Expo Detergo’s announcement that online registrations have opened has set me thinking about exhibitions, conferences and their value to the laundry and drycleaning industries.

While some may argue about the frequency of such events, those that attend them usually find their visit worthwhile.

Exhibitions are of course a time for manufacturers and suppliers to put their company on show, parade their latest developments or just remind visitors of the extent of their equipment ranges.

There’s a strong element of the theatrical – the displays of products, the demos, the lectures and discussions – these special events all combine bring our industry to life. They give us a fresh understanding of what the business is about and why we get involved.

But exhibitions are much more than that. It’s a time to renew old contacts, make new ones and network with other businesses. As the industry becomes ever more global, exhibitions can help us use our time efficiently. The people we want to see are often in distant locations. Travelling to see them individually is not always possible but exhibitions are a good time to arrange meetings, discuss strategies and generally plan the future.

And while much of the business goes on in the closed rooms at the back of stands, those displays do have a valuable role. It’s much easier to understand the benefits of the technology on show when its there in front of you with company experts there to answer individual questions and you can see how individual products may fit together to provide solutions.

In 2009, the mood at exhibitions may have been a little quieter due to the economic climate. This year, companies are perhaps becoming a little more optimistic, so a more upbeat mood may prevail and perhaps more visitors will feel able to take time out from their day-to-day businesses.

October’s Expo Detergo could well benefit from this more upbeat mood. The show has moved to a new venue – and from the photos, the building has a light airy feel that will provide a pleasant setting.

LCNi has already begun its preparations for the special issue and a journal team will be there.

Do make time to come and see us.

Janet Taylor – jtaylor@laundryandcleaningnews.com