Visitor numbers fell sharply at the seventh annual Customer Contact World in Sydney, either a reflection of a struggling climate within the IT industry or waning interest.
Organisers Terrapinn estimated 2000 people walked through the door during the three-day contact centre and customer relationship management trade show, well down on last year's attendance of 3200 people.
CEO of reseller Premier Technologies, Fausto Marasco, has been coming to the show every year since the inaugural event. While realising that the falling numbers were partly a reflection of the current state of the IT industry, he said that some of the blame must lie with the organisers.
“You can’t just say I’m having a trade show and hope people come," Marasco said "There’s a Ferrari-and-a-half in one of these stands and it is a bit upsetting when you think of it like that,” he said. “I think the organisers could have done a better job dragging crowds in but maybe we need to look at the market.”
Despite the falling numbers, Marasco said trade shows still had a role to play in drumming up business.
“We can’t get enough good events to go to and I still believe they add value to the market," he said. "They work for us and as long as we are seeing more people than anybody else we are doing the right thing.”
Exhibition director, Sinead Fitzgerald, said that Terrapinn had provided very high quality delegates and visitors. Five of the 28 exhibitors had already resigned for next year’s event.
As for the falling attendance, she said: “The problem with the industry at the moment is that marketing budgets are often the first to be cut. Delegates and exhibitors realise that.”
Customer Contact World was merged with the ATA National Conference for the first time this year. Business development manager for Syntropy, Matthew Tutaki, said: “Not many people [attended] which is a bit of a disappointment. We are new to the show but everyone I have spoken to knew numbers were going to be down. At least they’ve [Terrapin] tried to keep numbers static by merging events together. Every person who walks past your stand is a potential customer and that is how you have to think of it.”
Finance director for QAS, Scott Gardiner, said lead generations were down on previous years but he remained hopeful that this would represent “less tyre kickers and more quantifiable leads”.