Once again the sun shone brightly when the key players from the UK, and increasingly from overseas, gathered on 6 & 7 April at PestEx 2011 in the Docklands area of London. Certainly judged a great success by all those present, its status as the key international European trade show was confirmed.
Without doubt PestEx went well. The doors opened on day one and the visitors flooded in. What was noticeable though was the ever increasing number of visitors from abroad – and most of these were from the pest control trade – manufacturers meeting distributors, or distributors there to spy out new products to add to their ranges.
Just like the visitors, the exhibitors themselves showed an increasing international representation. And with every stand sold in advance it was good news for the organisers – the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). In total, there were more than 70 exhibitors, over a third of which came from overseas. What is good news is that 20% of all exhibitors were there for the first time – surely an indication of the state of health and innovation within the industry.
As far as exhibition visitors went, the official figures provided by the BPCA shows an increase in total numbers of over a third – from 1,011 in 2009 to 1,632 in 2011. The 2011 figure includes 418 people who came for both days – unfortunately this figure is not available for 2009. In addition, there were 279 registered exhibitor personnel in 2011 compared with 284 in 2009.
As far as trends go within the exhibition, bedbugs were not as omnipresent as they have been in the past. Indicative, surely, as to the way the industry will finally go, were an increasing number of stands promoting digital recording systems for use by pest technicians. Also noticeable were manufacturers, in particular Russell IPM and Agropharm, with smart brand new ranges of retail pest control products – maybe unpopular with the professional sector, but this is certainly in response to the growing opportunities within the DIY market.
On the downside, whilst ExCeL is a top-class purpose- built venue, but PestEx was the one and only show going on within its cavernous portals – resulting in the areas outside the exhibition hall itself lacking any buzz or atmosphere – although reservations at the local hotels were no doubt easier to achieve! Also, you could feel a little sorry for the exhibitors who were solely interested in selling to UK pest controllers – as their presence was noticeable lacking. This only went to reinforce the old saying: ‘PestEx for the international decision makers, PestTech for the practical pesties.’
To sum-up the views of those present,Pestinvited a selection of people to record their feelings in their own words. We commence with BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester:
“This was my first PestEx. I’ve organised many events across different sectors but PestEx is right up there with the best. I was very impressed by the quality and breadth of exhibitors, and the range of UK and international visitors, from technicians keen to improve their knowledge to senior management networking with their peers and suppliers. One delegate I spoke to said they always attend PestEx because of the quality of people to meet – almost everyone who’s anyone is there.”
“The business and practical seminars went down very well with delegates, and the panel discussions often got a good debate going. It’s clear that changes to regulation are uppermost on delegates’ minds. The pest control and the law, and SUD & BPD seminars were both very well attended, as was the one on changes to local authority pest control, demonstrating that pest controllers are looking for new opportunities wherever they arise.”
Views from practical pest controllers
“Pestex was well worth the visit, to see all the new products and to catch up with everyone we haven’t seen for a while. Its a great event, so easy to get to and to park. It was nice to see you and we love the magazine,can’t wait for the next edition.
We would also like to thank everyone at the BPCA for always being so friendly and helpful, look foward to next time.”
From UK manufacturers and distributors
“In terms of the show, London and the venue itself looked fantastic and having all the facilities & the City on your doorstep is a real plus. From a distributor’s point of view, we are happy to travel wherever we need to. One of the most important factors must be ease of access for the majority of those attending.
In terms of visitors, PestEx has become increasingly European and even global over the years – this is a natural reflection on the rapidly changing market, but as primarily a UK-focused and specialist distributor, it does reduce the potential target audience. In terms of whether exhibitions offer value to distributors it’s hard to quantify – what is for sure however is that it’s certainly a great opportunity to talk to lots of customers in a very condensed period of time.”
“Despite the initial slow start on first day, numbers built up to a steady flow by the afternoon of the second day. There was a high proportion of foreign visitors, which while always interesting, are certainly of secondary importance to UK distributors. However, we were able to engage a number of key UK customers in useful discussions. As for value for money, in a challenging economic climate – only time will tell. We found the technical seminar area very noisy and prone to distraction.”
“In what was a busy two days, we were very pleased to see the strong numbers of international contacts present at PestEx, both new and old. There was a lot of interest in Bell’s worldwide involvement in environmental stewardship projects.
“It is 20 years to the month since PestWest Electronics was set up by Mike Kemp and myself as a joint venture and we couldn’t let the occasion go by without celebrating with a birthday cake and some jazz music. The exhibition is always a good way to meet customers and this year was certainly no exception.”
“Manning the NPAP stand for the first time, I was very pleased at the number of visitors who took copies of the guidance documents that we had on display. PestEx also gave us the opportunity to launch the new pest control procedures manual on bedbugs which was very well received both by UK and international visitors.”
And from international exhibitors
“Against a backdrop of economic crisis this event was a success beyond all expectations. PestEx is becoming a worldwide meeting point for the pest control industry having year after year more international visitors”
“There was a good show of high quality visitors. The demand for high quality products is on top.”
As organisers, BPCA should