16 July 2024, 22:03
By Furniture News Sept 28, 2023

Exhibition organiser halts business-matching system rollout

Spring and Autumn Fair and Glee, owned by Hyve Group, has announced that its connections programme Connect will not be running in 2024, while the business collaborates with the industry and key partners to create better shows and experiences for the future.

The closing day of this year’s Autumn Fair saw exhibitors take to the aisle at the front of Hall 20 to voice their displeasure at the performance of the new business-matching system. A compulsory element of the exhibitor package, Connect was designed to enable visiting buyers to pre-book meetings with exhibitors before and during the show, but many exhibitors were frustrated by the perceived lack of uptake, meetings and results it generated at launch (see related).

Nicola Meadows, divisional MD at Hyve (pictured), says: “I would like to thank our exhibitors for reaching out to us with their candid feedback on this year's Autumn Fair. As a business, our purpose is to help our customers to succeed by helping them meet with new and existing buyers. We understand better than most that face to face is the best way to make meaningful business connections, discover new products, and build relationships in the world of retail. We don’t take our responsibility - to help this community thrive - lightly. We know how important these shows are to the sector, much of which is made up of independent businesses which are the pride of the nation.

"I recognise that, during what are increasingly challenging times for everyone in retail, the introduction of Connect did not add value in the way we expected it to. Whilst for most the Autumn Fair was successful and produced great outcomes, it is clear that Connect became a distraction and cause of disruption. Up to now, our shows have been highly reliant on an analogue format which has remained the same for decades. We introduced Connect with the aim of improving how buyers and sellers do business at our events in a way which makes the most of time and resources. We hold our hands up that we fell short on executing this at Autumn Fair. For that reason, we will not be running Connect in 2024 at Spring Fair, Autumn Fair or Glee.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers again for their patience during this time and the continued support of these historic shows. We have listened to what they have to say, and we care about getting this right.”

Looking ahead, Nicola says there is an opportunity to provide the industry with "a considerably better show" which delivers increased ROI through the smart use of data and technology. Committed to innovating and finding ways to improve the show while making an increased effort to keep exhibitors and visitors at the heart of its decision making, Hyve has announced the introduction of working groups to help shape the future of the shows. Exhibitors and buyers are invited to get involved to share their views and opinions by emailing [email protected].

Exhibitors have been contacted with full details on the adjustments to fees and contract details relating to both Spring and Autumn Fair 2024.

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