Toy Fair steps up a notch

New facilities and toy safety area as Fair continues to respond to industry demands.
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Preparations for Toy Fair are moving into top gear and this year’s show will boast improved meeting facilities and a dedicated toy safety area to demonstrate the trade’s commitment to product testing.

The show is all but full, with 177 exhibitors, including 47 in the Greenhouse area for new companies, and there will be a number of exhibitors taking an increased amount of space including Hasbro, Hornby, Character Optons, Gosh and Martin Yaffe.

The show’s director of communications Natasha Crookes told ToyNews: “New to the show in 2008 will be a toy safety area, where visitors can experience the stringent tests that toys undergo, as well as watch a new safety film that has been put together by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA). The film explains how these tests ensure that toys are as safe as possible before they go to market.

“We are also introducing off-stand meeting rooms to the show floor for exhibitors to meet with new and existing clients. These boardroom style-meeting rooms are an alternative place for exhibitors to hold meetings if they want more privacy off their stands. The meeting rooms must be booked in advance by exhibitors and anyone wanting to meet with an exhibitor is recommended to pre-arrange their meeting.”

Crookes also batted back suggestions that the show was becoming less of a destination event for the UK trade, with the growth in other international shows.

She said: “Any marketing vehicle has to be justified in today's market where budgets are tight. We understand that for a trade show to be relevant for the toy companies that exhibit and the visitors that attend, we need to deliver to everyone’s needs. Our research shows that there is no substitute for an interactive exhibition, where visitors can use all their senses to experience the toys on show through touch, sound and play. For most, it also gives the toy companies a platform to meet with new and existing clients and to showcase their prototypes and final products.

“Toy Fair isn’t particularly affected by other shows that happen throughout the year, whether they are in the UK or outside. There are some crossovers for some exhibitors but the biggest impact on the size of the show is when a company merges with another as, obviously, they then only need one space – but then this allows a new company to be part of Toy Fair

“Toy Fair is run by the BTHA on behalf of the toy industry. It’s not run simply to make a profit for an exhibition organiser, which I think is a fact that is sometimes forgotten. The BTHA runs the Toy Fair to give its members the chance to showcase their toys, network with peers and talk to the media.”

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