In 2018, the Hillhead exhibition achieved its highest-ever attendance, welcoming 19,753 people through its physical doors over a three-day period.
Last night’s Hillhead (almost) LIVE event more than 28,000 people from around the world through its gates on Instagram alone. Combine that with the thousands that watched the event LIVE across a variety of Facebook and YouTube channels, and Hillhead (almost) LIVE was a game-changer.
Now I am not getting carried away. More than an hour and a half of awesome video is no substitute for being able to see and touch equipment first-hand. And it is certainly no substitute for putting potential customer together with equipment salesman.
Then again, a good many people that attend physical exhibitions are there just to watch. In addition, with the “real” Hillhead pushed back to 2021, some companies might have been robbed of being able to showcase their products and services just a time when they need to be selling hardest. Furthermore, Hillhead (almost) LIVE afforded some companies the opportunity to engage with people they would never have encountered otherwise. Companies like CanTrack, Make Mine a Builders Tea and Sleipner, for example.
The event was not without its faults, of course. There are several companies that I would have liked to have been included but which were unable due to the Coronavirus lockdown. The LIVE broadcast on Faecbook was a little clunky at times. And I wish we had signed off with a roll of credits to thank all those that took part. All of that has been duly noted for the next outing of the Hillhead (almost) LIVE dream team of Peter Haddock, Nick Drew, my son Fred and myself.
All that being said, I am immensely proud of what we achieved last night. We provided almost 30 equipment manufacturers with a vehicle through which to showcase their products and services. We welcomed tens of thousands (and counting) people into a first-of-its-kind event and allowed them to see some truly epic machines. And if we did nothing more than provide the industry with a 90-minute distraction from the wider issues in the world, then our time was well spent and we achieved precisely what we set out to accomplish.