Happening city

Print edition : September 09, 2011

THE STALL PUT up by the HR&CE Department at the Trade Fair in Chennai, in January 2011. -

Trade shows are emerging as an important marketing tool in the city's business life.

IN today's marketplace, event management organisations play a big role in bridging the gap between consumers and manufacturers. In a city like Chennai, hardly a day passes without an industrial or consumer fair showcasing products and services. Event management occupies the centre stage in varied functions, including weddings, charity shows, conferences, seminars, product launches, film releases, fashion shows and felicitations.

An event manager has to be a Sadavadani', a person who has a grasp of many different aspects of knowledge, to emerge successful. He has to attend to several things at a time, from arranging sponsorship to ensuring logistics, from choosing the right venue to mailing invitations, in order to ensure that the event is a success, satisfies clients and meets the expectations of consumers, says a professional who has had a long innings in the exhibition-cum-event-management industry in Chennai.

According to V.B. Sudeep, project director, Unitech Exhibitions Private Limited, trade fairs are the most important marketing tool for any organisation, especially the B2B (business-to-business) fairs which enable exhibitors to showcase all their products and services under one roof. The trade fair is an all-rolled-into-one affair as it offers the exhibitors an opportunity to build awareness, close sales, allay misconceptions, earn media coverage, build precious database and conduct market research.

In many developed countries, trade shows are an important marketing tool for almost all industries. However, in India, though there are a few well-established international business trade fairs, many companies are yet to come to terms with this important tool in their marketing and business plans, according to experts in the exhibition sector.

There is no gainsaying that the trade fair industry has come to stay in India. But experts believe that its growth and expansion depend on the initiatives of the State and Central governments pertaining to upgradation of venues and improvement of infrastructure such as hotels, transportation and connectivity. Unfortunately, the Central and State governments do not seem to have evolved a concrete policy or road map for developing the Indian exhibition industry.

The lack of world-class exhibition venues, absence of quality business hotels and, above all, inadequate connectivity and public transportation to the venues hamper the growth of the trade fair industry. This, in turn, has an adverse effect on the tourism and hotel industry and public transportation in the host city, say the experts.

The concept of exhibitions or trade shows is definitely catching up with Chennaiites, asserts Sudeep. According to him, the B2C (business-to-consumer) exhibitions or consumer fairs are very popular while the B2B exhibitions have their own niche visitor segments in the city.

With its current venue the Chennai Trade Centre the city offers an ideal location for hosting international B2B trade fairs. Given the presence of automotive and auto ancillary majors, leading information technology companies and a booming construction and infrastructure industry, Chennai has great scope for hosting international trade fairs for automotive and auto ancillary, machine tools, hand tools, welding, building materials and IT and software industries, he says.

He also stresses the need for larger halls of international standards at the Chennai Trade Centre. He says constant improvisation and upkeep of the facilities are needed not only to attract more international and national B2B events to the city but also for ensuring a memorable visiting experience for those who frequent the consumer trade shows.

Sudeep feels that there is tremendous scope for expanding the B2C trade shows, which have started spreading to cities other than Chennai and also to smaller towns in the State. Such events have a local flavour as the majority of the exhibitors and the targeted visitors are from the same locality, he says.

CHILDREN HAVING FUN at the Trade Fair.-R. MAHESH

These consumer fairs offer a wide range of products, including automobiles, electronics, furniture and kitchen appliances, under one roof. The fairs have something to offer to every visitor, both young and old, as they even exhibit products such as books, compact discs and toys. They also come out with attractive discount offers.

However, major B2B trade shows and conferences should be confined to metros only as these events have a national and international theme. Apart from this, many exhibitors and business visitors taking part in these fairs are from other parts of the country or from abroad, Sudeep says. As far as Unitech Exhibitions is concerned, it specialises in niche B2B trade fairs with focus on exhibitor and visitor delight in an international ambience, he says. Our events are planned in such a way that the best possible services are extended to both the exhibitor and the visitor by fulfilling the value-for-money' goal.

Sudeep claims that Unitech Exhibitions caters to the entire gamut of a trade fair event, right from conceptualising the theme to on-site management. It also fulfils the responsibilities such as venue selection, designing event brochure and website, and event marketing and promotion. Identifying, finalising and liaising with various service providers also come under its purview.

After the proposed Hand Tools & Fasteners Expo 2011, which is billed as the Indian subcontinent's largest and well-established event for sourcing international quality hand tools and fasteners, in Mumbai in December 2011, Unitech's flagship event, Roof India 2012 will be held in Chennai from May 25-27, 2012, at the Chennai Trade Centre. It will mark the 10th anniversary of Asia's largest roofing and allied technology event.

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