Maintec: Moving forward

08 June 2016

Western Business Exhibitions (WBE) is delighted to have added Maintec to its exhibition portfolio. Tim Else, events director for WBE reveals the rationale behind the acquisition and explains that the emphasis for future events will be on quality and choice


Maintec, the market leading exhibition for the maintenance engineering and asset management community, was purchased from Easyfairs UK & Global, part of the Artexis Easyfairs group, in May. In fact WBE has enjoyed a rewarding association with Maintec for almost 25 years and strategically the acquisition is an excellent fit with our market leading publication – Industrial Plant & Equipment (IP&E). Both brands share a reputation for delivering the highest quality audiences and have a loyal client base.

Maintec, in various formats, has been around for 40 years and has always been confident of its ability to deliver a niche match between buyer and seller, and that's exactly what we want to deliver. Of course there's mileage in intelligent co-locations between trade shows, but the priority for us is to offer quality choice to the visitor - choice of exhibitor and choice of content that’s matched to visitor needs, and it must be run independently. Although co-located in 2017 with WBE's Facilities Management Show and Health & Safety Event, the exhibitions will have their own content streams and will be their own shows. They will benefit each other, but will not be dependent on one another.

Evolution not revolution

What we have to do takes the form of evolution rather than revolution. I believe we must provide greater choice and strength of educational content. I want to focus on the cutting edge engineering technologies that are available to maintenance professionals. Our speaker profile will reflect a mixture of the latest thinking, looking both at existing and emerging technologies. We want to inspire visitors and give them a glimpse of the future, but we've also got to be realistic and give them the tools to do the job now. We will provide an insight into active best practice that's applicable today, so when they're back on site they can implement change. This we will do in collaboration with key Maintec stakeholders and with a number of new high profile partners (including industry associations and educational centres) in order to get a greater understanding of what it is that they want from the event. This will result in a totally new conference programme, the conent of which will be published four or five months in advance of the event.

In addition to educational theatres, we are considering many ideas around live demonstrations. We are also keen on the idea of round table debates, to enable more peer-to-peer sharing of best practice.

Platform for innovation

We intend to implement a 'Showcase for Innovation', perhaps in the style of a 'Dragon's Den', where we encourage exhibitors to profile their latest innovations in front of a team of experts who will then decide a winner. Maintec is the place where exhibitors should be launching their new products and we want to create a platform to celebrate and expose real innovation. In the recent past, trade exhibitions were deemed to be on their way out, yet from what we have seen, the exact opposite is true. Yes, yesterday's ‘lazy trade show’ which only contains vendors with exhibition stands is dead. Today's successful events demonstrate a real commitment to quality content – and the market is buoyant.

Engagement matters

A new website will be ready soon – It will have more content than ever before. For the exhibitor, it's not just about that three day engagement. It's about engagement between exhibitor and visitor for a longer period of time. That's one of the key reasons for announcing the content four or five months before the event. Social media will be used to increase engagement between exhibitor and visitor, improving both the registration process and the quality of information we send out. Those things are really important. If you're buying a stand at Maintec, you're buying into the Maintec brand for the whole year. Maintec is a high quality product and the opportunity to take responsibility for such a respected event is something that we are very excited about. The planning is well under way and we're pleased to announce that the call for conference papers is now open. Prospective presenters are invited to submit their abstracts to:

Maintec 2017 will take place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd March at the NEC, Birmingham. WBE's new event, Maintenance Scotland, which forms part of the ScotlandWorks group of exhibitions takes place at the SECC, Glasgow on 3rd and 4th May 2017.