Here is a summary of the Derby Worlds 2017 show. We appreciate all the efforts made by traders, tournament players, demo games and participation games to help ensure the show was a success. As you are all aware, in March this year, Donington, with no notice cancelled our booking (which was made in March 2016!), and we still have not given the deposit back. We were faced with cancelling the show or getting something underway. Options were limited as we needed a large enough venue which also had that date available and as the only viable option was Hangar 42 we elected to go for that rather than simply cancelling the show. A show rarely recovers from a missed year. Whilst the new venue certainly has improved lighting, parking and overall facilities, the 20% less usable floor area compared to Donington was always going to be an interim challenge. Many people think we chose to move venue, but I can assure you we did not want to. It created a massive amount of unplanned work and substantial cost too. For clarification, Donington no longer host events, and even the car boot sales, antique sales etc have been left in the same situation as us.
Overall the show went well with the vast majority of attendees both enjoying it and appreciating that it did in fact take place. As anticipated, the total attendees were slightly down compared with 2016, and that was expected with the venue change. Total number of paying visitors were 16% down at 1458 over the weekend compared to 1728 in 2016.
We advertised heavily in the press in the 6 months ahead of the show and on Facebook, Twitter and gave out over 20,000 flyers with the new location and details on there, as well as adding direction signs at all major junctions heading to the venue.
The main challenge in regard to space on the day, is that a small minority of traders took a very selfish line and for example having booked a 12ft x 6ft stand, took a 12ft x 10ft space and so reduced the aisle width as well as taking space from other traders, forcing further issues. Others with a 24ft x 6ft booking ignored direct requests to them (and us physically moving their tables back to the stand size they had booked) and created a 26ft x 9ft stand, again compromising the aisles and other trade stands. The vast majority of traders were hugely supportive of the event continuing and were extremely helpful throughout the weekend, and a number of them even compromised their stands in light of others actions of others. We are truly thankful to those. Some traders and demos already have booked for 2018. Two of our staff members who were key to running the event did not turn up for work despite having those 3 days of the show booked in their work schedule. That situation has been resolved. The company setting delivering and setting up the tables were scheduled to be finished at 12.00 and did not finish until after 14.00 which compounded the issue too.
The feedback on the catering was positive, especially in comparison to Donington. Likewise many visitors liked the fact they could pay their entry by card and keep cash for the show. The cash machines with free withdrawals were relatively popular, and enabled many to take cash out for show purchases. The vouchers given out for the tournament entrants worked well and certainly ensure a good flow of sales from the tournament players.
As is the way of the world, it is easy to post negative comments on internet forums and I am sure you have read some of them. Sadly none of them have taken any time to find out the background or future plans, and indeed contain inaccuracies. Surprisingly some traders have also made posts too rather than establish any facts. Some of you have written in, or phoned in, and given us constructive feedback for 2018. The actions we can put in place are key to the show continuing in 2018 and beyond. It is nice to note that there is a balance out there and some have taken a more positive tone, with a clear knowledge of the issues that Donington created for us at short notice.
Certainly for 2018 the following actions are being implemented, and I am sure further ones will too.
Marquee outside for Tournaments to allow us to create 8ft trader stands plus 8ft aisles in the main hall.
Marquee outside for Tournaments with booking-in to reduce the tournament entry queues.
Additional signs for the toilets (as although on the plan some were unaware of the 2 toilet blocks on the far side of the hall)
Even more signs at junctions leading to the venue.
Increased Derby Worlds staff.
Look at how we can have the 2nd roller shutter accessed for setup/breakdown too.
Revise the setting up of the tables to increase the start time available on Friday for setting up from at least midday.
Derby Worlds 2018 will be on the 6th and 7th October 2018. We anticipate with the actions in place as above that the event will run much more smoothly in 2018, though any thoughts and directions appreciated as ever to ensure that Derby Worlds continues to be a key event on the Wargaming calendar.
Now if they put this lot into practice some of this years teething problems will go. Though I didn't need a sign to find the loos. As I said in the previous post on this subject as a new untried show it was OK . I was well aware of the short notice problem and none of the actual practical difficulties really gave me the hump other than up to a point the overcrowding of the trade area-
So lets see if they can do what they want to do. Hope so