SALTEX 2021 visitor survey findings revealed

The post-show SALTEX 2021 visitor survey has revealed a fascinating insight into the show’s visitor profile.

Widely recognised as the show ‘the industry needed’, the 75th SALTEX event provided the ideal opportunity for the grounds management sector to regroup, reunite and celebrate.

According to the post-show visitor survey, 83% of attendees rated SALTEX 2021 overall as excellent, very good or good, 67% attended specifically to purchase new products or services, and 84% either had full purchasing responsibility or contributed to the process. Furthermore, a third of visitors held a management position and 34% had the ability to sign-off on amounts of up to £50,000.

When it came to the type of grounds that the visitors were responsible for maintaining, the top three categories were sports turf (31%); arboriculture, horticulture and forestry (29%) and lawn care (26%), with broader visitor profiles covering areas such as landscaping, parks and playgrounds.

Regarding visitor interests, 72% rated the variety of products and services on show as excellent and knew exactly what they were looking for. 70% attended to see machinery, power and hand tools, and nearly half of the visitors were interested in seed, turf and aggregates. More than 33% visited exhibitors representing both landscaping materials and arboriculture, horticulture and forestry. Other areas of interest included sports surfaces and facilities (32%); commercial vehicles, tyres and trailers (29%); education, training and development (20%); synthetic turf (18%); security, health and safety, personal protection (17%) and play equipment (12%).

Neil Stubley, head of courts and horticulture at Wimbledon, was delighted to see a vibrant show floor. “I’ve been really enthused by how busy it has been. During the pandemic everyone was working hard to come out of it with a bang, and you are seeing that at SALTEX. There’s a lot of excitement, lots of new products and people are buzzing. SALTEX is one of those opportunities where you get to have a look at the marketplace and see all the different machinery. There is nothing better than seeing it in person and speaking to the people that have designed it.”

Natalie Regan, who was one of 52 students that attended SALTEX from Wiltshire College & University Centre, said she really benefited from her visit. “It was my first time at SALTEX, and I now feel a lot more knowledgeable about turf management.”

Andy Hill, general manager at Alnwick Golf Club in Northumberland, was also upbeat. “It’s been great to bring the team along to have a look at everything and to network. We’re carrying out a major course development and visiting SALTEX has given us plenty of ideas and has opened lots of doors. I’ve been to many exhibitions over the years, but nothing compares to this.”

An overwhelming 72% of survey respondents confirmed that they will be returning to SALTEX 2022, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 2 and 3 November.