The SALTEX 2018 post-show visitor survey has revealed that an overwhelming amount of attendees felt that it was the best and most vibrant show to date.
SALTEX at the NEC, Birmingham has again proved to be the annual meeting place for the UK and European groundscare industries. Only at SALTEX does the industry have the opportunity to experience a comprehensive overview of the latest developments and innovations in groundscare and to find out about the capabilities of this sector.
Following two days of networking, education and innovation, the 73rd annual exhibition closed with an independently audited, visitor total of 8,902.
Visitors attended from 44 different countries and according to the findings of this year’s visitor survey, these attendees included grounds personnel, greenkeepers, landscapers and contractors.
The event organisers are very pleased to hear that 90 per cent of visitors, who took part in the survey, were successful in meeting their show objectives and equally as many rated their overall show experience as either very good or excellent and no less than 90 per cent of visitors have already put SALTEX 2019 into their diaries, which takes place at the NEC from 30-31 October.
Survey respondents said that their top priorities for attending were to source new products/services and suppliers (79 per cent) and discover new innovations (77 per cent). More than 47 per cent used their visit for professional development by attending show features such as the Learning LIVE education programme, Ask the Expert and the Job Clinic.
More than half of the survey respondents held a leading or management position at their respective companies, with 84 per cent either having sole responsibility for purchasing or contributed to the process. In addition, 65 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts up to £50,000 and 12 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts of more than £500,000.
The survey findings also revealed that SALTEX visitors had very specific interests: almost 80 per cent attended to find out more about machinery, power and hand tools for their daily work and nearly half of the visitors were interested in seed, turf and aggregates. More than 38 per cent of visitors wanted to see exhibitors representing both sport surfaces and facilities and landscaping materials. Other areas of interest included: arboriculture, horticulture and forestry (37 per cent); commercial vehicles, tyres and trailers (33 per cent); synthetic turf (24 per cent) and security, personal protection, health and safety (18 per cent).
Vic Demain, head groundsman at Durham CCC, believes that the show is well attended because it caters for everyone in the industry: “I consider SALTEX to be the best show in the industry and it is ideal for everyone to come to, whether you are a volunteer, a professional or an international groundsman - there is something for everyone,” he said.
For Adam Witchell, head groundsman at Forrest Green Rovers FC, attending SALTEX provides him with a great opportunity to continue his learning. “For me it’s all about education. I love the seminars and here at SALTEX I’m learning lots of things from great people in this industry. It is a fantastic event, there is some absolutely brilliant machinery on display and a good range of exhibitors.”
Alison Saxby, estate team leader at Workington Town Council also thought the opportunity to enhance her knowledge was a top priority for attending SALTEX: “I like the live talks because they keep you abreast of the current regulations and new innovations,” she said.
With the NEC being located in the centre of the UK and boasting fantastic travel links, it is no wonder that 85 per cent rated the accessibility of the venue as excellent. Stuart Kerrison, head groundsman at Essex CCC said: “The NEC is so easy to get to. I attended to look at a couple of new machines because this is where you see all of the latest innovations. Anyone who attends SALTEX gets so much from it - from viewing new products, attending seminars and networking,” he said.
Benjamin Imamovic, assistant groundsman at FK Željezničar Sarajevo, believed that his journey to SALTEX was certainly worthwhile.
“It’s awesome; I came all the way from Bosnia and Herzegovina to see all of the new machines and learn something new and I am amazed.”
SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.