First of all, we at micenet AUSTRALIA like exhibiting at industry events. It allows our sales people to touch base with their clients and find new ones, and it allows our editorial team to renew old friendships, discover new product suppliers, and find good material to write about.

With those our aims and our reasons for exhibiting at Inspire EX, then this event did all of those things to varying degrees.

If our aims were to increase advertising sales and subscriptions then we’re going to need a bit more time to discover whether this will materialise, and ultimately, whether exhibiting and attending the event was worth our time and money.

No doubt there are many exhibitors who are pondering what the now named Inspire EX has done for them.

In a terrible two days of heavy rain and at a new venue (Sydney Exhibition Centre at Glebe Island) which is certainly not as easy to get to as Darling Harbour, show organiser ETF reported a total of 1721 visitors braved the elements to attend the event, including a smattering of hosted buyers. That significantly lower visitor figure than previous years should be of concern to them. Also of concern should be that exhibitor numbers have also dropped, from more than 200 two years ago to around 150 in 2014. And what is extremely worrying is why wasn’t the local convention bureau – Business Events Sydney – exhibiting or showcasing its city to the buyers who did attend?

Business Events Sydney’s chief executive, Lyn Lewis-Smith, said Inspire EX is a great place for Sydney’s extensive supplier network to engage with buyers and that BE Sydney’s strategic partners and members benefit greatly from this exposure.

“At BESydney our focus is on bidding for and winning international events for Sydney. Face-to-face meetings with international decision makers are an essential part of our business strategy. For this reason, we ensure we are represented at all of the major international trade shows.”

Good vibrations
Exhibitors and participants contacted by micenet AUSTRALIA were generally upbeat about the event, despite the lower visitor numbers.

Director of Simply Great Ideas, Susan Brandie, said the event was very well organised in terms of registration, communication and coordination during the event.

“I think it was a great cross section of exhibitors and great attendance of exhibitors,” she said.

“My favourite seminar/speaker was Ben Angel – very motivational [on] personal branding ideas. I didn’t like that the two seminar rooms were beside each other – [there was] too much noise when both rooms had speakers presenting.

“The venue was great in terms of space and comfort. It didn’t bother me that it was Glebe Island and slightly further to travel. At least it kept us all there all day!”

As a hosted buyer, Susan “loved” the lunch at Centrepoint, catered by Trippas White, and the BridgeClimb experience.

“It was particularly good that I only had a few pre-booked appointments. It gave me the time to talk to exhibitors and learn things I wouldn’t have seen if I had a full diary. I’m looking forward to next year!”

Verve Creative managing director, Rob Frank, an exhibitor at Inspire EX, said they had an excellent show with plenty of business coming out of it for them.

Already show organiser ETF is planning changes for 2015, with MD Gary Daly, admitting a change to the layout will be required to ensure seminars don’t “compete” with each other or with people doing business on the show floor.

“The networking drinks proved to be a hit and this is something we will look to expand next year,” he said.

“Our focus this year was to create a show that inspired you, entertained you, informed you and educated you. Our aim was also to produce a show floor that enabled you to move around easily and engage with clients. It is difficult to develop meaningful relationships if you are ‘speed dating’, but better to get to know the people you are dealing with in a comfortable environment.”

Mr Daly said ETF understood there were improvements that could be made and he reiterated that Inspire EX is here to stay.