Getting the most from attending SPATEX.

Over 100 companies will be exhibiting at SPATEX 2013 and they will be planning on making the most of the event. How do you, as an attendee or visitor, make the most of it?

SPATEX 2013.

SPATEX is in its 17th year and remains the UK’s largest dedicated wet leisure event.

Manufacturers, distributors and suppliers will be taking stands to show off their products and their knowledge and, of course, hopefully get your business.

There will be speakers and workshops, new product launches, demonstrations and Gala dinners. It’s a chance to meet old colleagues, network with new contacts and immerse yourself in the ebb and flow of the wet leisure industry.

There will be a lot to see and a lot to do, so if you are going to attend, how do you make sure that you get the most out of it?

Plan your visit.

Everyone is aware that exhibitors will make thorough plans before SPATEX but perhaps you, as a visitor, should do the same?

You might be going just for the day or staying in Brighton for the whole show. Whatever your intentions, you will find that the time goes by quicker than you had anticipated.

It’s important that you focus on meeting the most useful people for your business and visit the stands that you most want to see.

So make a list.

You should be able to make appointments in advance with exhibitors so that you can be sure to have the meetings that you want and get the information and make the contacts that you need.

The schedule of workshops and demos has already been posted on the SPATEX site, so note the ones that you want to listen to and start to organise a diary for your time in Brighton that will make sure you don’t accidently miss something important.

Take a big pile of business cards. Then take more.

Every exhibitor you talk to will ask for your card. Every new contact you make will want a card. You can never have too many cards with you.

If you have any literature about your business, you might want to take some copies of that along as well.

Yes, the exhibitors will have tons of stuff to hand out but SPATEX is about networking as much as anything else and that means that you should be prepared to give out information as much as receive it.

Decide what you want to achieve.

Certainly there is a social side to SPATEX and it is great to meet up with familiar faces but in the present economic climate, none of us can afford to attend simply out of habit or just to ‘have a few beers’.

New trends, new products and new information.

That’s what you are looking for, and with that in mind, it’s important that you are in the right ‘frame of mind’.

It’s easy to assume that you know what a certain supplier or manufacturer is all about – but perhaps the reason that they are exhibiting at SPATEX is to show off something new?

What are the issues that your particular business is facing?

Have a look through the exhibitor list and see who might be able to help you.

Do you need a supplier with better technical support and back up or do you need to be able to offer your customers the very latest products and designs.

Do you want to explore the possibilities of diversifying? Perhaps you want to offer saunas alongside your present pool range. SPATEX can give you a feel as to how easily that could be achieved and whether that would sit well with your business.

To have representatives of almost the entire UK wet leisure industry under one roof is a great opportunity but you need to be focussed to get the most from it.

A few things to avoid.

Don’t expect to ‘do’ the whole show in a day.

There is an incredible amount to take in at SPATEX and that’s why being focussed is so important.

There are significant advantages to attending for a couple of days.

If you do arrange meetings and appointments before the show, then giving people a choice of two dates makes it far more likely that you’ll be able to spend a reasonable amount of time with the exhibitors you need to talk to.

Don’t be afraid of being ‘cornered’ by an exhibitor and don’t be shy.

Remember, you are there to meet new people and see new things. Chance conversations and unexpected meetings can produce invaluable results; so ‘focussed’ rather than ‘blinkered’. If the conversation isn’t providing you with anything your business needs, be polite but move on.

And the last thing to avoid may well be the most important.

Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes.