Well I've just returned after a long, long (long) journey back from lovely, overcast Melbourne, Australia for the Trenchless 2009 Trade show and exhibition. I thought I'd offer a bit of a summary of what we saw, did and accomplished while we were down there!
Melbourne is a lovely city of around 4 million people. The weather was coolish, hovering at around 15C to 18C for most of the time. We got some decent rainshowers while we were there and the weather, when it wasn't raining, tended to be overcast. This is understandable, of course, as Australia's seasons are opposite those of North America. Melbourne was just entering spring when we arrived. The city itself is quite beautiful, with modern architecture and fairly clean streets. Many of the buildings downtown are very art-deco modern in construction and there was a ton of modern art sculpture everywhere, including the sides of the freeways.
The venue for Trenchless 2009 in Australia was right next to the MCG arena in downtown Melbourne. Australians love their games, and this auditorium certainly shows it. The stadium has capacity for 90,000 people comfortably, but routinely holds over 100,000. The first night we were there, there was a "football" semi-final (known in North America as rugby), and the stadium was full to capacity and beyond. We heard that they will usually take in well over $3million at the door on nights like that.
The show itself was quite compact, but had a good representation of trenchless-specific vendors and exhibitors. The trenchless mainstays were there, of course, including DCI, Vermeer, Astec Underground, Robbins Co., and many others. Notable absent, however, was Ditch Witch. Apparently there was a bit of drama involving a competing dinner cruise, and the result was that Ditch Witch either pulled out or was rejected admission by the show organizers.
Attendance at the show was estimated at around 400 companies. Certainly it was one of the better attended shows that we've gone to this year, and the aisles were consistently full. As we did not have a dedicated booth for HDD Broker, but rather had representation in another booth, Ivan and I had the opportunity to explore the trade show in detail, and most importantly network with the other exhibitors and attendees there. Many of our past customers managed to find us there and we finally met many of them face to face, to their great delight.
We also had the chance to coordinate with our Australasian allies, JB Sales out of Australia and New Zealand. An added bonus was that our Asian representative, Magitech Equipment, was also in attendance, and together we managed to formulate some exciting plans for 2010!