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Exhibition cancellations (not much to do with that anymore!)


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A "leaked" provisional timetable here:

 

https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/details-uks-five-stage-six-18211911

 

No mention of model railway exhibitions (or heritage railways for that matter) - however if crowds of thousands might be attending football matches in October, I certainly think the smaller shows with a couple of hundred attendees might be able to go ahead around then.

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1 hour ago, RJS1977 said:

A "leaked" provisional timetable here:

 

https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/details-uks-five-stage-six-18211911

 

No mention of model railway exhibitions (or heritage railways for that matter) - however if crowds of thousands might be attending football matches in October, I certainly think the smaller shows with a couple of hundred attendees might be able to go ahead around then.

Are you willing to try to lay out a floor plane which will be safe for all attendees? And can you provide extra PI Insurance/ (one which will work if a second way of the virus arrives? 

 

If you can answer yes to all of the above I suggest you try and organise a "small" exhibition...

 

baz

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21 minutes ago, Barry O said:

I suggest you try and organise a "small" exhibition

 

Or even a large one. As the dimensions of Hall 5 of the NEC is available online I thought I'd do a crude calculation (I'm not picking on Warley as the maths would be similar for any large show). If there were no layouts and no stands you could stand 4,750 people in there. No one can go to the toilets though without breaking the 2m distance. ;)

 

I'd guesstimate that layouts + stands take up 50% off the floor area. Add in a 2m transit corridor in between the 2m browsing/viewing spaces to either side and there's some very wide aisles and a reduced number of layouts and stands just to stand a chance of accommodating maybe 2,000 people at a maximum. £100 admission tickets? ;) It'd stop people moaning about the parking price. Until there's solutions to the problems it's just not viable.

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On 06/05/2020 at 10:39, TEAMYAKIMA said:

To clarify - I have a layout which has taken 9 years to build, cost £thousands and which has absolutely no purpose unless it's shown at exhibitions. Moreover, TBH the layout has been to 4 exhibitions (inc Warley last year) and I have NEVER been happy with it. I spent hours and hours on it (15 hours one particular day) correcting all the issues and it was to be 're-launched' at Aly Paly in March.  All that work will have been a complete waste of my time if we don't get invites due to the 'new normal' when shows return. So I see being 'flexible' with expenses being a way forward.

I worry for you, this layout which as you admit has cost thousands (is that personally) and you've never been happy with it.  The only mark of success in your eyes is to have lots of invites to exhibitions and Covid may have put paid to that.

 

I've seen the model, it was and still is a very good model, it cries out China and it has the unique selling point of being the only one on the circuit.  It's a strong model in the vein of many big layouts that we've loved over the years but it's unique as to it's chosen location.  You should be really proud of what you've achieved. 

 

But all it appears to do is cause you pain and anguish, it's not getting enough invites (before Covid), it's not got enough gimmicks and now you are proposing to sink more money into it by covering some of your team's expenses if the shows you're invited to don't profit.

 

I really am concerned for you, this is meant to be an escape from real life and it looks like it is adding stress and tension.

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Whilst naturally and quite rightly so the debate here has been about the health implications regards exhibitions, there is another factor looming large on the horizon looking at the pronouncement from the governor of the Bank of England today, that of substantial downturn in the economy and a very deep recession. Reading through it one of the recurring themes in it was that of consumer confidence, or more correctly the lack thereof.

 

Whilst these days only being involved in running a couple of small shows with a substantially reduced risk, whilst keeping a weather eye on the economy, it would not be a major concern, after all we have been through this before. However add that lack of consumer confidence to a probable reluctance of a section of the target audience to visit shows on health grounds then the head bobs up quickly and takes note. Even if they come, will they spend? Traders rely on that to turn a profit over stand rent and I know it can be a tipping point for some, especially if they are paying a high stand rent which in turn for the show organiser, generally offsets hall rent.. There are now many examples of traders giving up doing shows - Wizard is a good example - because its just not worth the hassle for a poor return, and given a good internet presence then its not really a problem.

 

Over the last 7 -8 weeks I've needed materials for the layout build which ordinarily I would have bought at shows, I'd a massive shopping list for ally pally. But Ive coped very well, and been able to source stuff from the likes of Eileens Emporium very quickly - and judging by the gap in order numbers between two orders about 4 days apart, so are a lot of other people. I miss being able to browse but its not a game changer, I suspect a lot of traders will be looking long and hard at shows if the downturn is as bad as the BoE says.

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It’s all very well saying shows cost a lot for a trader to attend but they give visibility and it’s the sales off the back of that that make it worth it. You look up online and see Eileens Emporium or Steve’s Supplies with similar prices, which do you go for? The one you’ve seen and has a public reputation to maintain or the unknown? Squires, Railroom etc all pop a flyer in your bag and you pop it in the file ;) 

I bet a lot of people have turned to the traders they’ve come across at shows and I reckon it’ll be a long time before that visibility and perceived reputation is achieved purely online ;) 

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3 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

A "leaked" provisional timetable here:

 

https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/details-uks-five-stage-six-18211911

 

No mention of model railway exhibitions (or heritage railways for that matter) - however if crowds of thousands might be attending football matches in October, I certainly think the smaller shows with a couple of hundred attendees might be able to go ahead around then.

 

They are very detailed plans so far in advance.

There is still a lot not known about the virus so it is not possible to plan with any accuracy.

If the number of cases rises after the early phases of the lockdown are eased, then it must surely be tightened again & any such timetable must be revised?

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With so much still unknown about the virus’ contagion levels I think these would be aspirations and as that link says, each would be monitored and rescinded if there was a rise in cases. 

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24 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

It’s all very well saying shows cost a lot for a trader to attend but they give visibility and it’s the sales off the back of that that make it worth it. 

 

I'm more than well aware of that and know very well that traders very closely monitor their aftersales which they use  partly to decide whether or not attendance at a particular show is actually worth it. The point is sooner or later there is a tipping point when a loss leader becomes a loser, and with an economic situation where little disposable income is around, the likelihood of that happening is greater. It may not affect the big boys like Warley, Donny et al  where to be seen is to be seen, or the small local show with little completion but for the middle division shows who have rows of competing box shifters then it's an issue they may have to face. 

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Until we know any long term restrictions though it’s impossible to tell. Any business is going to be thinking of the likely consequences and if more moves online then forums like this will be the place to exhibit your wares, much like Derails, Trains4U and many more do already ;)  We’ve done an online members day and a mini online show on another forum but I’d still prefer reality if it’s possible in 12+ months. I’m prepared to wait and will go to my usual suppliers in the meantime so I reckon it’s only those new entrants or needing to grow because they had little online presence that need to worry immediately. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, woodenhead said:

I worry for you, this layout which as you admit has cost thousands (is that personally) and you've never been happy with it.  The only mark of success in your eyes is to have lots of invites to exhibitions and Covid may have put paid to that.

 

I've seen the model, it was and still is a very good model, it cries out China and it has the unique selling point of being the only one on the circuit.  It's a strong model in the vein of many big layouts that we've loved over the years but it's unique as to it's chosen location.  You should be really proud of what you've achieved. 

 

But all it appears to do is cause you pain and anguish, it's not getting enough invites (before Covid), it's not got enough gimmicks and now you are proposing to sink more money into it by covering some of your team's expenses if the shows you're invited to don't profit.

 

I really am concerned for you, this is meant to be an escape from real life and it looks like it is adding stress and tension.

 

At the risk of taking this slightly off-topic having suffered extreme stress, a contributory reason to my severe heart problems back in 2007 (quad bypass), then I agree that if it is causing you these problems then Woodenhead is giving good advice. With stress the crucial thing, and it is very hard to do, is learning when to walk away. I sacrificed some pension income (around 20%) by taking early retirement on medical grounds back in 2008, but it was worth it. Perhaps an extreme view, only you know the truth, but  I am still here 12 years later, not sure I would have been without that decision to take the option of walking away.

 

People may sometimes suggest the black dog is not a real medical problem*, but take it from me it is a dog with a really nasty bite and needs treating with caution even when it is still only a pup!

 

* the whole macho "real men don't cry" etc.

 

Edited by john new
To make better sense.
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12 hours ago, woodenhead said:

I worry for you, this layout which as you admit has cost thousands and you've never been happy with it.  The only mark of success in your eyes is to have lots of invites to exhibitions and Covid may have put paid to that.

 

I am concerned for you, this is meant to be an escape from real life and it looks like it is adding stress and tension.

 

Firstly, to Woodenhead and John New - THANK YOU  for your concern - but may I apologise to everyone reading this thread for having dragged this discussion off thread with tales of the impact of exhibition cancellations on me personally.

 

This thread should be about the impact of Covid 19 on the hobby as a whole and so I will not be mentioning how this 'new normal' effects me personally in this thread any more. I have a thread in the layouts section - search for BEIJIAO - where I will be only to happy welcome discussion of my layout and my personal story.

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15 hours ago, RJS1977 said:

A "leaked" provisional timetable

 

No mention of model railway exhibitions (or heritage railways for that matter) - however if crowds of thousands might be attending football matches in October

 

Aside from the potential spanners into the timescales, one thing that this lacks is the end of only 'essential' travel. Ignoring the punters packed on heritage railways & public facing volunteers for a moment, for those volunteering there are generally quite a few low risk options (until everyone gathers in the pub!) - but only if you can travel to get there.

 

Football matches assume both sets of fans can go, but doesn't state it, so could be home/local supporters, who could be spread out, etc.

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11 hours ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

They are very detailed plans so far in advance.

There is still a lot not known about the virus so it is not possible to plan with any accuracy.

If the number of cases rises after the early phases of the lockdown are eased, then it must surely be tightened again & any such timetable must be revised?

 

Pete makes valid points.  The press are very guilty of miss-reporting here and therefore messing with our expectations. 

 

The politicians on the Government side are talking of a ROAD MAP.  The press - egged on by some (but by no means not all) elements of opposition - seem to be talking TIMETABLE

 

Having worked in the Military and having had to plan some pretty tricky - let's call them - "rush jobs" I can tell you that there is a massive difference...

 

Elliott

 

Et iuravit solitudinis quoadusque pestilentia est separatum a terra

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DERBY ROUNDHOUSE

 

I should have been going to the Roundhouse later today to start the clearance and set up. The change in date for the Bank Holiday would have worked in our favour as the College would have been closed and their staff would have already cleared the Roundhouse. On a normal Friday it is full of tables and chairs and used for student meals and a social space. We don't normally gain access to all areas until about 5.00pm and then have a rush to mark out the floor - rather difficult in a round building as you can't start in a corner !

 

A number of modellers and traders have difficulty in reading simple instructions and / or telling the time as they arrive at 3.00pm instead of 6.00pm - this year we were hoping for a much more relaxed set-up day - unfortunately not to be. At least I remembered to cancel the order for £2500 pound coins with the bank - it's surprising how much change we get through on the door - of course now we may have to consider contactless card payments but then that will cause a lot of delay - and if we have to get 2m between those in the queue, it will be around the building and over the bridge into the station!

 

Hope to see you next year.

 

Mike

.

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40 minutes ago, DutyDruid said:

 

Pete makes valid points.  The press are very guilty of miss-reporting here and therefore messing with our expectations. 

 

The politicians on the Government side are talking of a ROAD MAP.  The press - egged on by some (but by no means not all) elements of opposition - seem to be talking TIMETABLE

 

Having worked in the Military and having had to plan some pretty tricky - let's call them - "rush jobs" I can tell you that there is a massive difference...

 

Elliott

 

Et iuravit solitudinis quoadusque pestilentia est separatum a terra

 

 

Being none military I can still fully see and understand the difference. Unfortunately, some parts of the media have been pushing for the end of lockdown and are now critical of it ending. The public I think are probably ahead on this and generally know this is going to be on going for 12months or so until we can all have a jab (all billions of us globally).

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1 hour ago, DutyDruid said:

 

Pete makes valid points.  The press are very guilty of miss-reporting here and therefore messing with our expectations. 

 

The politicians on the Government side are talking of a ROAD MAP.  The press - egged on by some (but by no means not all) elements of opposition - seem to be talking TIMETABLE

 

Having worked in the Military and having had to plan some pretty tricky - let's call them - "rush jobs" I can tell you that there is a massive difference...

 

Elliott

 

Et iuravit solitudinis quoadusque pestilentia est separatum a terra

i don't think it's just the press and the opposition, there are plenty within Government who want to re-open.

 

It's not a left v right thing, in Scotland Ms Sturgeon is getting the same heat over testing and action from the Conservatives and Labour as the UK parliament is getting from the SNP and Labour.

 

All governments are between a rock and a hard place whatever they do next has a humanitarian, financial and political cost.

 

We'll know more Sunday night I expect what decision has been made, one thing we do know Boris has been touched by this illness and I would imagine it will impact his thinking and actions.

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1 hour ago, DutyDruid said:

 

The press - egged on by some (but by no means not all) elements of opposition - seem to be talking TIMETABLE. 

 

 

4 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

 

It's not a left v right thing, in Scotland Ms Sturgeon is getting the same heat over testing and action from the Conservatives and Labour as the UK parliament is getting from the SNP and Labour.

 

 

You are so right, and I chose my words VERY carefully.  The hope is that as we come out of this we will start to reevaluate the way a lot of things are done, like maybe once in a while remembering we are all in this together.

 

AND: I hang my head in shame - accidental horrendous double negative in my original comment :(

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What we need to remember is we're no nearer beating COVID-19 now than we were pre-lockdown, no vaccine, no treatment, no 100% antibody test, and no proof of immunity.

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7 hours ago, DutyDruid said:

The press are very guilty of miss-reporting here and therefore messing with our expectations. 

 

The politicians on the Government side are talking of a ROAD MAP.  The press - egged on by some (but by no means not all) elements of opposition - seem to be talking TIMETABLE

 

The press are claiming that they were briefed by Government sources. Unless you are claiming, as Churchill used to do, that "the enemy" are in his own party :-)

 

I'd suggest that the press are there to sell newspapers or TV advertising NOT to provide accurate news. The headlines were hysterical (not the funny version) and to anyone with an ounce of sense, wildly inaccurate. I'd expect some small movement based on improved science, but nothing major. We're a long way from fully out of this. Having said, that I'm impressed with the way many in our trade have been able to adapt and deal with what I understand to be quite an upsurge in sales.

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On 05/05/2020 at 12:00, woodenhead said:

To me a big challenge is how you manage numbers in/out of the doors - we've all seen how most people seem to arrive on a Saturday morning and spend 2-3 hours at a show then the numbers entering reduce across the rest of the day.  Now apply social distancing which limits numbers and you have a queue at the opening time where those in the queue might expect to wait at least an hour to enter because the venue filled up at opening and now you've got to wait for them to get their moneys worth.

 

How about limiting the amount of visitors at an exhibition by only selling tickets that allow entry at a certain time and for a certain duration, for example 9am for 2 hours? This would spread out evenly the amount of visitors visiting the venue evenly throughout the day and you could limit the number of visitors evenly throughout the day. If only 200 visitors can fit in the Ally Pally at one time with 2 metre social distancing for example, then only sell 200 tickets for 9am entry (perhaps at a premium) then another 200 tickets for 11am entry and so on. Shows could open earlier and end later to allow more ticket sales.

 

Obviously on the door tickets would not be possible with this but I don’t see this prohibitive per se. Many book in advance for these shows anyway and security could be hired for any troublemakers. We must try to find a route back for railway exhibitions to once again take place.

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5 minutes ago, bart2day said:

 

How about limiting the amount of visitors at an exhibition by only selling tickets that allow entry at a certain time and for a certain duration, for example 9am for 2 hours? This would spread out evenly the amount of visitors visiting the venue evenly throughout the day and you could limit the number of visitors evenly throughout the day. If only 200 visitors can fit in the Ally Pally at one time with 2 metre social distancing for example, then only sell 200 tickets for 9am entry (perhaps at a premium) then another 200 tickets for 11am entry and so on. Shows could open earlier and end later to allow more ticket sales.

 

That might work for a small show where you can see everything in a couple of hours. But you need all day at events like Warley, and at least half a day, preferably more, at events like Railex and Stafford. It wouldn't be worth my while to drive to any of those if I could only spend two hours there. And you can't get a decent look at a layout from a 2m distance - even with a barrier, the distance between operators and visitors is typically no more than half a yard or so.

Realistically, I don't think we're going to see any shows, at all, until the restrictions on public gatherings have been almost completely lifted. We might be able to start with a few small ones. But the big ones will be the last to come back to the calendar.

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31 minutes ago, bart2day said:

 

If only 200 visitors can fit in the Ally Pally at one time with 2 metre social distancing for example, then only sell 200 tickets for 9am entry (perhaps at a premium) then another 200 tickets for 11am entry and so on. Shows could open earlier and end later to allow more ticket sales.

 

 

Because it’s not economically viable to run anything but the smallest show that only expects a few visitors anyway, the big halls cost many thousands to hire so you’d be looking at huge ticket prices as Andy mentioned here. 

 

22 hours ago, AY Mod said:

some very wide aisles and a reduced number of layouts and stands just to stand a chance of accommodating maybe 2,000 people at a maximum. £100 admission tickets? ;) It'd stop people moaning about the parking price. Until there's solutions to the problems it's just not viable.

The mid size shows are usually paying £2-3000 for the hall for a weekend, layouts transport hire and fuel quickly gets into hundreds for fairly small shows. Hotels can easily surpass that, say 20 layouts needing an average of 4 people, then catering etc

 So in an ideal £5 x200 = £1000 would probably net you £8000 assuming ALL those slots were filled, which they won’t be for most shows especially with probably 50%-70% of your target audience  currently in the risk categories. You’d be very lucky to get £3000 at the door I suspect. 
We had to move venues for our NG show to halve the hire costs as increases had meant a small loss on our previous show. The margins of profit are not huge, in the two groups I belong to the profit from the show has been from £600 to just over £2000 so in the limited numbers idea you’d only need to lose 120-400 people to wipe out our margins and all our staff are free unlike Warley and Ally Pally. 

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34 minutes ago, bart2day said:

 

How about limiting the amount of visitors at an exhibition by only selling tickets that allow entry at a certain time and for a certain duration, for example 9am for 2 hours? This would spread out evenly the amount of visitors visiting the venue evenly throughout the day and you could limit the number of visitors evenly throughout the day. If only 200 visitors can fit in the Ally Pally at one time with 2 metre social distancing for example, then only sell 200 tickets for 9am entry (perhaps at a premium) then another 200 tickets for 11am entry and so on. Shows could open earlier and end later to allow more ticket sales.

 

Logistically a nightmare - at 10:55 you have to clear the hall(s) completely and then let in the next lot - I would reckon on half an hour for that and then there are the economics of how many tickets need to be sold to at the very least break even  and how many people are going to want to travel a long way for a couple of hours 3:30 to 5:30.

 

I can see merits in your idea - perhaps the entrance time but you're probably going to need to price according to time of day to make the later slots attractive and then make the earlier slots more expensive.

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The longer day concept fails to take into account two key elements, exhibitors and traders. Staying open longer means longer ‘duty’ hours, I doubt that will be a popular option. Regarding exhibitors covering some of the costs as far as expenses go, I don’t know anyone who makes a ‘profit’ out of attending a show. A good few of us, depending on the show give our ‘time and expenses’ either free or heavily subsidised already. I’ve done five or six shows where I’ve not ‘charged’ for van hire, just the fuel, because I support the organiser and their cause, and crucially, I want to exhibit at that show. Depending on each individual exhibitor, that may not be a viable option, regardless of good intent.

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