Philconstruct has been serving the industry for three decades, steadily growing in size and visitorship over the years. Due to Covid-19, last year was the first time the tradeshow was held virtually.
Ensure that the moderators are seasoned professionals, as they would be able to fill the silence in the event of a connection problem
As physical events were still not allowed in November, Philippine Constructors Association (PCA) agreed to a virtual show for 2020 with the proviso that it be futuristic, in keeping with its image of looking ahead into the future in tandem with the countryâ€™s build, build, build programme.
Global Link-MP’s COO, Jing Lagandaon, said Event Xtra was chosen as the platform provider as they found the software interactive, sleek, and was easy to navigate right from the get-go. Moreover, other platforms did not allow visitors to converse with exhibitors, which was a key component.
Global-Link MPâ€™s in-house designers developed a 3D design technology where the virtual venue â€“ from the lobby and exhibition halls to the products and a help desk â€“ was made to be as lifelike as possible. This also helped to showcase the construction equipment and machinery as closely to the real deal.
Being a virtual show helped to solve travel concerns like security, and the added costs of plane tickets and hotels. It featured a mix of local companies, as well as some of the show’s regular foreign exhibitors from countries such as Australia, New Singapore, and Germany.
In addition, stakeholders from all across the Philippines, and the world, could tune in without leaving their homes, but still provide the same opportunity to network with top-level professionals and stakeholders from the construction and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) industry.
Another bonus of a virtual setup was that Event Xtra could provide data analytics easily, and had a list of those who came to the exhibition booths for exhibitors to follow up with.
Philconstruct also featured an online edition of Technoforum, the showâ€™s knowledge-sharing forum which welcomed notable speakers from all over the world.
The most major challenge was transforming Philconstruct â€“ a mega international exhibition that physically took up two separate venues in Metro Manila â€“ into a virtual tradeshow.
Lagandaon shared that organising a virtual event is akin to starting a new business or concept, as they had to approach every single exhibitor and explain the idea via Zoom.
“We were not able to convince everyone (to join us virtually, but) those who we are able to convince realised that it works,” she said. â€œWe have also transformed the way we do things and the sales mindset.”
One of the challenges in holding a virtual event was Internet connectivity, which in the Philippines is notoriously slow and unstable. As a result, 80 per cent of the Technoforum was pre-recorded.
One of the live presentations, unfortunately, ran into connection problems. It was fortunate that the moderator was a past PCA president, and being knowledgeable in his craft, he managed to fill the 20 minutes of dead air until the speaker was able to reconnect.
â€œWe have been talking about digitisation for the construction industry for the past year or so. Doing this virtual edition of Philconstruct is just another way of showing the industry that there are more ways to do business now. Of course, we hope we can once again do the physical shows but we believe virtual is here to stay,” shared Ronaldo Elepano, the show’s overall event chairman.
For 2021, Philconstruct has announced it’ll be organising both virtual and physical shows.
Event Philconstruct VX (Philippine International Construction Equipment, Building Materials, Interior & Exterior Products Exhibition and Technology Forum)
Organiser Global Link-MP for Philippine Constructors Association
Dates November 5-11, 2020
Attendance 13,700 visitors and 147 exhibitors from around the world