Exhibit in the UK
Exhibit in the UK to conquer the European market?
Is the UK really the right entrance gate for the comprehensive European market as the UK business promotion agencies are suggesting so strongly? Well, I would say “Maybe for Bankers and Hedgefonds as well as some Defence Industries but definitely not for the majority of the international industries.
Of course, North Americans may have a certain preference to the UK because of the common language, easier communication and identical historical roots. But UK is an island, the British think like an islander and behave like islanders.
There is no official statistics available about the share of foreign exhibitors and attendees on UK trade shows. But due to my own experience the share of continental European attendees is normally very limited (guess less than 5%), and therefore your chances to conquer the European market by a UK trade show are rather low.
Here some data for yearly net rented exhibition space in the major European exhibition countries for 2012 in million square meters:
Germany 8.7 33.6%
Italy 5.9 22.8%
France 5.7 22.0%
Spain 2.8 10.8%
UK 2.8 10.8%
Those rarely 11% market share show that the UK is definitely not a major player on the European exhibition field and therefore not a sufficient launching pad for any continental Europe market strategies.
Why Should You Exhibit in the UK?
- There are several reasons for exhibiting your business in the UK.
- Presenting your products or services to an English speaking audience within Europe
- Secure favourable grounds for demonstration on that island market
- Setting right environment for driving engagements towards the continent
- Performing research on competition in the UK
- Lastly, building networks of influencers for future growth
Cost for exhibiting in the UK
In terms of cost, exhibiting in the UK is much cheaper than in North American countries. On an average, the cost of installing and dismantling an exhibition booth in the UK is approximately 25 to 50 % less than that of the North American booth. In addition, hiring trade show services to exhibit in the UK is much more cost effective than those in North America.
The cost of hiring labour in the UK is comparatively less than in the USA. The reason behind this is that the unions do not extend their influence on exhibit house facilities and trade show venues. In the UK, trade show employees are paid in terms of set day rate regardless of their job responsibilities. For weekend assignments, the rate is same. Due to standardised payment slab, workers try to complete the tasks as quick as possible. This policy eliminates the issues of weekend labour rates and costly overtime that are prevalent in the American trade show sector.
But UK labour, technical venue services, and show participation fees are definitely more expensive than in most other European exhibition countries.
Finally I want to admit that until today we have never engaged a local UK contractor to build one of our stands on British venues. It was always much more cost-effective and efficient to take a continental stand builder team for building at Birmingham, Farnborough, Glasgow, London or Manchester.
Get Exposed to Multitalented Workforce
Exhibition workers in the UK show multitalented skills. When a trade show is scheduled, the selected workers are supposed to perform tasks of electricians, carpenters, graphic installer and AV technicians. In the UK, a carpenter can assemble booth and can perform plumbing, install electrical equipment, mount graphics, etc as per the project requirements.
Freight Services Available At Venue
Exhibit suppliers can move freight with their personal pallet jacks. This is a recognised practice because there is no teamster union jurisdiction in the UK trade show venues. If you pay a nominal fee, the contractor will provide forklift services in the venue if needed. A show contractor can store or return the empty crates during the exhibition period. If a company owns a small booth, it will be wise to hire an onsite handling contractor for storage and lifts. The cost of such service depends on the venue policies.
Seamless Internet Service
Exhibit organizers provide Internet services at venues. It has been found that hardwired connections are expensive. Nowadays, organizers offer Wi-Fi services during the show, which are more economical.
Hanging Exhibit Signs
In many trade shows, exhibitors are not allowed to hang exhibit signs without seeking permission. In the UK, on request, the organizer will hang exhibit signs free of cost.
One Stop Material Handling Services
Another advantage for taking part in an exhibition in the UK is that you do not need to pay a separate material handling fee. Many UK and continental exhibit houses use their own trucks for fulfilling logistics requirements of exhibitors. These exhibit houses load trucks from their own facility and unload exhibit properties to booth directly with their own workers. Drayage robbery like in the US is completely unknown in the UK and all other European countries.