To celebrate Global Exhibitions Day, we talk to four RX customers who couldn’t wait to return to our newly reopened events to build their businesses. We asked them why they chose to attend, what they achieved, and what is was like to be back. Their experiences are testament to the unique and enduring power of face to face events to create new connections, showcase innovation, generate brand awareness, and drive growth.
Showcasing Saudi to the world
Saudi Tourism Authority and Arabian Travel Market
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) returned to Dubai in May, becoming the largest face to face travel and tourism event in the world since the start of the pandemic. The hybrid event at the World Trade Centre combined a four-day in-person event from 16-19 May, with a virtual event a week later, from 24-26 May, for those unable to attend in person.
Among the most visible participants was the Saudi Tourism Authority which took the occasion to showcase Saudi’s strength as a leisure destination through an immersive pavilion which brought to life the country’s exciting, diverse tourism offer in a visually dynamic way. “Saudi is driving a new model of tourism for the twenty-first century and this year’s ATM demonstrated the recognition by major global travel industry players of the tremendous opportunities our dynamic and growing tourism industry offers,” said Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority.
“Saudi is driving a new model of tourism for the twenty-first century and this year’s ATM demonstrated the recognition by major global travel industry players of the tremendous opportunities our dynamic and growing tourism industry offers”
Over the course of the four-day in-person event, visitors were invited to embark on their own Saudi journey through an interactive deep-dive into its top destinations and resorts, from the pristine coastline of the Red Sea to the breath-taking heritage sites of Hegra, AlUla and Diriyah, outside Riyadh. At the Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit, a dedicated buyer forum, Fahd Hamidaddin addressed travel trade professionals to highlight the unique business opportunities offered by the country, which opened up to international tourism in September 2019.
In a second session on the ATM Global Stage, Saudi sector leaders shared insights into the “giga-project effect”, from developments that preserve and promote its heritage, culture and natural assets to theme parks, futuristic cities in the desert and luxury resorts with a strong focus on sustainability.
During the face to face event, more than 20 Saudi partners converged at the Saudi exhibitor stand, which hosted more than 900 face to face meetings and witnessed a flurry of deals between the country's leading travel companies and international tourism partners.
And this year, for the first time in ATM history, the addition of virtual ATM a week later enabled the Saudi Tourism Authority to reach a wider audience than ever before. International buyers unable to attend due to on-going travel restrictions could watch the STA’s summit sessions, view their destination videos, and attend 1:1 meetings online.
“Partnerships with the world’s major tourism players are transforming Saudi’s great ambition as a leisure tourism destination into reality, so we were thrilled to see so much positive movement at ATM. We thank ATM’s organisers for the opportunity to showcase Saudi’s iconic places, profound experiences and unparalleled hospitality to the region and the world,” said Fahd Hamidaddin.
“Partnerships with the world’s major tourism players are transforming Saudi’s great ambition as a leisure tourism destination into reality, so we were thrilled to see so much positive movement at ATM.”
Thousands of retail buyers, all under one roof
Ahava Australia and Reed Gift Fairs
Ahava Australia is a manufacturer and wholesale supplier of gifts, souvenirs, accessories and homewares crafted in Australia or sourced from Europe’s best artisans. Owner Johnothan Naiman is passionate about supporting local artists’ and committed to ethical sourcing and sustainable practices. He is also a great believer in the power of trade shows to generate new customers and help grow the business.
“Reaching prospects individually is time-consuming and expensive” explained Johnothan. “Good trade events attract a large and relevant audience many of whom are attending for the express purpose of sourcing suppliers. They provide a unique opportunity to showcase a large portion of our range to a broad group that have little or no knowledge of our product and brand offerings.”
During the pandemic Ahava Australia undertook a root and branch review of their marketing strategy with the aim of reaching out to new clients and decided to exhibit at Reed Gift Fairs Sydney for the first time in April.
Reed Gift Fairs is Australia’s premier trading platform for buyers and sellers in the gift and homewares industry. The event traditionally takes place twice a year in Sydney (February) and Melbourne (August), but following postponements due to COVID-19, was held for the first time in over a year from 17-20 April 2021 in Sydney.
“Reed Gift Fairs Sydney is aimed at our target market, was open to a large and diverse range of audiences, and provided us with a platform to promote our large product range to a wide range of prospects who would otherwise be difficult to reach due to travel restrictions,” said Johnothan on his decision to participate.
“Reed Gift Fairs Sydney is aimed at our target market, was open to a large and diverse range of audiences, and provided us with a platform to promote our large product range to a wide range of prospects who would otherwise be difficult to reach due to travel restrictions.”
Ahava Australia were present with 60m2 of exhibit space, an enhanced online directory listing incorporating a product gallery, and a listing in Reed Gift Fairs' digital ‘Big Book’. “Our objectives were to reposition our brand, attract new customers, and generate revenue leading up to, during and after the fair” said Johnothan. “We had a very successful event. For the first time in over a year, we were able to interact with customers at a trade show which was well organised and felt safe. The Reed Gift Fairs team were extremely helpful and supportive and we achieved great business results, generating new customers and leads.”
“Reed Gift Fairs Sydney was delighted to bring the gift and homewares industry back together to ‘Reignite Retail’" says Event Director Cory McCarrick. “Although the Sydney event was smaller than usual due to ongoing travel restrictions, we attracted almost 10,000 retail buyers. The higher ratio of retailers per exhibitor created a great sense of energy on the show floor helping to contribute to the very positive experience of Ahava Australia and our other exhibitors.”
“Although the Sydney event was smaller than usual due to ongoing travel restrictions, we attracted almost 10,000 retailer buyers. The higher ratio of retailers per exhibitor created a great sense of energy on the show floor helping to contribute to the very positive experience of Ahava Australia and our other exhibitors.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
Amira Group and National Aviation Infrastructure Show
Airport lighting supplier, Amira Group, couldn’t have been happier to be back at NAIS (National Aviation Infrastructure Show), which ran from 9-10 February in Moscow. NAIS is the leading event in Russia & CIS for the development of airports, airlines and heliports - it also marked RX Russia’s much anticipated return to face to face business in 2021.
“We could feel how much the audience had missed live events” said Julia Lusenko, Brand Manager. “Online communication can’t fully replace the experience of participating in a live show. Not only can you pre-arrange meetings with customers and prospects, but you also get to make many new connections, whether on your stand, in the conference hall, or exchanging a few words as you walk the aisles. Building relationships in this way is invaluable for us.”
“Online communication can’t fully replace the experience of participating in a live show. Not only can you pre-arrange meetings with customers and prospects, but you also get to make many new connections, whether on your stand, in the conference hall, or exchanging a few words as you walk the aisles. Building relationships in this way is invaluable for us.”
Amira engineers, manufactures and installs external lighting systems for major infrastructure projects in Russia and abroad, from airports, seaports and highways, to urban centres, sports and industrial facilities. Founded 30 years ago in a rented room, it has grown into a major enterprise employing 400 people across its design office, three factories, construction and installation company in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don.
Over the years, the company has regularly invested in trade exhibitions to drive brand awareness and business expansion. “Exhibitions are important to us to present our new products to the market, and to demonstrate to existing customers that we continue to take a pro-active role in driving innovation,” Julia explained.
“Exhibitions are important to us to present our new products to the market, and to demonstrate to existing customers that we continue to take a pro-active role in driving innovation”
At NAIS 2021, Amira showcased its range of airport lighting including a new one-way lighting mast with a moveable frame system. Technical Director Vladimir Kharkov also shared his expertise on airport lighting problems and solutions at the NAIS Forum. “NAIS enabled us to negotiate with many designers, engineers and customers in the field of airport construction, to get feedback on current projects, and to offer our projects to civil airports and airfields,” said Julia.
“NAIS 2021 was extremely important for us in demonstrating to Amira and our other clients that the exhibition industry is alive and as important as ever, and that our exhibitions are safe to attend,” said Yury Stolbovsky, Managing Director, RX Russia. “While the event was smaller this year due to ongoing travel restrictions, there was strong demand from buyers who wanted to reconnect with suppliers and find new ones. As a result exhibitor satisfaction levels reached 98% (up from 88% in 2020).”
Three decades of
face to face exhibiting
Suneast Technology and Nepcon China
Having seen its customers through many challenges over the past three decades, Nepcon China’s role as standard bearer for the resurgence of the electronics manufacturing industry has never been more keenly felt than in the wake of COVID-19. Over 500 exhibitors and 35,000 visitors took advantage of the event’s return in April to recover, reconnect and explore future trends in smart manufacturing.
Among them was Hong-Kong based Suneast Technology, one of China’s leading suppliers of intelligent manufacturing equipment. Suneast Technology has been exhibiting at Nepcon China since it was first held in 1991. In 2021 the company demonstrated its clear and continuing confidence in face to face events, and Nepcon China in particular, by taking its biggest ever booth, filling 265m2 of Nepcon China’s 30th anniversary edition in Shanghai.
Suneast Technology provides SMT and automation solutions across the manufacturing process of the home appliance, mobile phone, and LED industries and is attracted to Nepcon China by the opportunity to meet international buyers across a broad spectrum of key industries, including automotive electronics, 5G communications and consumer electronics.
“Nepcon has helped us tremendously over the years, enabling us to meet many highly targeted and relevant potential customers” explained Wei Li, Assistant Sales Director. “We use the event to showcase and demonstrate our intelligent equipment – something that can only be done face to face – and to generate new sales leads. Buyers from different sectors have very different and specific needs. By meeting in person we can sit down together and help them better understand the particular characteristics of our equipment and solutions. Having our technicians present during these discussions enables us to offer customized configurations, which in turn helps us to close the sale.”
Suneast Technology also took advantage of the online tools and services available to exhibitors as part of Nepcon China’s hybrid event strategy. “This proved really valuable to us as some of our customers are thousands of miles away, and due to COVID travel restrictions were unable to attend,” said Wei Li. “The Matchmaking service enabled us to connect directly with customers and prospects online, understand their specific needs, and learn about their latest developments. Overall, we were really happy with the show which provided us with many good contacts, particularly from the automotive and communications industries.”
“The Matchmaking service enabled us to connect directly with customers and prospects online, understand their specific needs, and learn about their latest developments.”