Future of UK cleaning industry shows

25th of June 2013
Future of UK cleaning industry shows

The ECJ UK correspondent looks back at the recent Cleaning Show and contemplates the future for industry exhibitions.

The Cleaning Show has come and gone, reported enthusiastically by the cleaning media, totally ignored elsewhere. The show was small which superficially could be put down to the economic slowdown and the much touted triple dip recession. We say ‘superficially’ since there are considerably more factors to be taken into account.

There were benefits for new and smaller companies in terms of less competition although the presence of large companies usually brings heavier footfall. There was no Britain’s Cleanest City contest awards, which used to be part of the show for many years and which attracted nationwide publicity.

Major companies failed to show. Why? Was it the economic situation so widely reported? This ought to have been a reason for attendance rather than non attendance. Since time immemorial bad news has sold. Farm workers always reported disaster with glee. Hurray, the ricks fell over, the cows are in the corn and the plough’s stuck in the mud. Such events bring drama into our humdrum existence. How disappointing a headline, reading “Small earthquake in Chile, not many dead.”

It is now said that the industry’s large manufacturers are going to concentrate on ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Amsterdam and perhaps one or two other European shows. It has also been announced that The Cleaning Show will move to London in 2015, from its previous venue at the NEC in Birmingham. While the words ‘increased costs’ flash alarmingly in the mind, there is no doubt that London is where it is at. If The Cleaning Show deserves and wishes to be at the top table in the list of must-attend events, London is a better draw. Attractive though Birmingham
is to some, London tempts foreign visitors.

There is sadly another factor. When the NEC opened the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the staff helped to ensure a successful show in a venue with top class facilities. Whether it is the plethora of shows or simply that familiarity has bred not so much contempt as disinterest - the catering and the whole ambience from price to staff helpfulness has deteriorated alarmingly in my opinion.

While the organisers have much to do to make The Cleaning Show honey pot attractive to exhibitors and attendees alike, the show depends on the support of the whole industry to make it work.

Or is it the case that shows have had their day as a means of selling and promoting sales and interest in the cleaning industry itself? It requires the venue providers, the show organisers, the exhibitors and visitors to make the event the success it should be. In other words, as was
said in another context, “chiefly yourselves”.

In these days of instant communication and a seismic change in buying habits could it be that the whole attraction of the exhibition has gone or is going?  Weyhill Fair, Strawberry Fair and the massive Royal Agricultural Show - all major events in the UK - have gone.

Is The Cleaning Show to follow? Not if the whole industry wants, supports it and gets what it
needs from it.


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