The Canadian Furniture Show will continue to evolve in 2017 in its tireless efforts to be even more responsive to the needs of the Canadian industry. After every Show over the last three years, exhibitors, buyers, designers and other professionals have been consulted through surveys. In all, more than 1,000 respondents, surveyed either online or by telephone, have provided input in the preferential choices to enhance the Show with new features. The recommendations by the National Advisory Committee, which includes 15 professionals from diverse regions of the country and various sectors of the industry, also had an impact on the final choices.
Here are the main questions and answers about the new features that will be implemented at the 2017 Show:
- Why is the Show being held in May?
Based on the surveys conducted last June among 675 exhibitors and visitors, participants and non-participants at the 2016 Show, only 15% of visitors and 28% of exhibitors favour having the Show held in a month other than the month of May. Furthermore, their preferences are spread over the remaining 11 months of the year: they don’t all opt for January. As a result, the 2017 Show will be held from May 26-28. Remember that changing the date from January to June in 2015 was very costly for the industry. It was a major disruption that we want to avoid, especially since the survey results confirm the choice of the month of May.
- Will the 2017 edition be the last one for the Canadian Furniture Show?
Absolutely not. The Canadian Furniture Show is a priority project for the QFMA’s board of directors and the industry as a whole. And we are committed for the next three years, since we have announced the dates right up to 2020. But to ensure the longevity of the Show, the status quo is not an option. We continually have to rethink how we are going to do things; this is why the Show team surveys the industry every year, implements new features, evaluates them and adjusts the program accordingly on an annual basis.
- Wouldn’t it be better to hold the Show during the week rather than on the weekend?
Again, based on the surveys conducted this year, only 16% of the exhibitors and 23% of visitors in 2016 would like to see the Show held during the week: the participants prefer the weekend dates. But the Show is being shifted by a day, so it will be from Friday to Sunday to better meet the preferences expressed in the surveys.
- Why is the layout of the Show being changed in 2017?
Historically, the Show was housed in Halls 1 to 5 at The International Centre. In recent years, the floor space was not being fully utilized and there were some empty spaces. Thus, in the interest of maximizing the efficiency of the event and cutting down on costs, the activities will be spread out in Halls 1 to 4 and the Conference Centre, in addition to the SOFA tenants and the participating permanent outside showrooms. In fact, this optimized layout has sufficient square footage to be able to put on a bigger Show than in 2016. It will also be better for visitors, who won’t have to walk as far, and for the exhibitors, who will benefit from more concentrated traffic.
- Will the Show’s opening hours be extended into the evening?
No. We are not going to extend the hours into the evening this year because this format did not deliver the expected results. We are going to maintain the same total number of hours as last year and the Show floor will be open from Friday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Are you going to place an emphasis on the visitors’ overall experience at the Show? What is this going to be?
We are aiming to attract even more visitors in 2017. To achieve this, we are going to enhance the overall experience of the Show’s visitors by drawing on the results of the survey, which highlighted their four priorities: quality exhibitors, interesting speakers, networking activities and exclusive Show specials.
- So does this mean there will be presentations during the 2017 Show?
Yes, because visitors really like this type of activity. We are creating a series of three lunch-time presentations. Every day around noon-hour, we will be featuring a speaker who will address topics of interest for retailers. The program will be announced in the near future.
- Will there be any areas set aside for leisure and entertainment activities?
Yes. In 2016, we had a spa, as well as a pub and a business lounge. Apart from the business lounge, which wasn’t used, visitors appreciated having these areas. There will be other new features in this regard in 2017.
- Is an opening night activity scheduled in 2017?
The last two years we held a big industry party on the first night of the Show. To facilitate networking in 2017, we will be holding a big opening night cocktail to which all Show participants will be invited.
- There were specials at the Show in 2016. Are you planning any specials in 2017?
Actually, that depends on the exhibitors, but since this was one of the things visitors liked the most and because it adds value to their trip to the Show, we are going to encourage exhibitors to offer Show specials and we will provide tools to promote them.
- In 2016, there were drawings for free hotel room packages; are you planning any of these in 2017?
Yes. We will continue to have attractive discounts on hotel rooms and drawings for free hotel room packages.
- Will the Toronto Area Showrooms be part of the Show?
One of our objectives is to make the Show an inclusive event that brings together the entire Canadian industry. Thus, emulating the High Point Market, where the displays in the main buildings and the surrounding exhibition halls are part of the event, the Canadian Furniture Show continues to count on the participation of the Toronto Area Showrooms. And, according to our surveys, 60% of the 2016 Show’s visitors went to these showrooms. We will thus be continuing this inclusive approach.
- What about the food and drink offering?
In 2016, the food offering was diversified with the addition of a food court in Hall 2 and a pub in Hall 5, along with the permanent food concessions in The International Centre. This new offering was favourably received in the surveys, so we are going to continue along these lines in 2017.
- What are you doing to improve the quality of the appearance of some of the booths?
Over the last two years, we have been expending a lot of effort with exhibitors to improve the overall appearance of the booths, and we are noticing some improvement in this regard. But for some exhibitors, there is still some work to do and that affects the overall appearance of the Show. We will continue to impose appearance standards, written into the exhibitors’ contract, conveyed to them and enforced. Moreover, as we have done for the last two years, we are also going to send exhibitors some suggestions to guide them in this matter.
- Will prizes be awarded for the best booths?
Yes, prizes, much appreciated by the exhibitors, will be awarded in 2017 with the help of the SOFA team, which will be in charge of selecting the jury and running the contest. Prizes will be promoted several months before the Show to incite exhibitors to enhance the appearance of their booth.
- Will it be possible to get more visibility or sponsor certain aspects of the Show?
A list of sponsorship and visibility will be available in 2017, so that businesses will be able to maximize their visibility and the impact of their participation at the Show.
- Will there be a type of Town Hall meeting at the 2017 Show?
The Town Hall event was held in 2014, 2015 and 2016: this was a speakers’ forum that opened up a dialogue for anyone who had something to say. But the last Town Hall did not attract many participants. As the Show’s CEO, Pierre Richard, would like to continue to gauge the views of the industry and facilitate bilateral communication, in 2017 new feedback mechanisms will be implemented and further details about this will be provided in the near future.
All of the programming details about the 2017 Show, as well as the exhibitors that will be participating in this year’s event, will be announced in the coming months. Follow us on canadianfurnitureshow.com, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!