Hyve Group removes Connect programme from next year’s Autumn and Spring Fair line-up

Autumn and Spring Fair has pulled in-person meetings programme Connect from its 2024 event schedule while it “collaborates with the industry and key partners to create better shows and experiences for the future.”

Connect made its debut at this month’s Autumn Fair, promising “a new way to shop the show” by facilitating pre-bookable on-stand appointments with exhibitors. 

Event owner Hyve Group said it recognises “the introduction of Connect did not add value in the way we expected it to.” Moreover, that it remains committed to innovating and finding ways to improve the show while keeping exhibitors and visitors at the heart of its decision making

In a statement, divisional managing director Nicola Meadows said: “I would like to thank our exhibitors for reaching out to us with their candid feedback on this year’s Autumn Fair. 

As a business, our purpose is to help our customers to succeed by helping them meet with new and existing buyers. We understand better than most that face to face is the best way to make meaningful business connections, discover new products, and build relationships in the world of retail. 

“We don’t take our responsibility – to help this community thrive – lightly. We know how important these shows are to the sector, much of which is made up of independent businesses which are the pride of the nation.

“I recognise that, during what are increasingly challenging times for everyone in retail, the introduction of Connect did not add value in the way we expected it to. Whilst for most the Autumn Fair was successful and produced great outcomes, it is clear that Connect became a distraction and cause of disruption. 

“Up to now, our shows have been highly reliant on an analogue format which has remained the same for decades. We introduced Connect with the aim of improving how buyers and sellers do business at our events in a way which makes the most of time and resources. 

“We hold our hands up that we fell short on executing this at Autumn Fair. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers again for their patience during this time and the continued support of these historic shows. We have listened to what they have to say, and we care about getting this right.”

Looking ahead, Meadows says there is an opportunity to provide the industry with a considerably better show that delivers increased return on investment through the smart use of data and technology. For this reason, Hyve is introducing working groups to help shape the future of the shows and buyers and exhibitors are invited to share their views via E: SpringAutumnFairMarketing@hyve.group. 

Focusing on the future of their retail portfolio beyond 2024, Spring and Autumn Fair and Glee are committed to creating meaningful experiences and on delivering quality buyers to the shows.

Exhibitors have been contacted with full details on the adjustments to fees and contract details relating to both Spring and Autumn Fair 2024.