I spent last week in Barajas, a suburb of Madrid, home to both its airport and exhibition centre. I basically went from the former to the latter, staying in the hotel we found last year, which is a total steal and close to both. I was giving my beloved a helping hand as running an exhibition stand on one’s own is a bit of a nightmare.
We and just four other companies were on the UK Exhibition stand which we set up on Monday. Fairly basic, but nonetheless effective, we just hung a series of laminated posters on the backboards. Luckily for my beloved, I bought essential supplies with me including scissors to cut the Velcro, wet wipes to clean the hired stand equipment and paper handkerchiefs to wipe greasy finger marks off the glass exhibition case.
Having worked in the dental industry for so long, my beloved knows everyone and vice versa. This meant it was only a matter of time before he went walkabout and disappeared for an extended period leaving me to deal with the hordes. I had my product sales pitch off pat and could answer all but the most technical of questions.
Time can often hang heavy at exhibitions, I speak from bitter experience. You always need something to keep yourself occupied to help the time pass. Luckily, we were inundated with visitors. This may have had something to do with the position of the stand, on route to one of the lecture theatres and near to the refreshment stand. Our full range of linguistic skills was tested and my so-called restaurant Spanish was regularly pressed into service to explain products benefits.
It’s a while since I’ve been to a Dental exhibition and inevitably I bumped into tons of folks I haven’t seen for some time and some I couldn’t ever remember having met! Was I having a senior moment? No, I don’t think so, rather that the individuals weren’t particularly memorable. I mean, you wouldn’t forget when and where you met George Clooney now would you? Sadly, there are no George Clooney look-alikes in the dental industry because, if there were, trust me I would’ve made sure I met them.
Days tend to merge one into another at exhibitions as you shuttle from hotel to exhibition centre and back again. Over the years I’ve learnt several important lessons:-
- Wear comfortable shoes, you spend a lot of time standing
- Remember to drink plenty of water, the air conditioning is very drying
- Wear plenty of moisturiser (see 2 above)
- Make sure you get the contact details of everyone who visits the stand
- If at all possible, try and grab some fresh air during the day
- Take your own refreshments (water) and lunch to avoid being ripped off by the exhibition centre’s catering services
It’s also important to stay at a hotel close to the exhibition centre with a gym and a good restaurant as you rarely get the time, opportunity or even inclination to stray far.
That said we did wander out of the hotel into downtown Barajas which had plenty of bars and great restaurants around its town square. These included a Polperia which we had to try, twice. You know how I love octopus! It wasn’t quite as good as the octopus in Galicia, but definitely up there.
It might seem odd that we didn’t venture into central Madrid but it’s a place we’ve visited a number of times before and have already fully explored the glories of the Museo del Prado, Madrid’s many parks, plazas, markets, shops and wonderful restaurants.
After a successful few days at the exhibition, where the visiting dentists from all over the globe showed much interest in the product and we may have found distributors for a couple of key markets, we headed to Valencia – my beloved’s choice. He’s visited the place a couple of times on business and has raved about it but it’s unchartered territory for me. I had fondly imagined I might visit it one November for the last MotoGP race of the season – ah, well, another year. Watch out for my postcard from there.