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Exhibitions and the recession


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Hi,

 

I visit a number of exhibitions around the North East and quite often beyond. I don't know what others think but do you think they are not as busy?? Especially the smaller events. Do you think the recession has made an impact? I have recently spoken to a few event organisers they feel there has been some impact and numbers are down.

 

I fear for some of the smaller events as they will not be economically viable without the essencial support from the attending public. I'm just hoping this is not a damaging start to our hobby as part of the economic downturn.

 

Also the main reason for asking the question is to see if it is worth organising a new event in the North East for a group that I have recently got involved with. We may well be flooded with exhibitions already!

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Hi,

 

I visit a number of exhibitions around the North East and quite often beyond. I don't know what others think but do you think they are not as busy?? Especially the smaller events. Do you think the recession has made an impact? I have recently spoken to a few event organisers they feel there has been some impact and numbers are down.

 

I fear for some of the smaller events as they will not be economically viable without the essencial support from the attending public. I'm just hoping this is not a damaging start to our hobby as part of the economic downturn.

 

Also the main reason for asking the question is to see if it is worth organising a new event in the North East for a group that I have recently got involved with. We may well be flooded with exhibitions already!

 

 

In my experience mostly from Yorkshire/Lancashire/north midlands shows, quite the opposite: most of the shows I have been to over the last twelve months that have quoted any figures have actually been UP from the previous year. That covers a range from small events such as Cleethorpes, through medium size shows such as Shipley and our own Hull Show to York at the large end of the scale...

 

As for why, especially if you are seeing a regional difference, we could speculate for ever...

 

It may be seen as a (relatively) cheap day out compared to other attractions in those areas? - could explain regional differences if there was something else for the general public in the North East...

 

Or are modellers no longer attending every show in range and selectively concentrating on those which are perceived to offer better quality or value? Would be likely to have greatest impact where there are concentrations of shows.

 

(It can't be that everyone’s turning out to see our layouts can it...)

So to answer you question about starting a new show, I'd say it's definitely NOT the right time to do it, especially in an area which already has more than it's fair share of established events...

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Hi,

 

I visit a number of exhibitions around the North East and quite often beyond. I don't know what others think but do you think they are not as busy?? Especially the smaller events. Do you think the recession has made an impact? I have recently spoken to a few event organisers they feel there has been some impact and numbers are down.

 

I fear for some of the smaller events as they will not be economically viable without the essencial support from the attending public. I'm just hoping this is not a damaging start to our hobby as part of the economic downturn.

 

Also the main reason for asking the question is to see if it is worth organising a new event in the North East for a group that I have recently got involved with. We may well be flooded with exhibitions already!

 

 

Hi there,

I only really get around the North West for little shows (though a fair bit further for 'big' shows!) and i do get the feeling that the smaller shows are indeed feeling the pinch somewhat. The big shows with large advertising bugets and sponsorship deals do okay as they can attract enthusiasts from much further afield - small shows have to rely on limited advertising and a lot more on 'joe public with little johnny' (and if 'mummy' says "not this year dear, maybe next!") then, small shows take the hit.

I believe the only answer to THAT is to book at least one quality, well known layout, as many quality traders as you can get and invest in as much advertising as you can possibly afford.

And the 'biggy'?

Be AT LEAST one weekend away from any other show within a good 100 mile radius! That way, all the 'enthusiasts' will come to you!

HTH,

John E.

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Speaking to a few traders it seems as a bit of pruning, as far as shows being attended, is happening, those under threat are the smaller 'family' shows, but the bigger, 'enthusiast', and specialist shows are the ones to concentrate on.

For our show in Blandford this coming October we've tried to widen the appeal beyond just model railways, incorporating a bus rally,railwayana ( and all things S&DJR ), local history, and a few other aspects of modelling.

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Surely one of the main things to hit shows would be the price of fuel.

 

Higher fuel costs mean higher exhibitor expences and thus higer costs to put on the show.

 

It depends how far the exhibitors have come, if they're local and would be visiting the show anyway, why are they claiming for fuel...?

 

Maybe the downturn in going out has meant more time for modelling, which in turn means a greater quantity of better layouts available to exhibition managers, rather than relying on inviting ones form further away or the usual local ones everyone's seen before.

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Does anyone think the internet has had an effect? I log on here, watch a layout being constructed, see a video of it, enjoy all its best angles and feel I have seen it. Although perhaps everyone is not as anti social as me as I have seen written the expression "looking forward to seeing it in the flesh"

It was just a thought that with so many layouts available on line perhaps the thoughts of travelling to see is not as appealing?

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  • RMweb Gold

Does anyone think the internet has had an effect? I log on here, watch a layout being constructed, see a video of it, enjoy all its best angles and feel I have seen it. Although perhaps everyone is not as anti social as me as I have seen written the expression "looking forward to seeing it in the flesh"

It was just a thought that with so many layouts available on line perhaps the thoughts of travelling to see is not as appealing?

I would have thought the internet and publicity would have the opposite effect. When you look at an ad that list layouts attending (and I wish more shows would list layouts in their publicity) if there is a layout there that I've seen being built on here I'm more likely to want to go to see it. Aside from that there is the social side where we now have a better idea of who is behind a layout, many of us are no longer anonymous.

 

Andi

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Does anyone think the internet has had an effect? ... with so many layouts available on line perhaps the thoughts of travelling to see is not as appealing?

 

It's been the complete opposite for me, I only started going to exhibitions after joining RMweb and discovering just how many there are looking at the layouts online that I wanted to see "in the flesh".

Despite having read Model Rail etc monthly for years previously, the long lists of exhibitions in the back had never attracted me in the same way.

 

Paul

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It depends how far the exhibitors have come, if they're local and would be visiting the show anyway, why are they claiming for fuel...?

 

As with many things in life they are rarely as simple as they seem. Many events ask local layout owners living within say 1 hour? To travel home each day to save on accommodation costs, but with the increase in fuel duties (remember the fuel costs next to nowt! its the tax!) and the need to take say a team of 4-6 operators to and from a show in say a van/car with the layout and another car on the fri/sat/sun, costs can soon reach as much as staying in digs.

 

Furthermore as one who often travels great distances 'on expenses' to exhibit i would not ask anyone else to burn their own fuel, regardless of how short their journey.

 

Having recently exhibitied at the W&WE show at Bristol, which saw a bumper turnout, i think that what show organizers do has as much to do with the turnout as fiscal trends. Look at shows like Wigan, Railex and Warley, where they are providing a good product.. repeatedly working hard to improve, not sitting back on the same old tired layout lists and consequently do better and better.

 

Mark

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Hi, I'm a member of Redruth MRC, we put on the West of England Exhibition in March, and this year we noticed a drop in numbers though the door. Also because of our location we get some major layouts outside the county so accomadation has to be paid, fuel and occasionally van hire, also this year the hire of the hall went up and the food. So it is a worry I think only modellers are attending not mums and dads bringing their kids to see the trains, its an expensive day for a young family with not much spare money.

dirol_mini.gif Nigel

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, I'm a member of Redruth MRC, we put on the West of England Exhibition in March, and this year we noticed a drop in numbers though the door. Also because of our location we get some major layouts outside the county so accomadation has to be paid, fuel and occasionally van hire, also this year the hire of the hall went up and the food. So it is a worry I think only modellers are attending not mums and dads bringing their kids to see the trains, its an expensive day for a young family with not much spare money.

dirol_mini.gif Nigel

 

Nigel

I'm not convinced this is the picture across the country. All the shows i've visited as an exhibitor and visitor in the last 12 months have been very busy, and the traders seemed reasonably pleased with sales. I know that my old club's show, Stafford, had record numbers through the door in February. The disadvantage you have in Cornwall and Devon is that you're surrounded on three sides by sea and this limits the radius of influence the show can have compared to one in the midlands, which can draw in punters from all sides. Perhaps expo attendance in the SW is being hit harder by the recession than other areas?

 

What i have noticed though is how many shows don't seem to be covered well in the modelling press. I went to a couple recently that weren't listed in the exhibitions diary pages of the usual mags. Those that are successful appear to be very aggressive with advertising - there's lots of free advertising to be had including multiple forums. Just do a google search on 'Aylesbury Railex' to see how many different places the full expo details appeared. You couldn't help but know that show was on!

 

Lots of people use google to find out advanced info on exhibitions these days and a good website is a must in the exhibition organiser's armoury. I had a quick look at the Redruth club website and found the following pages:

 

This one is headed exhibitions but isn't what i expected - ie it's the ones that you have attended (it shows nothing beyond 2009) not the one you are organising!

 

I did find mention that you have two shows per year here (in a page titled history / background), but no details of when they will be. Have i missed the obvious?

 

Compare this with the Aylesbury pages (i promise that i have no connection with this club).

 

These are just my ramblings - what do others think?

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I would have thought the internet and publicity would have the opposite effect. When you look at an ad that list layouts attending (and I wish more shows would list layouts in their publicity) if there is a layout there that I've seen being built on here I'm more likely to want to go to see it. Aside from that there is the social side where we now have a better idea of who is behind a layout, many of us are no longer anonymous.

 

Andi

 

Andi

Totally agree with this. Exhibiting at DEMU at the weekend i was suprised how many people said they had seen Diesels in the Duchy on the web and wanted to see it in the flesh - including a chap from Camborne. I think internet coverage increases the chances of people visiting shows.

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At Railex we had a record attendence this year, in fact since we moved to Stoke Mandeville Stadium in 2005 we are now attracting a third more paying visitors through the door.

 

We ensure the full details of the show are listed on every model railway forum we know of and try to get as much info published in magizines in both the news section and diary, as well as making sure that our website is updated as often as possible. All this infomation I have listed is free to do, it costs nothing other than time to do it, but it pays off. In my thread on the Chatham show I said there was a lack of web promotion and it seems like numbers were down.

 

You may have noticed I have started to post info on Railex 2011 that is just under a year away, our website site will soon be updated with a new page, I think if clubs can't be bothered to promote a show then its unlikely that people to visit.

 

David

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Lots of people use google to find out advanced info on exhibitions these days and a good website is a must in the exhibition organiser's armoury. I had a quick look at the Redruth club website and found the following pages:

 

This one is headed exhibitions but isn't what i expected - ie it's the ones that you have attended (it shows nothing beyond 2009) not the one you are organising!

 

I did find mention that you have two shows per year here (in a page titled history / background), but no details of when they will be. Have i missed the obvious?

To be fair it is the 'West of England' show and not just a Redruth club show, a search on that gets the rmweb thread quite high up but I didn't note the main site..

 

 

I['m sure there is a web forum somewhere with only David as a member with the Railex info on ;). Seriously, well done for such blanket coverage for the show, its probably helped almost as much as the layouts and trade you managed to badger/attract :).

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To be fair it is the 'West of England' show and not just a Redruth club show, a search on that gets the rmweb thread quite high up but I didn't note the main site..

 

In which case wouldn't it be sensible if the Redruth club website directed people to the main 'West of England' show site if there is one? (Apologies if it does) I must admit I'd always thought of the WoE show as a Kernow inspired event and before this thread hadn't linked it to the Redruth club. Is it me ;-)?

 

Many of the shows that folk above have said have had good or increased attendancies have their own dedicated show web-sites or pages, including:

 

York My link

Cleethorpes My link

Harrogate My link

Wigan My link

 

Googling 'West of England Model Railway Show' brings up the Kernow exhibition page near the top - that's good as they are a major sponsor. Looking through the KNRC page through it gives a link back to the Redruth club site which carries no info.

 

I'm not picking on Redruth but this example does illustrate how, in many cases, more can be done net-wise to promote shows fully. I'd agree with David's comments that these days getting in early and broadcasting far and wide is needed to attract punters. In the case of the Redruth club's show it is IMO more important to get all the links right because the name of the show doesn't include 'Redruth'. Punters searching for a show in Redruth may not make the connection - just as i didn't.

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Publicity is not just about letting people find your website and having a half decent website (that works and has useful content)

 

If you do not know the event exists in the first place or what it can be found under it isn't going to be even searched for.

 

I still think not enough is made of RMWeb's lists to get the word out well in advance. I am still amazed that I seem to be the one posting a thread for example on Arborfield show (for the last 4 years) yet I have nothing to do with the show. Their website is poor and usually out of date, the club (I have nothing to do with) seem to make no effort. I am sure there are many other similar "local" shows with the same couldn't care less attitude to publicity.

 

The big shows and specialist shows seem to have their act together, are easily remembered from year to year and generally have a more interesting selection of trade and layouts. It is no wonder that when times are hard and the shows visited are limited they are the ones that continue to pull in the punters.

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Publicity is not just about letting people find your website and having a half decent website (that works and has useful content)

 

If you do not know the event exists in the first place or what it can be found under it isn't going to be even searched for.

 

I still think not enough is made of RMWeb's lists to get the word out well in advance. I am still amazed that I seem to be the one posting a thread for example on Arborfield show (for the last 4 years) yet I have nothing to do with the show. Their website is poor and usually out of date, the club (I have nothing to do with) seem to make no effort. I am sure there are many other similar "local" shows with the same couldn't care less attitude to publicity.

 

The big shows and specialist shows seem to have their act together, are easily remembered from year to year and generally have a more interesting selection of trade and layouts. It is no wonder that when times are hard and the shows visited are limited they are the ones that continue to pull in the punters.

 

Agreed.

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We ensure the full details of the show are listed on every model railway forum we know of and try to get as much info published in magizines in both the news section and diary, as well as making sure that our website is updated as often as possible. ...

 

You may have noticed I have started to post info on Railex 2011 that is just under a year away, our website site will soon be updated with a new page, I think if clubs can't be bothered to promote a show then its unlikely that people to visit.

 

Speaking now with my hat on of someone who's returned to the hobby just over a year ago, it's not just that we have the information on here and other places backed up with information rich websites, it's that it's done in a manner that's likely to encourage visitors. Davis is a member of this forum (as I'm sure he is of others) and contributes widely not just as a promotor of Railex but is 'one of us'. Last year I couldn't go to Railex, it being too close to ExpoEM, but this year I did and was very glad that I could. What I'm saying is that it's not just the promotion, it's that way that the exhibition's promoted that changes the "I'd like to visit that" into "I must visit that" into "I'll move things round so that I make sure I don't miss that" into "Why is it a year until the next one?"

 

Do I know David personally? No. He was pointed out to me at ExpoEM while he was rushing by to lunch or the loo, but I wouldn't recognise him, so I only know him because of his online presence here. But because of his presence here in and the fact that it's not just 'Exhibition' that I believe is part of the success of the promotional activity - he's one of us. That's the power of the web when handled correctly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personaly i dont attend as many small exhibitions as i used to, but for various reasons. 1, the same old layouts tend to be appearing. 2, the time and cost of visiting a small exhib say 1 hour drive away. 3, Trade stands dont appear to be very well stocked at small exhibs, which i guess is understandable due to space constraints. 4, My young son is getting older and finding other intrests and was my excuse to the missus to take him out for the day. I now tend to select with more care the ones i do attend, which are usualy the bigger ones such as Ally Pally, Warley and Railex. Another reason is the amount of layouts that are fantasticaly built, very realistic BUT run a Sunday timetable. The last Exhib i took my wife to, She was bored as were other members of the Joe Public. Hope this bit of a moan helps constructively..

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I must say that ive stopped visiting the local shows for much the same reason as Oggy, its no more than a travelling circus with the same old (and often tired) stuff circulating the 4th and 3rd division shows in the North West as clubs cut the cloth to suit their needs ie, local or club layouts with minimal expenses and a zero hotel budget. The chances of picking up a decent layout for our show are virtually zero, trade is usually uninspiring for me so I spend my time and rapidly diminishing disposable income more profitably.

 

A website is a must - like David Bigcheeseplant I can never resist a gratuitous plug for the showon all the forums, and we are just about to get really into gear to promote our new venue. This will involve drip feeding more and more detail into the exhibition webpage as the weeks go on, rather than a big bang approach:

 

http://www.mmrs.org.uk/exhibition/exhibition.htm

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Hi all

I was looking for the listing of clubs down here in the SW and this has to be the samllest club here "Lundy Railway Modellers" i have been over to Lundy and thier can only be 20 odd folks living on it!blink.gif

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