PestEx just gets bigger and better

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All those who made the journey to ExCeL to attend, or exhibit, at PestEx 2017 came away happy. The effort was certainly considered worth it. Held on 22 & 23 March, at ExCeL in East London, this now seems the established home for the event, as it is the sixth time it has been located here.

BPCA hits lucky with the weather, but…
Another surprising fact is, despite its even earlier date in the year, it always seems to be good weather for this event! What no-one could forecast, or foresee, was the shocking terrorist attack during the afternoon of day one, not more than a few miles down the road in the heart of London – at Westminster. Shocking certainly, but despite fears amongst the organisers, this seemed to make little difference to day two delegate numbers. About the only obvious manifestation was increased security when arriving at Canary Wharf for the gala dinner and the British Pest Management Awards awards ceremony. In true Brit style – it was a case of ‘just get on with it.’

Numbers transparent
In these days of bar coded and scanned delegate badges it’s easy to track the actual number of people attending. Historically organisers from such events were happy to produce a figure of total attendees, but one blanket figure always begs the question – what does this include? Are exhibitors included (usually yes, as this increases the numbers) but what about those people who attend each day, do they count twice etc? To their credit the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has been totally transparent with the figures. BPCA is justifiably claiming it to be the largest gathering of pest management professionals in the UK, but maybe not Europe, as Parasitec held in Paris last November recorded 2,957 – albeit over the three days of their exhibition.

In total, over the two days 2,641 people passed through the entry doors. Of these 498 were exhibitors and 11 speakers or press. Of these remaining 2,132 people, 1,146 were visitors on the first day, 699 came on day two of which a massive 287 people were returning for the second day. Meaning, with exhibitors excluded, there were 1,856 individual visitors.

The depth of the seminar programme may well have brought people back on the second day. But most likely it was because it was neigh impossible to get around all the exhibitors in one day only, whilst also picking-off the odd seminar or two to attend.

Exhibitors from far and wide…
In total there were 106 exhibitors coming from all corners of the globe, this compares with 92 in 2015, some 15% more. This year PestEx had moved to an alternative hall in ExCeL which was 7% larger than before at 2,860m2. So successful had the sale of exhibition stands been, particularly to overseas companies, the overall plan had been amended at least a couple of times to accommodate these additions. But, this resulted in somewhat small aisles between the stands and, at busy times, a virtual log-jam of people. This was virtually the only negative to report, other than moans from exhibitors as to the cost, particularly of any extras required on their stands. Having said that, exhibitors virtually to a man, were more than happy with the quantity and quality of the visitors – so not too a high price to pay!

What new was spotted?
Compared to most of the similar exhibitions attended recently around the world there was lots new to see. Sorry readers, you will have to wait until our next Pest magazine edition (issue 50, due out in early May) for our review of the new products spotted.

There were two trends reported on from other events which were equally represented at PestEx. First, the increasing number of companies selling digital management and reporting systems, plus virtually every new gadget or widget has to have some sort of digital monitoring device. Second, the range of non-toxic and bio-friendly products continues to grow – being something of a cynic – is this because registration for ‘traditional’ chemical-based products takes so long and is so expensive, so manufacturers seek out quick-to-market ‘natural’ ones, or is this a genuine trend demanded by consumers of pest control services? Or, more likely, a bit of both!

One negative though. As commented on before, nearly 10% of exhibitors came from the Far East. Pleased to see them as we are, one worrying observation was that on one of the stands selling electronic fly killers (EFKs) you could easily have thought you were seeing models manufactured by the leading EFK companies in Europe. This was not the case. What were on display were cheaper clones of the European machines.

The final word 
So, fittingly, to round-off this review, the last word goes to BPCA chief executive, Simon Forrester who said: “PestEx continues to grow, both in terms of size and attendance. It was great to see so many professionals represented at the show, from directors of both smaller and larger companies, sole traders and consultants, to technicians, surveyors, and even the guys in the office. Initial feedback from those that attended has been extremely positive, and now it’s on us to make PestEx even better in 2019.”

General Cat

General Feet WebIf lost, follow the BPCA footprints…

General Coffee Area WebTake a break in the strategically placed coffee lounge

General Bowling WebPlenty to try your hand at… bowling with Goliath Gel

General Shooting WebOr aiming for discounts with Babolna Bio 

General JanSadly its farewell for Jan Johnson of Dewberry Redpoint – seen above with her husband, Vince. For many years, Jan has done an excellent job looking after the exhibitor bookings and promoting the event, particularly internationally. Jan will be managing PPC Live in 2018, but for PestEx 2019 this task will be taken in-house by BPCA.

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