It’s been rescheduled twice thanks to Covid, but FIT Show event director, Nickie West, is confident the event will finally return to the NEC this May. Here, she tells Total Installer what makes the show unique and why ambitious installers cannot afford to miss it, now more than ever…
Total Installer (TI): The FIT Show has had two false starts since the pandemic began. With Omicron and the Covid-booster programme dominating the headlines (at time of writing), how confident are you that the show will go ahead as planned, in May?
Nickie West (NW): Whilst I don’t have the power of a crystal ball to predict the future, I am very confident that FIT Show 2022 will go ahead in May as planned. There may be differing restrictions around face coverings, vaccination passports and sanitisation, but these will be nothing new to our audience, who are learning to live with the virus, and we will respond and advise on our safety measures accordingly at the time.
TI: Will visitors require a vaccine passport?
NW: At this stage, I simply cannot confirm what the entry requirements will be. We will continue to keep a close eye on the government guidelines, as well as those of industry trade bodies such as the Association for Events Organisers. The NEC has its own Covid rules and regulations so we will of course be working closely with and guided by the venue at the time. So much can change between now and May, but we are confident that the spring climate, excellent vaccine and booster roll-out and the resilience of our industry all point to a very successful return in May.
TI: What are you most looking forward to about the FIT Show 2022?
NW: Seeing and celebrating with everyone! It will have been three years since the last FIT Show and as we have seen from events such as the Glazing Summit, Glass Times Race Day and G-Awards, our industry loves to get together in the flesh, network, celebrate and do business together.
I’m also really excited about seeing the latest products up close. So many of our exhibitors have continued to innovate during lockdown and I am anticipating that FIT Show 2022 will showcase more new products and developments than any previous event. What’s great is that installers will be able to see, touch, play and compare all of these products side by side, under one roof, for the first time in three years!
TI: In a nutshell, why should installers take time out from their busy schedules to visit?
NW: Where else can you find all of the latest products on the market under one roof? Where else can you speak directly to manufacturers en masse? FIT Show delivers all of this..
When FIT Show opens in May, we’ll be bringing every link in the fenestration industry back together. Besides new products there will be seminars and sessions to help installers become more profitable. A trip to FIT will help them to do better business.
TI: What is one thing installers visiting the FIT Show should not miss?
NW: My biggest tip for installers would be to plan their visits. Registering early will ensure that they are on our visitor line-up, which means they’ll be first to hear about exclusive show offers and discounts. We’ll also keep them informed about the latest news and updates in the run up to the show, and send hints and tips on maximising their time at the event itself.
Secondly, I would urge them to look out for our ‘Installer Trail’ once they’re at the show. This will guide them to the exhibitors that have new products and installer-specific offers.
We’ll also have a trail for ‘New Products’ and our brand new ‘Outdoor Living’ feature with complementary products to add to [installers’] core portfolios.
TI: Other than visiting stands, what else is there to do at the FIT Show?
NW: FIT Show is about so much more than new products. Yes, visiting stands and seeing the latest products is a primary reason to attend, but having every link in the supply chain under one roof means that visitors can network, speak directly to manufacturers, connect with colleagues and suppliers old and new.
FIT Show is a one-stop shop for all of your supply chain needs, both now and in the future.
TI: What happens after hours?
NW: We’ll be keeping the doors open until 8pm on Wednesday 11th May for our late-night offering. Visitors will be able to come along after a day on the tools, or make an extended trip with the extra time to network and celebrate with our exhibitors who will be hosting mini events on their stand.
The late night will take on an informal party atmosphere and replaces our traditional Gala Dinner which we felt was outdated.
TI: When did you first get involved with the FIT Show?
NW: I was brought on board as a freelance operations director by FIT Show co-founders Matthew Glover and Paul Godwin right back at the show’s inception in 2011, ahead of its launch in 2013.
They both had an abundance of fenestration industry experience, vital connections and business acumen – but let’s just say that launching and running trade shows is a skill-set that is an absolutely vital component to creating successful exhibitions. That’s why they appointed me, as my career in exhibitions spans more years than I care to recount!
We played to each other’s strengths and worked together to produce an incredible debut show, the success of which we continue to build on today.
TI: How does the FIT Show compare to other events you’ve worked on?
NW: FIT Show really is a show like no other, and that is because of the sense of community within this industry. People are so loyal and protective of the FIT Show brand and see it as their show. I love the passion and dedication of our exhibitors and visitors, it’s second to none.
TI: It’s almost 10 years since the FIT Show was first launched back in 2013. How do you think the show has changed and developed over the last decade?
NW: When we launched FIT Show, it was our ambition to bring together all of the companies who could help determined, passionate and forward-thinking installers in one place. This hasn’t changed. Yes, we’ve grown, but FIT Show is fundamentally still the same platform that we set out for it to be.
FIT Show grows to reflect the changes in the industry – when we launched it was primarily a PVC-U show, now there is a significant representation of aluminium, timber, smart tech, software and hardware.
FIT Show is the place where all the best products, services, ideas, innovations and concepts to support the ambitious installer can be accessed during just one day of their time. A visit to FIT Show still aims to help visitors to create more prosperous, successful and progressive businesses.
TI: What’s the future for FIT Show? Do you think it will still be around in another 10 years’ time?
NW: Wow, that’s a really tough question and would rely on my having that elusive crystal ball again! However, what I can say – as a person who has worked in the exhibition industry for more decades than I would like to disclose! – is FIT Show is a unique beast.
2023 will mark a decade since our launch and we’re already putting the wheels in motion to make sure that we do FIT Show justice when we celebrate this special landmark.
There is great affection towards the brand from every corner of the industry – which I hope will stand the test of time. And it’s my job, alongside our stakeholders, to ensure that I steer the ship in the right direction to meet the needs of the industry – both now and in the future.
We’re constantly looking at ways to evolve our proposition, to grow and diversify. That said, there are so many elements of the FIT Show formula which just work and we will be playing to these strengths when we return with FIT Show 2022 in May.
Visiting the FIT Show is free. If you’d like to register to attend, go to www.fitshow.co.uk or scan the QR code.