Hot tub retailers and wet leisure specialists will once again have to make preparations for two high-profile West Midlands-based exhibition schedules in 2016 after rival event organisers failed to agree a unification plan this week.
During the build up to SPATEX there had been speculation that the long-running exhibition would be joining forces in some capacity with the UK Pool & Spa Expo; but that option was put to rest after the former Brighton-based showcase welcomed visitors for a second time at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.
As soon as it became clear that unification talks had broken down and SPATEX had committed to a third appearance at the Jaguar Exhibition Hall in Coventry for the 20th edition of the wet leisure showcase, the New Events team behind the UK Pool & Spa Expo sent out an email to its wet leisure contacts list explaining that they had tried to forge an exhibition partnership, which had failed. As this had not materialised, it was stated that the organising team would now be continuing with plans to host a fourth outing for the UK Pool & Spa exhibition at the Birminham NEC.
So, as it currently stands, SPATEX is running from January 31 to February 2 next year at the Ricoh Arena and will be the first port of call for hot tub retailers and wet leisure dealerships visiting both exhibitions. This is due to the fact that the UK Pool & Spa Expo has announced a change to its schedule and location within the NEC complex after setting dates for February 18 to 20 in Halls 7 and 8.
“Visitor numbers have grown again this year and over 1,000 meters of floorspace has already been sold for 2016,” said UK Pool & Spa organiser Claire Saunders.
While many in the industry have questioned the validity of hosting two UK exhibitions for the wet leisure industry at the same time of year SPATEX organiser Michele Bridle believes that, although the situation is not ideal, extra competition has ensured that the historical event has raised its operational and exhibition display levels.
“Having another exhibition has meant that we’ve all had to step up our game,” said Michele.
“Our exhibitors have also been able to produce stunning stands like they would in Lyon or Barcelona because of the Jaguar Exhibition Hall’s height and size. They like this venue and we’ve already gained pre-bookings for next year.”
It is expected that both exhibitions will be looking to retain the loyalty of their established supporters and build on momentum gained from attracting additional companies this time round to promote their product lines to prospective retailers.
SPATEX has enjoyed exclusivity from hot tub distributors such as Certikin International, who distribute Caldera Spas from Watkins Manufacturing; and Spa Crest Europe, who have just established a UK distribution deal with Tuff Spas. The UK Pool & Spa Expo, meanwhile, has gained a following of high-profile hot tub brands that have exhibited exclusively at the NEC during the last three successive years, including Artesian Spas and Vita Spas.
This year the exhibition also attracted iconic brand Villeroy & Boch for the first time as an exhibitor, while Aqua Warehouse chief Richard Hart was promoting his new distribution service for L.A Spas for retailers in the UK.
Marquis Director of Global Sales Steve Hasenmueller, who attended both events this year as an exhibitor to promote the launch of the new Aquatic Training Vessel, pictured, from the Oregon-based manufacturer, revealed that next year he would likely be opting for just one exhibition outing at the NEC.
“At this moment in time, if I was choosing between the two exhibitions I think that I would go for the UK Pool & Spa Expo next year,” said Steve; “It is more of a hot tub show than SPATEX.
“We were the only stand with a swim spa on display at the Ricoh Arena and I would have preferred it if there had been others on display so that visitors could make comparisons with our ATV.”
Elite Spas also exhibited at the NEC and Ricoh Arena to increase awareness for their new distribution deal with Aspen Spas, but are opting for Coventry next year.
Issy Rickards Sanger and husband Kevin reported that they would just continue their long-running association with SPATEX during its 20th edition in 2016. Ahead of a return to the Ricoh Arena they will be promoting their Elite Spas products at the newly renamed Piscina & Wellness Barcelona exhibition, which is now running earlier than previously scheduled and is being hosted from October 13 to 16 at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via Exhibition Centre.
“We believe that SPATEX has been the best out of the two shows and that is the one we want to be exhibiting at in the future,” said Kevin.
“So we’re currently planning to return to the Ricoh Arena next year, following our first European venture as an exhibitor at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona in October.”
If you are wanting to book exhibition space for the 20th anniversary edition of SPATEX at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry next year contact the organising team on +44 (0) 1264 358558.
To secure exhibition stand space at the UK Pool & Spa Expo at the Birmingham NEC next year contact the organising team on +44 (0) 1483 420 229.