In its third outing the show’s 45 exhibitors attracted a record attendance of 863 visitors (an increase of 15% on 2009) with a small number also visiting from Europe. Visitors came primarily from the public sector, with parish councils, local authorities and education well represented while around 300 individuals came from businesses within the private sector including landscape architects, leisure centre/facility managers and specialist contractors.
Deborah Holt from the Association of Play Industries noted: “I’m thrilled with the success of the third PlayFair, especially with the show moving to a larger location within Stoneleigh Park – proving to be a good decision and beneficial to our 40+ member exhibitors. One visitor expressed how the exhibition was a ‘real eye opener' for her and once again we were blessed with glorious English weather over the two days.”
Neil Hancock, from the trade magazine Landscape & Amenity says: “I only spent the one day at the event which was around 30% up in size on the previous year. I think that the show is on the way to establishing itself as a stand alone event and it was encouraging that the exhibitor numbers were up on 2009 in the midst of a recession. Having said that although I haven't seen any visitor numbers it did feel quiet and I think the seminar programme was a bit light-weight.
All in all a good first two years but I do feel that the much greater visitor numbers attracted to the Saltex Exhibition at Windsor in September will continue to be the main enquiry generator for the Play Industry.
With regard to PlayFairs in the future, the recent changes to government funding of the sector, I do feel, will impact on future events. The play sector in the UK has been driven over the past 4/5 years by around £250m worth of funding which is no longer ring fenced.”
Exhibitors reported a busy show with plenty of good leads. Lisa Dillon, marketing manager for Sutcliffe Play, commented: “The visitors to our stand were our customers or potential customers mostly from Local Authorities, Landscape Architects, & Schools. We wanted to launch new products and it gives us the opportunity to speak to our customers face to face. We can also see what our competitors are selling. PlayFair 2010 proved to be a great success for Sutcliffe Play. This show was a launch pad for a number of new products for us and all received a great deal of interest from visitors to our stand. The Pod youth shelter in particular, with its Bluetooth technology kept us very busy, and we were very encouraged by the response to this. We also felt that the site of the show this year gave a much more open feel to the event.”
Michael Hoenigmann, managing director at Proludic, added: “Proludic were proud to support PlayFair for the third consecutive year. It’s a great showcase for our industry giving an opportunity to display the variety of materials used to create imaginative play solutions for 21st century children. Customers were able to see a huge variety of products, brought to life by local children, and talk to experts with a wide range of skills about projects they were currently working on.”
Exhibitors are already looking forward to next year’s event. Trevor Markham, managing director at Park Leisure, said: "The PlayFair exhibition has extremely high quality trade visitors and is unique in that it's the only exhibition where children of different age groups are bussed in to try out the equipment in situ. - We have already booked our stand for PlayFair 2011."
Next year, PlayFair will take place at Stoneleigh Park on 21st and 22nd June 2011.
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