That's it for another year then

So the dust has settled on another Gitex; I hope you all had a prosperous and constructive show.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  October 20, 2001

So the dust has settled on another Gitex; I hope you all had a prosperous and constructive show. The show floor was undeniably quieter this year, although many exhibitors told me that the visitors were of a far superior quality.

Some have suggested that the twenty dirhams entrance fee may have been enough to filter out the pen collectors; others that because the show was not so crowded that it gave them more time to talk to prospects properly.

The only noticeable effect of the ongoing war in Afghanistan was the heightened security on the door, and although some may have complained at having to wait an extra few minutes to get into the show, the DWTC should be congratulated for making sure the measures were in place and enforcing them.

Computer Shopper was also hailed as a success, claiming to have attracted 54,000 visitors over the course of last week. There were plenty of deals on offer, although I couldn’t help think that if I was paying to get in to an exhibition I would rather pay twenty dirhams for Gitex and everything it has to offer, than fifteen dirhams for Shopper which offers little more than a technology souk (and the T2 girls of course...)

More details about Gitex Riyadh were revealed last week too. As expected, the show, which will run in April, is intended to provide a local version of the show, with Dubai still handling the region. Riyadh will also feature a separate shopper show, and an e-government conference will be tied in. The aim is to offer an altogether wider experience to the attendees.

Which brings me to my point—exhibiting at these shows is expensive. Many companies this year were looking for a presence, without the expense of a stand. There is a need to be seen at Gitex, which is much more to do with maintaining a profile in the market to guard confidence than it is about actually doing business. For distributors especially, the vendors are already there with the same solutions on offer. Being at Gitex to talk to you partners and prospects doesn’t have to mean having a stand stuffed with boxes.

In the past, lots of people came to Dubai for Gitex looking for a bargain, rather than to do business. As the show improves its focus to a purely business-based attendance, is there any need to have Computer Shopper at the same time? Some companies had three stands to handle both shows—would they be better served if Shopper was held as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival—which would give a full month’s worth of selling, and not divide their resources?

In terms of timing, Shopper provides an opportunity to clear stocks before the end of year rush, but I think that given a few more ideas for entertaining guests, like Sony’s demonstrations of home entertainment equipment at Gitex, that Shopper could really stand on its own.

The idea of combining a conference with the trade show for Riyadh is an interesting one. OK, many companies go to Gitex looking for distributors or resellers, and as a showcase for products, you need to get a closer look at the equipment. But Gitex is not purely about the hard sell. One of the biggest problems for the press at Gitex is that there are so many companies making announcements that many important ones are overlooked.

The communication element of trade shows in general needs to be refined, and the introduction of break out conferences, to give the industry a wider idea of what is happening and a forum for talking seems like a step in the right direction. Trade shows need to balance trade, and the business intelligence to manage trade.

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