BETA International ended its final year at the NEC, Birmingham, ahead of a move to Stoneleigh Park in 2021, with a visit from Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, who addressed the show’s visitors after being introduced to exhibitors on a tour of the halls.
“I do hope coming here helps you to focus on what to do, perhaps do it better and see where the new ideas are coming from, and what people’s expectations are,” she said. “Many of you are small- to medium-size enterprises and that adds its own challenge. Staying in touch through BETA, its membership and this show, I hope, makes life a little bit easier.
“The show has played a real role in developing new businesses and helping established ones to maintain their position, not just nationally, but internationally. It is still fundamentally important to you as a sector.”
Following the Princess Royal’s speech, BETA International organiser Claire Thomas presented her with a donation for the Riding for the Disabled Association, of which she is president.
Hundreds of new products – many unveiled for the very first time – took the limelight, and many were highlighted in the Shires Equestrian New Product Gallery and the Pet Product Gallery, a showcase of the pet world’s finest, introduced to the show for 2020.
ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart was back in the halls as the host of Talking Business, BETA International’s industry debate on the Sunday at The Charles Owen Spotlight.
This year’s panellists were Abbey England managing director Richard Brown; Shires Equestrian joint managing director Marcus Cridland; Redpin Publishing commercial director Andy Haines; Highfield Equestrian and Online for Equine director Victoria Highfield; and Pet n Pony managing director Chris Hughes.
Discussing the changing dynamics of the retail environment, Ms Highfield noticed the consumer market being more “price driven”, while Mr Hughes said it was important to “create an experience in-store” to fight back against falling footfall.
Mr Cridland added: “Independent retailers have always been the lifeblood of our industry.”
New for 2020 was the Seminar Theatre, with a collection of sessions, including AMTRA-accredited companion animal and equine CPD modules for SQPs.
BETA International organiser Claire Thomas said: “BETA International 2020 was a sensational show for both exhibitors and visitors, who were delighted with our new feature areas and the wide range of exciting new products in the halls. The royal visit was the icing on the cake for everyone in the halls and a timely occasion as we said goodbye to the NEC after 26 years and prepare to move on to pastures new.
“We are incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and will be unveiling all our plans very soon. But, for now, we are thrilled with this year’s event and are celebrating its success. We would like to extend our thanks to all supporters of the show and our sponsors and suppliers, who really make this all possible.”
BETA International 2021 will take place at the NAEC Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, from January 24-26.