100% Optical breaks records and wows visitors at London ExCeL
The Optical trade show, 100% Optical, has smashed attendance, business and exhibitor expectations during its third year in the capital.
The show broke the mould, with 20% more floor space housing over 200 companies, a 20% increase in visitors both UK and international and a whopping 100 CET points on offer for each person over the weekend, cementing itself as the place to do business in the optical trade calendar, proving it is fast becoming the future of optics.
The show’s event director, Nathan Garnett, is thrilled with what the show has delivered.
“The feedback from exhibitors and visitors has been incredible!” said Nathan. “We saw business being done from the moment the doors opened on Saturday morning right until they closed Monday evening and the atmosphere was just electric. We even had to extend the opening hours on Sunday as many exhibitors were still doing business.”
Julie Abel, joint managing director of EyeSpace said: "It's been brilliant. We've been blown away by how good it has been. With more staff we'd have taken even more orders – we were still here at 9.40pm on Sunday processing orders; security had to ask us to leave! The visitors are high quality too - they are here to buy and we've placed really good orders. We've reached a lot of new accounts that we'd probably not have met and there is such a good vibe here."
The show attracted buyers from around the UK and overseas, with some travelling from as far as Australia and South East Asia to attend the weekend.
“We've come over from Australia to spend the whole weekend here as London is so convenient for us,” said Optometrists Catherine Cheah and Jonathan Tay. “It's our first time at the show and we've been so impressed by the innovations and expertise on offer.”
“100% Optical is, and has always been, about showcasing the future of optics, building businesses and having a great time,” said Nathan. “Not only that but we’re proud to present the biggest selection of eyewear under one roof, more than anywhere else in the UK and the largest amount of free CET points available than at any other UK show, along with big name exhibitors and speakers.”
Visitors were treated to the best in eyewear at the fashion hub, the latest technology and business services in the equipment and business hubs, and cutting edge lenses in the lens hub.
The education programme delivered a lot more than just CET points, with debate and discussion rife over the three days.
“The Association of Optometrists (AOP), along with support from the Fight for Sight Speaker Network, have really delivered on a world class seminar programme this year,” said Nathan. “Personal highlights – Doug Perkins and Paul Morris from Specsavers with a rally cry to get the industry to work together and seal the legacy of the independent sector, Professor Kovin Naidoo on the growing myopia challenge and hearing Rt hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care discuss the future of primary care and the NHS with Professor Rob Darracott and Katarina Venerus – but it’s all been brilliant. Sessions have been full to bursting; we had to bring in extra seating just to meet demand.
“We’re already wondering how we might top it next year!”
Commenting on another successful education programme, Dr Ian Beasley, AOP Head of Education, said, “'The education delivered by the AOP continues to grow in reputation attracting internationally-renowned speakers keen to showcase their work at the event. The success of the programme was undoubtedly due to its strength in depth with contributions from optometrists, ophthalmologists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians. This was complemented by content provided by experts in the field of orthoptics, psychology and even micro-robotics.”
The UK’s main eye research charity, Fight for Sight, was the show’s charity partner for the second consecutive year. With a number of fundraising activities helping to raise the importance of eye research including the #BlinkWinkThink selfie campaign and on-stand photo booth. Back by popular demand, Rock-a-oke, allowed exhibitors and visitors to let their hair down after a second busy day on the Sunday evening.
Catherine Woodhead, Director of Fundraising at Fight for Sight talking about the charity's partnership said: "We are grateful to 100% Optical for giving us this opportunity to raise the importance of eye research, from members of the Fight for
Sight Speaker Network discussing a wider range of funded projects, encouraging the public to take a #BlinkWinkThink selfie, to the Fight for Sight Rock-a-oke party it has been another successful year raising funds for a future everyone can see.
"Thank you to everyone who has supported the fight against sight loss, we're looking forward to working in partnership with 100% Optical for the 2017 show."
For Nathan and the team, the one thing they wanted to get across is that 100% Optical really is a place for the whole spectrum of optical trade to do business, network and have fun together.
“I think we’ve proven this year that whether you’re an optometrist, eye surgeon, dispensing optician, assistant buyer, practice manager, or a manufacturing optician you will find everything you need at 100% Optical,” ensures Nathan. “London is the business capital of Europe and we’ve given the optical trade a slice of that action for another year.
“We gave 100% to the show and our visitors and exhibitors got 100% back and more. Bring on 2017!”
100% Optical will be back at ExCel 4-6 February 2017 – see you then!
For more show news, photos and videos or to book your stand for 2017 visit 100percentoptical.com.