As you read here on GNN last week, the PGA of British Columbia’s trade show has been cancelled. Such trade shows, with the exception of Alberta, are dropping off the Canadian golf industry landscape.
For years, the shows have been criticized for not providing the return on investment required to make them a viable business decision for exhibitors, who often complained about tire-kicking over buying, or social events and other things that drew buyers off the show floor.
The shows were a big investment in money and time as exhibitors lugged booths and people from one stop to the next across the country each fall, a process that was usually followed by a lengthy bitch session each winter.
Over the years, the shows began to morph from big booth into pipe-and-drape affairs and in retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising where we now find ourselves, even if many in the industry felt it would never come due to the the shows’ importance as revenue streams for the zones.
However, the show season as we knew it not that long ago is history, a fact that begs the question about what happens in the future? Are golf shows even feasible anymore outside of Alberta, where even exhibitors say the culture is business-first at that particular show.
Years ago, a possible solution to the problem that was often mentioned was to hold a much-larger “super show,” perhaps a national event or regional shows, east and west, in which exhibitors would set up for one show only and buyers would come in each year.
The plan was that each zone would receive a cut of the profits based on attendance, but would that plan work today?
For one thing, the buying cycle has changed considerably, particularly in apparel, which is asking for orders much earlier than used to be the case.
Hard goods companies, on the other hand, don’t have their samples ready until later in the year, so which exhibitors would an annual show revolve around? Hard goods or soft goods?
Would people actually make the investment to fly in and stay in a hotel for a two or three-day buying session?
Would all zones agree to it? Alberta, for example, would be reluctant considering the successful show they already run. Why would they want to give that up? Attempts to merge the Alberta and B.C. shows have failed in the past.
Would the same problems occur and would such a show be more of a viewing affair, with buyers still counting on meetings with the company reps to actually place their orders?
We may just getting to a point where dealing with the reps is the only way to do business. However, there are potential problems there, as well.
As mentioned above, apparel companies want their orders much earlier these days, but that also means that golf operation staff are drawn away from their duties during the peak time of the season. Yet, they don’t want to miss out on what could be a hot product the following year.
If dealing with the rep is the solution, that also means no show revenue stream for the zones.
Those are just a few of the challenges with each of the possible alternatives. What do you think?
What’s the best way to do business these days?
What is the best way to do your buying in the future?
- Simply dealing with your company reps one on one. (51%)
- A super-show concept that buyers around the country would attend. (49%)
There’s lot to talk about with this topic, so by all means, let us know your opinion in the Comments section below.