PestTech 2017 – the jury’s out…

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After more years than most of us care to remember, the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) took the brave move of relocating PestTech to a new venue – to the Ricoh Arena near Coventry. And with this came a slight change of date – simply to a week later.
In pest control, it’s a well known fact that rodents are neophobic – but to the list of species afraid of new locations, judging by some of the reactions to the move, pest controllers can also be added! But having taken the plunge and reset the SatNav to the Ricoh their fears were largely overcome.

Declared a great success
Without doubt, PestTech 2017 was a great success and all credit should go to the NPTA team, led by Julie Gillies, who masterminded the move. On the day, virtually without exception, exhibitors and visitors were impressed. All the exhibition stands were in one light and airy hall and for the visitors these were easy to navigate – unlike the ‘friendly crush’ at the Motorcycle Museum. Professional pest control certainly put its best foot forward and presented a professional industry.

According to the organisers, visitor numbers were over the 1,000 mark – but around 80 down compared to 2016, which apparently is to be expected for any well established event at a new venue. Visitors, as to expected, came from nearby but not exclusively – some came from as far away as north of Inverness.

Visitor registration worked well, especially if you had pre-registered as all you did was pop your bar coded acceptance email into the machine and out shot a smart two-sided delegate badge.

Good food and somewhere to sit
The catering was good with a choice of two retail stations and there were adequate places to sit & enjoy your refreshments. For those who made their way upstairs to the seminar room for the topical talks, they discovered there were loads of empty tables and chairs which could easily have been used for private business meetings – a facility always in short supply at the Museum.

Topical seminars
The seminars covered where the industy was moving to and technical subjects such as the problems of controlling mice in the food industry, changes surrounding aluminium phosphide, flies in waste and non-native species.

Add to this the friendly and very helpful support staff on duty at the Ricoh, plus the large free car parking area, this made driving to the venue an easy option for technicians in their vans. However, fathoming out how to get your parking ticket validated at the end of the day did stretch the brain buds somewhat.

Several questions thrown-up…
If you are a technician, particularly if based in the Midlands, and want to drive to an event and, if this is the only large event you attend, PestTech was great. But for those who also attend PestEx, for example, the differences between these two events blur. As one exhibitor put it; “PestTech had its own unique charm,” but by upping their game and moving to the Ricoh, the NPTA has effectively become a one-day PestEx. However, it was pleasing to see that the unique collection of exhibitors always present at previous PestTech events was still in evidence – for example the snake, bat, bird and taxidermy stands!

PestTech or PestEx – the differences blur
One thing that was missing though, was the outdoor demonstration events. These have always been a great feature of PestTech and were well attended. One has to smile though, in the interim years to PestEx, the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has been putting on its one-day PPC Live events at an easy to drive to, out of London venue. For their 2018 event, to be held in March in Malvern, the seminar programme has already been published – and guess what – it includes four very topical outdoor demonstrations! Is it really not possible for the two associations to get together and agree a common strategy?

As is always the way, there were several organisational gripes. Numerous exhibitors commented on the lateness of the required exhibition forms and certainly advance information on the web, including registration for visitors, was either late or attracted criticism.

More expensive
By moving to a much more professional venue, the cost of everything was greatly increased – everything from the price of refreshments to the charges for the stand electricity supply – £600 for three electrical sockets, for example.

As a rule of thumb, exhibitors claimed the cost of exhibiting had doubled – they wondered if their payback in custom had also doubled? Having put in all the work on professional stands, should the event be extended to two days – or would the same number of visitors simply be spread over those two days? Who knows?

RegistrationRegistration was quick and easy especially if
you had pre-registered

Exhibition HallThe exhibition was all in one light and airy room
with plenty of space in the aisles

Seminars Edited 1The seminars were well attended but were some
way from the exhibition hall

OwlsIt wouldn’t be a PestTech event without the
birds of prey displays!

SnakeNor the snakes which fortunately pest controllers rarely encounter in the UK


It was good to see that even despite the stresses and strains, Julie managed to retain her sense of humour!

As for the future…
Quite what NPTA is going to do next is still undecided. No dates, and even no venue, has been agreed for 2018.

NPTA has already had to shift from its traditional first week of November, as the Ricoh has signed a contract with the snooker for these dates. Going a week later posses another problem as the big French event, Parasitec, which is held in Paris alternate years, is already booked for 14-16 November 2018. This may not cause a problem for most of the visitors, but it does create huge headaches for the exhibitors, and also the Pest team, who can’t be in two places at the same time.

So, as they say, watch this space and as soon as a final decision is made, Pest will report it.

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