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UK Construction Week on building a clone

by Emily Wallin

Media10’s UK Construction Week landed in London for the first time in May.
Following seven years of success in Birmingham, event director Nathan Garnett says replicating a successful show can be successful in geographies closer to home. 

UK Construction Week (UKCW) aims to bookend the year for the building sector, by providing two editions six months apart.
Describing the key features of the show and its clone, event director Nathan Garnett said innovation in construction technology is growing so rapidly that they hope to be able to benchmark growth within the sector across their exhibitions.
Garnett said: “The London show will stay in May going forward and Birmingham will be going back in October. Innovation in construction is far speedier now than it’s ever been. So doing two shows a year does make sense for the sector and there’s plenty of growth in London and Birmingham.
He said: “The shows are similar. The exhibitor profile is probably 75% matched. The content in London was focused on culture change and will be in Birmingham too. But it’s great because some people come to both, so we can see how the sector’s changed in six months. We can be the industry benchmark.”
With less than 150 miles between the two locations, the journey time might not seem huge, but Garnett said they hope to capture those reluctant to travel.
“With the pandemic it has made people more time conscious.,” he said. “Perhaps 10 years ago we would have had no issue travelling three hours each way to trade show. Now they might think ‘I can have 10 meetings a day on Zoom – should I drive to that trade show or go nearer?’ We have to go to the people now more than we did previously. Doing a show in London we are catering for a London audience that wouldn’t necessarily travel to Birmingham and vice versa.
“But because of the size of it, people could go to both to see anything they missed.”
Running since 2014, UKCW is the UK’s largest built environment event – with more than 300 exhibitors.
Garnett says the demand for the London clone was apparent from the start.
“Registration for the launch show in London, even 10 days before doors opening was tracking higher than the Birmingham show which has been running seven years. It shows the market wants it.”
Garnett says there are some easy wins when cloning, but it is vital to create differences between the events.
“What you don’t want to do is completely carbon copy the show. There has to always be new content.
“From a sales perspective it is easier. We can say to people ‘come to us we’ve got the year sewn up for you – we’ve got a London show, a Birmingham show, webinars, newsletters – we can do that full service’.
“Content-wise though we do have to evolve. The speaker progamme in Birmingham will be almost completely different.

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