The Source trade show was a roaring success this year, with a terrific spread of exhibitors and great attendance. There was a real buzz to the atmosphere and when walking into the hall you could tell straight away that things were going well – at every stand passionate producers, enthusiastic food service suppliers and upbeat hospitality people were talking excitedly to receptive listeners. Those stands offering free tastings were especially busy, often surrounded by groups understandably keen to sample the freshly fried fish & chips, delicious cakes, hot pies or alcoholic beverages.
The numbers tell a success story.
After each show we send out a questionnaire to visitors to get feedback, and the overall feeling was very positive with an impressive 90% saying they would recommend the show to a colleague or related business. The number of those intending to return next year was an encouraging 88%. This proves we’re getting a lot right – but it was also good to see the number of new visitors too. This year 40% had not attended before, so exhibitors were presenting their offerings to plenty of new buyers.
The show also did a good job of helping visitors find new suppliers. 9% found more than 10, 15% found 5-10, and 39% found 3-5. That’s a total of 63% finding 3 or more new suppliers, which shows the event was very productive for visitors and exhibitors alike. The venue got the thumbs up too with 88% saying they were satisfied or very satisfied on that score. It was a similar story in terms of variety of exhibitors with 76% of visitors satisfied or very satisfied with that.
What did the visitors think?
With our survey we gave visitors the opportunity provide comments and these were very illuminating. The owner of a recent start-up looking for new drink suppliers wrote that “I really enjoyed the show. Having set up and facilitated many exhibitions myself, I can honestly say it was one of the best exhibitions for exhibitor and client engagement that I have been to. We intended to only do one day but came back on day two as had only completed half the show”.
A publican in search of new ideas was delighted that “It was very well spaced and laid out allowing easy movement around the stalls” while a small producer who visited in search of inspiration described it as “A day of food and drink ideas, all at one venue. Well spaced out and calm, positive atmosphere. Thanks for organising an excellent show”. Other comments included the fact that it was great for “Selecting and ordering new products. Meeting new suppliers and talking to old friends in the trade” and “It has put us in touch with much needed companies such as local food distributors who have our locally sourced ethics, a great idea for a food stall build and also ethical packaging”.
Exhibitors enthusiastic too.
We also rang around some of the exhibitors to get their feedback. For Justine of Just Desserts “It was a great show, very busy and there was a lot of interest in our products. The feedback on our products was excellent and I made some very useful connections. It’s tough growing a small business but the show was certainly beneficial in terms of raising awareness of what we offer”.
John Smith of Exmoor Gin commented that “This was our first year at the show as we only started the business in July 2018. Great show, very well organised and attended. Definitely created a lot of interest in our brand and products and has already generated new business for us. We’re expanding our distribution quite rapidly and will certainly take a stand next year”.
Nicola Telford of marketing agency MAMA said “The show was not a natural fit for us, but we haven’t done much outreach to raise general awareness of our brand…so it was a bit of a punt. First day was especially busy and we had a lot of good conversations with visitors and exhibitors, already had a couple of promising meetings. Hopefully we’ll get a lot more over the coming months, because not everyone is looking for our services right now, but we find that if we keep the conversation going these new relationships pay off. So, it was definitely good exposure for us”.
Geoff Yates of Sea Arch Gin Spirit added that “We’ve only been going about four months and Hale Events accommodated us at the very last minute, which was good of them. The whole category of non-alcoholic drinks is growing fast but many people are sceptical, they just don’t get it. The show was a great way to win a few doubters over…it was nice to see them go from sceptical to surprised and realise that we’re offering a sophisticated spirit. Something you can enjoy when you can’t drink alcohol, or would rather not, but don’t fancy the usual sugary and sweet options. The stand was very busy, we created a lot of product awareness and some good contacts too”.
Clearly there were a lot of positives there, which is great, but we also got a few pointers about things we could do differently and opportunities for improvement, which is equally great – we’re not ones to rest on our laurels! We’re already working on next year’s show, to be held at Westpoint, Exeter on the 5th-6th Feb 2020 and hope to see you there. If you’ve got any comments or feedback to add, why not leave us a comment here, or get in touch by sending us an email or calling us on 01934 733433? We’re always happy to hear from you 🙂.