ISE 2024

21 Mar 2024

International Trade Shows – Why Bother?

by Ian Kirkwood, Operations Manager, Harry the hirer Productions

Is the expense or travel effort to get to overseas trade shows really worth it?

This question is considered by many business leaders in the technical event and integration sectors, with annual reconsideration. Australian domestic trade shows can involve a simple trip interstate but the real effort vs. reward stakes are high with the overseas meccas like ISE, PL+S, LDI, InfoComm, and NAB. These shows can be a gold mine of fresh ideas and supply opportunities, but expect an investment of many tens of thousands of dollars to send staff each year.

The journey to ISE, hosted in Barcelona, takes approximately 30 hours with stopovers that can see attendees sitting bleary-eyed in foreign airports for hours between connections. While Barcelona is a unique location, the pressure to follow through with measurable outcomes and procurement results should counter-balance any sense of extravagance. The 2024 ISE show at Fira Barcelona boasted eight enormous halls of exhibition, product demonstrations and seminars. To put this in scale, the seven halls of exhibition space alone occupied a staggering 166,000 square metres, more than six times the full ICC or MCEC; a lot of ground to cover in the show’s four days.

Despite fatigue from international travel and hiking around 40,000 m2 per day, trade shows produce tangible results for those who stay focused on their target lists and refuse to relax between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm. And then there’s the factory dinners and events that make each day an 18 hour day, but help maximise the investment in attending. Every stand at ISE, from the huge brands to the poorly presented 3 x 3s, can provide niche solutions which can’t be found or sourced from a web browser in Australia.

Harry the hirer Productions has been drawing market leading outcomes from trade shows around the globe for decades. This is not achieved by a technical team junket once a year hidden from business leadership, but a tenacious and eyes-wide-open approach to new equipment ideas. Harry the hirer Production draws strengths from all levels within its team and it’s no different at ISE; led by Harry the hirer Productions’ General Manager, Simon Finlayson, a team of five hit the floor this year and each voice on that team brought vital perspective and ideas.

The relationships that Harry the hirer Productions has grown at ISE and other international trade events have translated to support, growth and ultimately event success long after the events close. Whether we are talking about how to get a piece of gear into Australia or discussing feature development with a manufacturing engineer, supply relationships are formed and maintained at trade shows.

When it comes to investment in technology, tangible market advantages exist for the business leadership who can sustain gear investment strategies, year on year – deliberately and organically. International trade shows are a vital part of that success at Team Harry’s Productions.


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