Hyve responds to Connect at Autumn Fair criticism, freezing decisions for 28 days

Hyve Group, organiser of Autumn Fair, is taking on board the ill feelings from exhibitors concerning its new Connect meetings initiative that officially launched at this week’s four-day show (3-6 September).

Having invested heavily in what was hailed as a ‘game changer’ by the exhibition organiser, Connect’s premise promised to bring exhibitors and retail buyers together for mutually beneficial pre-arranged timed meetings.

However, a combination of the compulsory imposed cost of Connect for exhibitors, the time-consuming preparation required by both exhibitors and retailers and unfortunately a poor level of retail buyers showing up for the arranged meetings resulted in exhibitors feeling increasingly disgruntled by the new initiative, which culminated in a protest by over 100 exhibitors in Hall 20 at the show on the last morning

Recognising the strength of ill-feeling, following the protest, members of the Autumn Fair team met with a group of exhibitors to not only listen to the concerns, but also to promise a 28-day freeze during which time the key issues will be considered.

Nicola Meadows, Hyve’s divisional managing director, said: “I really appreciated speaking to the group of exhibitors this morning who shared their thoughts and feelings about the onsite experience, the delivery, and outcomes of Connect and the general feel across the show floor.

“We have listened and were able to have a constructive conversation and would like to reassure all our exhibitors that while we evaluate the overall show, gain further feedback, and follow up with each of them, their location and rates will not change. In the meantime, will not be increasing rates and the onsite offer will be frozen for the next 28 days.”

Among the companies at Autumn Fair from a party product perspective was Henbrandt, who told PartyWorldwide.net: “We do understand that all businesses must look for new revenue streams and offer their clients new products to work with. However we do feel that we need further clarification and guidance as to how Connect can add to our traditional method of operating a trade show, whereby we’ll already have set pre-arranged appointments, drop-on appointments as well as passing traffic – all of which is included in the price we pay for our stand.

We remain open to hearing more about how best to utilise the tool with clear detail on what we can expect by way of return on investment; as a forward-focussed company we are all-ears, but also busy doing what we do best at trade shows and will never want to lose valuable time with new and existing customers on the show floor.”


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