“For the construction industry in the Middle East there is no bigger event than the Big 5 Dubai and I’m excited to be part of it,” says Josine Heijmans, the new event director for The Big 5 Dubai.
Heijmans took the helm of the show earlier this year and promises exhibitors and visitors that this year will be something special, building on last year’s incredible success.
In 2014, 80,178 participants gathered at the World Trade Centre during the four days, which was an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year – and this year is set to be bigger, says Heijmans.
“The response in terms of business and participants has been excellent with huge support for new features at The Big 5.”
This is a big event and the new event director, who brings a wealth of experience in the event industry to the role, reveals a genuine enthusiasm for the construction sector.
“The Big 5 is the main event of the year for all construction professionals. Nowhere else offers the opportunity to meet and network with so many people as well as the chance to view literally thousands of products across all sectors.
“We have a great team and a track record of success from which we can continue to grow for the benefit of the sector.”
Heijmans believes however that no show can stand still and this year there are an estimated 36,000 products and the exhibitors are expected to top 3,000.
But she says that The Big 5 is more than that: “The whole team is focused on a great visitor experience with an expected 63 countries exhibiting.
“Planning is the key to to get the most out of your event visit,” says the event director. “Firstly, download The Big 5 app on your smartphone. It’s easy and makes your visit to the World Trade Centre more efficient.
“Next, get a feel for the layout of the show: see where the sections that interest you are located, check the individual companies, network with industry peers and look through the programme of workshops and talks. Decide what interests you and start planning your event visit well in advance. Also make sure to benefit from the print at home badge after pre-registering your visit to the show to avoid the queues onsite.
“The Big 5 covers the whole exhibition centre, it may need a couple of days to ensure you get to see everything that interests you. Remember this is the sole event of its type that offers so much in one place and everyone I’ve spoken to who visited last year agreed pre-planning was the answer. Decide how many hours you feel you’ll need there – then double it. There’s so much to see.”
She said: “The enhanced educational programme has grown to more than 75 CPD workshops this year.”
Also, this year there is extra attention for the role of distributors at the show.
“One of the difficulties for distributors was to meet with new manufacturers, they come to the show where they are promoting their existing products and may not get the opportunity to take on new lines,” says Heijmans
“This year we have addressed that directly and on the third day of the show we have an event specifically for key distributors to meet international manufacturers with products new to the region.”
The Big 5 is the largest construction event in the region and for thousands of people it is the chance to meet, exchange ideas and do business.
“But it is also about entertainment and this year’s live demonstrations promise to be a key attraction,” says Heijmans.
“We want there to be a fun element too and if that includes an element of education, that’s even better.”
Last year’s show was a sell out, with no exhibition space unfilled. This year the addition of The Big 5 Focus has increased the capacity of the event.
Heijmans said: “The Big 5 Focus is almost a show within a show with even more international exhibitors, free CPD certified educational sessions on project management and construction technology, as well as prize giveaways and the CPD certificate collection point. Focus will be a must-visit section at the show.”
It is also in the Big 5 Focus Hall – in the Technology in Construction Theatre – that the prize winner of the Gaia awards will be announced on the second show day, with the chance to win US$ 50,000 on marketing exposure for the winning sustainable product.