By Staff Reporter.
To say that this show was a disappointment is an understatement in the extreme.
As vape expos go, this was absolutely woeful from start to finish.
When I arrived at the convention centre there was nothing to say that a vape expo was taking place inside. No posters, no banners, no signage, absolutely nothing at all. It was the same story inside – not a single clue that I had arrived at the right venue.
The online floor plan boasted 63 stands and a large stage but as soon as I stepped foot inside the door I was in for my next shock.
There was no stage, hardly any visitors at all and perhaps about 20 stands in total.
I had literally seen everything there was to see in my first two minutes and I am being generous if I say that I counted a couple of dozen visitors in total during the morning.
This was going to be a very long couple of days and I was wondering just how slowly I would have to walk to kill time.
Normally at shows I am so busy that I don’t have any time to fully engage with all the entertainment and listen to the guest speakers.
The show website featured two guest speakers described as: “Some of the top advocates in the country with one of the most beautiful advocacy panels yet,” so it was a rather intriguing build up.
Sadly I was to be disappointed once again because they were not anywhere to be seen and therefore I cannot comment on how beautiful or otherwise these vaping advocates actually were.
I heard unofficial estimates that less than 200 visitors attended the event over the two days and from my own observations I would say this is in the right ball park.
This was such a disappointment because Ireland has a vibrant vaping community but where was everyone at this show?
Many of the exhibitors I spoke to criticised the poor organisation and questioned whether the event had been publicised enough. After all even the most passionate vapours cannot attend an event they don’t know about.
Certainly any vapers passing the venue would have had no idea that there was a vape expo going on inside.
I felt so sorry for the exhibitors who had paid a lot of money to attend and I was not surprised to hear that some were talking about obtaining refunds. I must say I can’t blame them.
I am used to shows where people queue to get in, there is thumping music, an air of excitement and thick clouds of vapour in the air but there was none of that here. In fact there were hardly enough visitors to fill a phone box with vapour.
I spent a lot of time chatting to exhibitors I knew and they were happy to have someone to engage with because they had so little else to do. Very often a good 15 to 20 minutes would go by between one person visiting a stand and the next. No wonder the exhibitors were angry.
During the weekend I had to come up with ways of passing the time such as counting the number of steps between stands and taking regular coffee breaks.
Never in my life have I made a large flat white latte last so long. Normally I am an espresso kind of guy but the five seconds they take to drink would not just cut it when I am running down the clock at such a vaping non-event as this.
This was horrifically boring with almost nothing to do. No cloud competitors and no give aways from the main stage…come to think of it there was no main stage and no crowds of people to give things away to.
Day two brought some excitement. A couple of official looking people visited the stands and gave some guidance about what could and what could not be sold at the show.
Shortly afterwards one vendor just decided to give all his stock away while another just cut his losses, packed up and went home.
Spending two days here was soul-destroying. This was a waste of time for all involved and I felt genuinely awful for exhibitors who had paid to be here because they got virtually nothing in return.