What we learned from this year’s Dentistry Show
This year, we decided to attend the Dentistry Show at the NEC. Unfortunately, Cary couldn’t make it, so Chris went to both days – on the Friday with Ben Baker of our client Pearl Dental Software, and on the Saturday with our dentist friend, Jules.
This article highlights ten of the things we learned from this year’s show.
- Car parking at the NEC has gone up 33.3% since last year’s show – from £12 per day to £16 per day. (Thanks to Ben for picking up the tab on Friday).
- If you hang around until the end of the show on Saturday you can get some great bargains. Jules was cock-a-hoop with the wisdom tooth forceps he bought just before the end of the show, getting them for £20 when they were priced at £35 earlier in the day.
- Not everyone takes cards! We found at least one stand that had thousands of pounds worth of surgical instruments displayed for sale but was only prepared to take cash (and other stands that only took card payments).
- The shops at the NEC are still just as over-priced, and just as unfriendly towards customers. From patchy service behind the bar at Witherspoons to someone refusing to take a card payment for drinks and snacks because they had just cashed up and reset the card machine (surely all that would happen is the transaction would appear on tomorrow’s numbers?), even though at least three shows were still running. And when we did get a different shop to take our money we had to duck under the half-closed security shutter to get back out – again, while the shows were still running.
- You now buy your parking tickets from little machines in the main concourse, that are not on the route out of the building, and which the staff don’t really seem sure where they are. The tickets are basically a bar-code and are checked manually by someone on the exit gate of the car park. Well, when we say checked …
- The Colgate goody tote-bag was better than the other available options, but the handles were about 3-inches too short to comfortably carry over a shoulder. This is a problem if you are also trying to manipulate a show guide, list of people to see, pen, note-book and box of business cards.
- Not as many free samples as usual.
- Not as many exhibitors as last year, and many of them on much smaller stands. Several of the medium-to-big players that we wanted to meet with were not exhibiting. This is a sure sign that the organisers have found their price limit. Like the car parking fees, many exhibitors were complaining of inflated prices for stand space and poor value for money for the promotional services. We agree, and have therefore switched our recommendation to ‘don’t exhibit’ unless you can negotiate a significant discount.
- What on Earth was that ‘Elf’ and all those scantily-dressed ‘Santas’ all about? I’m pretty sure this is 2019 and not 1979, and I’m absolutely sure it’s not Christmas. Must have been good though, because I twice walked onto the stand wearing my Press badge and nobody had the time to talk to me.
- On a serious note ‘digital dentistry’ was very prominent. There were several new and many slick digital imaging stands, lots of milling systems, and quite a bit of 3-D printing technology on show. This segment is starting to settle down and the number of ridiculous and over-blown claims are relaxing into sensible uses of the technologies. They are starting to form realistic and sustainable workflows, and the right technology is being used for the right application. And that’s a good thing.
That’s our immediate reaction, coloured by speaking to more than 70 vendors over the course of two days, and the sore throat and feet that resulted. Please tell us what YOU thought of the show, whether you were visiting or exhibiting.
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