Highlights of The Big 5 Dubai 2012
So the exhibition is over for another year and it’s time to reflect on its successes. We’re all in agreement that there were lots of highs this year. In fact, I’ve really struggled to pick my top 4 but here they are…
This one is easy. Before arriving in Dubai, we had heard murmurs of a potential VVIP visitor to the exhibition. We all polished our shoes especially and it’s lucky that we did because low and behold, on his team being briefed on Dura, David Cameron and his advisors selected Dura Composites to be the first visit on his short list of 4 companies within the UK pavilion.
The PM was visiting Dubai to promote UK trade within the UAE. He was well-briefed on Dura Composites; he knew of our Clacton roots, our eco-friendly product offering and some of our previous successes in the Middle East. He spent 3-4 minutes on our stand meeting the team, discussing our products and our business in the region. To say that this was an incredible experience would be an understatement.
The impact of this surprise visit was quite incredible; the stand buzzed for the remainder of the show as clients were keen to know what the PM was like in person.
Next has to be what we went to the show for- sales leads! The stand seemed to be packed with potential customers on all 4 days; we scanned so many name badges and got some great enquiries relating to both project and distributor opportunities.
This was probably due to the fact that our stand looked great and we had a really fab team manning it. We need to say a massive thanks to our Dubai distributor, Advanced Fibreglass Industries (AFI), who designed and built our stand which featured our timber composite Dura Decking, Dura Cladding and Dura Pergola. They worked through the night to assemble it and its ‘knock out’ appearance made us all very proud to be part of the team.
Our Dura Pergola Live Demonstration, led by Kevin Connington and Paul Fletcher from AFI, attracted a huge audience. Presented in the main lobby of the exhibition not only did the demonstration catch the attention of those that had pre-booked but also caught the attention of many passers-by, who were excited by the durability of the structure, particularly the UV stability which is ideal for the harsh Middle Eastern climate.
In front of the audience, AFI built a 3m x 3m Dura Pergola demonstrating just how easy it is to install and highlighting the features and benefits for customers. This product was really well received at the show because it is ideal for shaded walkways, dining areas in hotels or villas, car port shade structures and balcony verandas. We left the show with some great Dura Pergola projects.
Big 5 were suitably impressed with our proposed Timber vs. Composites presentation that they invited us to present a seminar on that topic. The idea was to provoke thought on the subject by weighing up the pros and cons of composites vs. natural wood and by putting forward research gained as a leading supplier.
I was joined by Kevin Connington of AFI based in Dubai, who was able to offer local market insight into just how tough the challenge is when trying to obtain high quality timber in the region. I spoke about the importance of certification, warranties and local support. The seminar attracted a healthy audience made up mostly of procurement and project managers but it also attracted natural wood suppliers which was very welcome.
All in all, a great show. Now it’s time for the team in Dubai and in the UK to follow up those leads!