SALTEX surveys offer encouraging feedback

Lucy Nichollsin Association News

The Grounds Management Association (GMA) has revealed its feedback from both the recent visitor and exhibitor surveys that influenced the decision to move SALTEX to November 2021.

Last month the GMA issued two surveys; one to every exhibitor that had signed-up to the 2020 event and one to every visitor - past and present. The aim was to gather industry feedback which could help plan for and shape the future of SALTEX.

When asked which type of show visitors would like to attend, respondents confirmed that, despite the rise in virtual events, nothing can quite replace human interaction as an indoor show proved to be the most popular choice for both 2021 and 2022.

Preferences for 2021

• Indoor show - 86%

• Outdoor show - 27%

• Virtual show -18%

Preferences for 2022

• Indoor - 91%

• Outdoor - 33%

• Virtual - 9%

A key question in the survey asked the best time of year to attend a trade show; November was the first option - followed by October.

• November - 47%

• October - 32%

• February - 30%

• September - 25%

Despite the pandemic it is clear that there remains an appetite for trade shows. Respondents were asked how confident they were on a scale of 0-10 (0 not likely at all, 10 extremely likely) in attending trade shows in the future. An overwhelming 73% voted 7 or above.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Geoff Webb, CEO of the GMA said: "Crucially, we wanted to listen to the industry and give them an opportunity to shape a show that is totally about them, and their needs. It also hugely supported our motivation to reschedule.

"We felt really encouraged by the research which pointed to a continuing demand for an indoor trade exhibition and it was also promising to see November as the preferred date.

There was a reason that we went from an outdoor Summer show to an indoor show, and I think these survey results underline the fact that SALTEX, in its current format, works for the sector."

In addition to a core audience of regular visitors, SALTEX continues to attract new first-time visitors. An encouraging 34% visited SALTEX for the first time in 2019 compared to 28% in 2018, 27% in 2017, 26% in 2016 and 23% in 2015.

SALTEX is appealing more to the younger generation in the industry too, which is further supported by the GMA's wider range of activities. There was an increase of 6% in visitors aged between 16-30 at SALTEX 2019.

Other notable increases have seen a rise in landscapers, local authorities and those working in junior, assistant and deputy positions.

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