Given the degree of unrest in the trade regarding LAMMA’s proposed date shift to May this year, Agrimachinery.trade decided to ask the industry for its views. And boy did we get them!
The questionnaire was sent out to over 2000 recipients, 30 responses from last weeks questionnaire (whilst not particularly significant remember, given the total number of exhibitors) representing international and UK manufacturers, it is at the least a worthwhile dipping of the toe into the sentiment of the industry.
Of the respondents, all bar two were current exhibitors. Most of the responses were in support of LAMMA, but there was a degree of subtlety to that support.
There is overwhelming support for a winter machinery show, all respondents like the January timing.
Reasons cited include the seasonality of exhibitor’s products, stock and labour availability for the stands and customers attendance.
To quote a couple:
“Since the demise of Smithfield, we need a winter show.”
“ LAMMA is the premier ag show in the UK. The timing in January is perfect for the buying customer and our company, we have stock available and the time to be there.”
Whilst there is enthusiasm for LAMMA in January, several respondents tempered their keenness with a nod to the expense:
“We don’t exhibit at LAMMA, value for money is the main reason. Stand prices were becoming increasingly expensive and the return on investment was difficult to justify.”
“Since the show has been at the NEC.. we have seen a significant rise in footfall and it is our busiest show of the year. Correspondingly it is also by far and away the most expensive.”
The new date
Moving onto the move to May. Across the board there is a reluctance to change dates, all respondents are not keen on LAMMA running in May. Whilst there is some pragmatism in accepting that exhibitors will ‘have to make it work’ most have reservations.
Many respondents accept and understand the reason for the change, but also have reservations about effectively supporting two LAMMA events within one financial year, and how that impacts their event budgets. “I’m also frustrated .. that there will be another LAMMA in Jan 23, only 7 months after the May event.”
Comment was also made regarding the need for staff and stand contractors to work through the bank holiday weekend for the May date.
One January exhibitor will not be supporting the May date as its too close to other existing shows, with “few of our target customers and dealers attending.” Another said “Not happy. Every customer I have spoken to since has said they are too busy during May, so they won’t be attending.”
Some feel that they are in a stand-off with the organisers, having booked, committed, and paid for a January show, they now feel that they must attend a May event or lose the investment. “It’s not what we signed up for” to quote one respondent
These centre around the conflicting demands of adjacent, established events, the reduced footfall of customers at an already busy time of year and some resentment of having a new date thrust upon exhibitors.
There is a degree of realism amongst several of the responses, that the circumstances of the date change are extraordinary, and that exhibitors will have to just make the most of it.
One arable technology provider is happy with the new date, in their words “only the serious decision makers will turn up, with everyone else out farming.” They are keen to capitalise on the reduced footfall with their offer.
A note of caution
Several respondents feel on the horns of a dilemma, with one stating “we still plan to go ahead as normal in May, however if other manufacturers start to pull out, our view on the show will change and we would consider the potential of pulling out as well.”
So, there you have it, as expected a wide range of opinions from the lovers and the loathers. Some pragmatic acceptance of a difficult one-off situation, alongside some febrile comments from others who feel aggrieved. Just remember with LAMMA, it may be a case of ‘use it or loose it’ . Those with a long memory will remember the rapid demise of the Royal Smithfield Show, followed by a lot of industry carping about there being no decent indoor winter machinery show. Ring any bells? Time will tell.