Exhibitions and conferences are considered something of a barometer for the state of the industry, but sitting here in a snowy London reminds me how reliant we are on elements beyond our control. The New York SCC meeting is coming up and blocked roads and closed runways have meant travellers to this have been snowed in several times in recent years (fingers crossed for December 2010).
Earlier this year the volcanic ash cloud over Europe saw a huge number of in-cosmetics visitors and exhibitors stranded in Paris or employing all manner of transportation combinations in attempts to get home. For Cosmoprof in Bologna the ash cloud meant many people planning to visit couldn’t get there at all.
And even if we’re not at the mercy of the weather or natural phenomena, or worse still disasters, and then there’s always the possibility of social and political unrest, you can’t assume everything will run smoothly. The recent Luxe Pack in Monaco and TFWA show in Cannes were hit by strike action in France which had a major impact on both air and train travel.
Exhibiting at this kind of event is a major investment and often represents the culmination of a year’s work, so companies need to feel pretty sure they’re going to get a reasonable return on that investment. Some things are more controllable than others, but nothing is absolutely certain.