Palme Middle East provokes mixed reactions
MIDDLE EAST: The 11th edition of Palme Middle East in Dubai provided a mixed reaction from exhibitors and visitors alike. While some questioned the return on investment they would get from the show and stated they would not be returning, others wrote business on the show floor and were determined to take part again next year.
This was always going to be a difficult year for Palme as it took its smaller footprint into the Sheikh Rashid Hall. A number of distributors and manufacturers were notable by their absence, while others had taken much smaller spaces. The common view was that people were seeing the same faces as usual and could have achieved the same results by holding meetings away from a tradeshow. So as a slow first day came to its conclusion there were some unsatisfied voices amongst the exhibitors.
‘For me the show has been disastrous,’ said SGTC Pro’s Simon Daniel. ‘I’m seeing the people who I know, I’m not seeing any new people from outside. What is the purpose of me having a stand here if I am just seeing people I already know? I could just go to their offices to see them, why do we have to spend so much money to see them here?’
‘It’s been very disappointing,’ added Harman’s Dave Budge on the GSL stand. ‘I haven’t seen anybody that I wouldn’t have seen or communicated with anyway. I think Palme has had its day, in the past it’s been very good. We will support it if it’s on next year, but probably with a smaller stand.’
The second and third days felt busier with initial figures from the organiser suggesting a slight improvement on last year’s attendance. Equally important was the range of visitors coming to the show. There was a geographical spread in the attendance with people travelling to Dubai from countries including Oman, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
‘From my perspective, we’ve met all the targets with this show,’ said Christie’s Simon Smith. ‘All the events community have been here, I’ve met a lot of my resellers as well. As the week’s gone on there’s been more international coming through, there have been some interesting projects and I’ve definitely got some sales from the show.’
Also notable was the organiser taking on board comments made following previous editions. One of the major complaints has long been the noise levels on the floor. This had clearly been addressed for Palme 2013 as the decibels were much reduced.
This was boosted by the Soundcheck area outside which hosted a series of demos from KV2 and Pan Beam. While this area was never busy, and there were issues with the trussing height, the manufacturers who took part were very positive about the experience with at least one potential sale reported.
‘It’s been very successful for us,’ said KV2’s Dave Croxton. ‘We’ve had some very positive reactions, and for us the most important thing is that we’ve made a reconnection with the market here. You still find many of the key players within the market are going to drop by.’
Towards the end of the final day, the organiser was satisfied with what it described as a good show.
‘We’ve really tried to put new things into the event this year and I think exhibitors have reacted well to that,’ said show director Richard Brook. ‘The feedback that we’ve been getting is that people are meeting the people they want to meet.
‘I think we all have to understand it’s a niche market, there’s only so many people in the industry and Palme is the show those guys come to,’ he continued. ‘I think we’re always going to have that core audience of repeat visitors. Our challenge is to keep the new guys coming in and to identify who they are.’
A full review of Palme Middle East will be in the July-August edition of Pro Audio Middle East.