager Gina Hinde, organised her first SOLEX exhibition, and said she has been extremely pleased with the response from exhibitors and visitors to the 2019 show.
Here Gina reveals what it has been like to organise her first SOLEX.
How did you find your first SOLEX show as organiser?
It was great, I had a great time meeting everyone and getting my bearings, but it was also a huge learning curve and I learned a lot. Now I have the first one under my belt it gives me more of an idea of how I can improve on future shows.
Were you happy with how the three-day exhibition went?
I was very happy, everyone was really kind and positive about the event and despite one or two hiccups it all went smoothly.
Did you get lots of positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors?
I did get some very positive and constructive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors which I will now act upon to make SOLEX 2020 bigger and better.
Were you happy with the quality and numbers of visitors attending the show?
I was very happy with the quality of visitors and the visitor numbers – they were slightly up on last year so that made me smile.
It was visited by department stores, garden centres, independent stores and online only retailers. These included the likes of Dunelm, John Lewis, The Range, Next, Debenhams, Robert Dyas and Amazon to mention just a few!
Can you say what plans you have for the 2020 exhibition?
Just now I’m hoping we can arrange for live barbecue demonstrations outside for one thing. I also want to focus on raising the profile of SOLEX further through social media and other marketing and PR initiatives.
It is already the outdoor leisure industry’s leading exhibition- it’s the essential garden trade event of the year but I want to continue to expand it further for the mutual benefit of the industry retailers and the LOFA members.
How would you summarise the benefits of SOLEX to exhibitors?
Apart from the footfall volume and its high profile quality – these hand – picked visitors are really looking to buy and it is much cheaper per square metre than any other event within this genre – it really is excellent value for money.
SOLEX offers free marketing, and for the princely sum of ZERO you get a full web profile, entry into the SOLEX show guide, Customer Invitations, the opportunity to share news in the GTN SOLEX Sun as well as on the SOLEX Exhibition website, entry into the New Product Awards of which the winner will get a £1000 marketing support and free PR & Social Media promotion.
You get Free Porterage and Forklifts – staff to help you unload and load your vehicles before and after the event as well as free parking for visitors and exhibitors throughout the event plus 2 VIP Parking tickets per exhibitor which facilitates parking right outside Hall 5 for the duration of the show.
What are the dates of next year’s show?
Next year’s show is from 7-9th July.
What the visitors of the 2019 Solex exhibition had to say in the anonymous feedback survey….
Timing is right – calendar year. In high season and having just sold last year’s purchases since March in right frame mind to purchase again for next year.
A very focussed event with all the suppliers in one place.
The ease of finding the suppliers I needed to speak too.
The most important suppliers to the UK market could be found at this show.
Organised so efficiently and the exhibitors include a good selection of product.
The wide range of choice, the ability to talk direct to suppliers and manufacturers.
Everything was just right from parking, to staff at the door meeting and greeting and food and snacks at the show…. all good!
Easy to get to, NEC staff very helpful and pleasant.
Easy to compare lots of competitors under one roof. Well organized, and less of a free-for-all than other trade shows.