With over 75 per cent of IOG SALTEX 2010 re-booked for next year, there is no doubt that the rain showers and the London Underground strike on the opening day of this year’s show did little to dampen the spirits of the 400 or so exhibitors and the thousands of visitors or affect the continued success of the UK’s largest annual event for the open space management sector.
‘Quality rather than quantity’ was certainly the theme this year – and there was overwhelming agreement that the 9,000 plus visitors (unaudited footfall) included a high proportion of serious buyers, as Ruth McAdam from Multihog commented: “It was obvious we were dealing with very experienced visitors with real purchasing power.”
She continued: “Attendance on the first day was obviously affected by the weather and the tube strike, but the other days were excellent in terms of the quality of enquiries received. Our stand personnel were busy pretty much without a break on the Wednesday and Thursday and IOG SALTEX was a great success for us.”
That view was echoed by many across the showground, including Wicksteed Leisure, which “took hundreds of sales leads” and David Jenkins, Managing Director of DJ Turfcare. He said the company sold machines during the show and dealt with almost 100 enquiries. "IOG SALTEX was a very good show for us," he said. "We were delighted at the quality of our visitors.
"We look forward to Windsor every year and this year the show has been very successful for us, despite all the gloomy predictions."
Indeed, with all the uncertainty surrounding public spending cuts, it was clear that while local authorities were perhaps fearful of reductions in headcounts they were certainly at the show and continuing the trend to investigate and source equipment and techniques that would make them more effective and efficient in managing their open spaces.
Day one of the show was, of course, the opportune time to pronounce new products and Rigby Taylor left no time in sounding a fanfare for its innovative Impact Gold line marking fluid.
This offers users a number of benefits, including vastly reduced water consumption – and such is the potency of the product that it was also adjudged as the winner of the award for the Design & Supply of Services and Consumables category in the inaugural EDGE (Expo Demo Green Europe) Innovation Awards announced at the close of business on IOG SALTEX’s first day.
While Complete Weed Control (with its innovative Baseguard tree base solution) was runner up in this category, Fleet Line Markers won the award for the category covering the Construction & Maintenance of Open Spaces - with its e-ROK quadrant marker – and E-Power Trucks was runner up with the ALKE XT320E vehicle. The UK winners will now go forward to be judged internationally with the overall winners being announced at this year’s IOG Industry Awards in November.
Continuing the awards theme, the IOG SALTEX Stand Awards were also presented:
- Stands up to 99 m2
Gold – Kernock Park Plants
Silver – CED and KB Industries, joint winners
Bronze – The Native Flora Company.
- Stands 100-149m2
Gold – Trellborg Wheel Systems
Silver – Briggs & Stratton
Bronze – Groundsman Industries.
- Stands 150-199 m2
Gold – Cleveland Site Safe
Silver – Sodexo
Bronze – TYM Tractors.
- Stands 200-299 m2
Gold – Honda UK
Silver – Sanli UK and Amazone, joint winners
Bronze – Overton UK.
- Stands 300-399 m2
Gold – Grillo Agrigarden and Andreas Stihl, joint winners
Silver – Dennis
Bronze – Massey Ferguson.
- Stands 400 m2 and above
Gold – Proludic
Silver – Trilo
Bronze – Timberwolf Wood Chippers.
A special Chief Executive Award was presented to R C Smith.
With a busy programme of outdoor live demonstrations and special feature areas including the BTS-organised World of Arb, the Polaris 4 x 4 off-road course, the Skills Learning Zone and the Teenage Kicks play feature, plus non-stop seminars and lunchtime networking forums offering visitors added value-for money, back out on the showground it was also a case of ‘busy, busy, busy’.
For example, weed control specialist, Progreen, reported healthy sales and a ‘very busy’ stand and, at times, potential customers were queuing!
Charterhouse Turf Machinery’s stand was full of news about new products - “we were pleased to see a wide, diverse range of customers from local authorities, groundsmen, head greenkeepers and dealers alike, providing us with the opportunity to show our complete range to real cross-section of the industry,” said Sales Manager Nick Darking – and the company also brought the audience up to date about the progress of an exciting new online information service concerning the maintenance and management of synthetic playing surfaces.
This new web-based resource, which is scheduled for launch early in 2011, is a joint project between the IOG, Charterhouse Turf Machinery, Tiger Turf, Abacas Lighting and Replay Maintenance.
Meanwhile in the IOG Pavilion, the Institute of Groundsmanship and the Greenkeepers Training Committee officially announced its co-operation over NPTC diplomas/training manual.
With a steady stream of reports during the show (and post-show) commenting on the ‘seriousness’ of the buyers in attendance, Alex Pitt, Sales and Marketing Director at Tracmaster, summed it up: “We have had another successful year at IOG SALTEX, where Tracmaster has exhibited for the past 24 years. We find the quality of visitors is always good.
“There was a steady stream of traffic to our stand this year and we had a good mix of visitors, ranging from local authorities to landscapers. IOG SALTEX is a great place to generate new business, and it also helps us to keep in touch with our existing customers and catch up with people in the industry.
“That’s why we’ve already booked for next year’s event!”
IOG SALTEX 2011 will be held on September 6-8 at Windsor Racecourse, Berks, and will embrace fine turf and sports surfaces, turf maintenance equipment, children’s outdoor play and safety surfacing, landscaping, contractors, commercial vehicles, outdoor leisure and facilities management, as well as software and security equipment. The show is attended by open space management professionals and contractors – from groundsmen and greenkeepers through to play officers, architects, designers and surveyors as well as local authority and outdoor leisure facility managers.