Hyve pauses Connect initiative, stressing importance of physical over digital

Hyve pauses Connect initiative, stressing importance of physical over digital

British tradeshows giant Hyve Group on Monday announced that its digital Connect initiative linked to its shows won’t be running in 2024, calling it a “distraction”.

Hyve Group

Post-pandemic, there had been doubts about whether physical tradeshows would bounce back, although they seem to have done just that.

However, show organisers continue to add digital features and earlier this year, Hyve unveiled Connect @ Autumn Fair, claiming the digitalised meeting system would “revolutionise the traditional trade show model”. It aimed to “connect retailers and brands on a scale never achieved before”.

The idea was to set up thousands of buying meetings before the 3-6 September Autumn Fair opened, powered by “cutting-edge but easy-to-use technology”.

But on Monday, a statement from the company said: “Connections programme Connect will not be running in 2024, while the business collaborates with the industry and key partners to create better shows and experiences for the future.”

The group’s Divisional MD Nicola Meadows said exhibitors had offered “candid feedback on this year’s Autumn Fair”.

She added: “As a business, our purpose is to help our customers to succeed by helping them meet with new and existing buyers. We understand better than most that face to face is the best way to make meaningful business connections, discover new products, and build relationships in the world of retail. We don’t take our responsibility — to help this community thrive — lightly. We know how important these shows are to the sector, much of which is made up of independent businesses.

“During what are increasingly challenging times for everyone in retail, the introduction of Connect did not add value in the way we expected it to. Whilst for most the Autumn Fair was successful and produced great outcomes, it is clear that Connect became a distraction and cause of disruption. Up to now, our shows have been highly reliant on an analogue format which has remained the same for decades. We introduced Connect with the aim of improving how buyers and sellers do business at our events in a way which makes the most of time and resources. We hold our hands up that we fell short on executing this at Autumn Fair. For that reason, we will not be running Connect in 2024 at Spring Fair, Autumn Fair or Glee.”

But the company doesn’t seem to want to retreat from digital completely and Meadows added that there’s “an opportunity to provide the industry with a considerably better show which delivers increased return on investment through the smart use of data and technology. Committed to innovating and finding ways to improve the show while making an increased effort to keep exhibitors and visitors at the heart of its decision making, [we] have announced the introduction of working groups to help shape the future of the shows.”

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