Could SDUK 2022 be your first face-to-face industry networking opportunity since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic? Here’s what you can expect if you’re heading to the Birmingham for the event NEXT MONTH.
The last SDUK was in 2019, before Covid-19 took its toll. But well before the pandemic hit, people were asking questions about the event’s future, with a new organising team put in place to deliver what they promised would be “a fresh show with a new website, new layout, new features and new stand options”. At the time we spoke with then new event director Jenny Matthew to get her take on what needed to happen to make the next show the ‘must attend’ event it had been recognised as within the UK show calendar for so many years. Big plans were put in place but, like events the world over, Covid put pay to those being realised in 2020. So will the 2022 event prove a convincing come-back?
Well, firstly, at the time of writing - two months out from the show’s opening - UK trade shows were still being cancelled/postponed, but Matthew stressed that SDUK 2022 would “absolutely” go ahead. “We’ve had such positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors and they can’t wait for the show to open. We’re in the ‘busy’ phase of getting everything ready. Pre-reg went live before Christmas and so far we’ve had a phenomenal response and are tracking 48% ahead compared to the same number of weeks out from the last show open date.”
Matthews confirmed that in January 96 stands had been booked, “with a number on reserve. That’s 8% more than at the last show and we still have 10 weeks to go.” She added: “We took the time in 2020 to see how we could deliver more value to exhibitors and visitors and this is reflected in our new exhibiting packages - which puts making business connections at the heart of the experience. These are being really well received and we’re excited to get the show underway in March to realise the re-imagining of the show.
According to Matthew, a number of exhibitors that originally booked for the 2020 show have upgraded their stand sizes to allow them to bring more kit to the 2022 event, which is expected to attract 5000+ over the three days. Wide-format kit/consumables exhibitors already booked include Epson, Roland DG, SwissQPrint, Hybrid Services/Mimaki, InkTec Europe, PrintMax, Grafityp, YPS, Josero, Quality Print Services, Stanford Marsh, SSE Worldwide, RA Smart, Zund Plotting Systems, Vivid Laminating Technologies, AG/CAD, Premier Paper Group, Pyramid Display Materials, Perspex Distribution, Hexis and Soyang Europe. And, as you’d expect, there’s more to attract you than exhibitor stands.
SDUK Explains Lounge
“There’s a real demand for business advice and inspiration this year so we’re creating a new space for informal advice exchange,” said Matthew. “New for the 2022 event will be the SDUK Explains Lounge, where visitors can ask an expert, share experience and get involved in topical discussions.”
A rolling programme of informal talks running throughout the show will include real-world case studies and interactive presentations. All of the sessions are free to attend and there’s no need to book. Sessions include:
- Is recruiting and retaining staff causing you pain? The sessions will touch on traditional and non-traditional methods of attracting the right people along with training and support to help them develop themselves and grow your business.
- Is your business in the best shape today and for what the future holds? This will be an open forum session to allow participants to share experiences and learn about best practices adopted by successful businesses in the industry. Topics will touch on financing options, growth and exit strategies.
- Social media and effective marketing. Do you know what really works and what type of return you are getting on the time and money you invest in these areas? There will be a look at real-life examples from within the print industry, with feedback and experiences of the subtle changes taking place across the media platforms.
- Diversifying and thriving in a changing marketplace. This session will provide lessons learned from business owners that have thrived in the last 18 months.
SDUK 2022 will have a dedicated Textile Tech Zone, with a Textile Trail highlighting products that can help PSPs build revenue streams from textile printing. Similarly, a Sustainability Trail will provide a quick reference for visitors wanting to source the latest eco options.
Hexis Wrap Battle
Matthew said about 30 contenders have signed up to what is always a crowd-pleasing feature, and this year there are more wrap stations compared to the 2019 show. Contestants will go head-to-head over the three days to showcase their vehicle wrapping skills, culminating in a grand final on the last day of the show, where the winners from the previous two days will return to battle it out. The third place finalist will win £500 in Hexis vouchers, second place will win £1,000 in vouchers and the overall winner will win the title of Best UK Installer and £2,500 of vouchers plus a one-day driving experience for two.