26th March 2010
Turbulent is a word that many companies in the events industry would use to describe 2009 and exhibition systems company AYL is no different.
Darren Grylls, sales director at AYL described last year as a "rollercoaster of a ride". While the company lost clients to the recession, it also found that larger companies changed the way they searched for exhibition products.
They were looking outside of their normal suppliers to source the likes of exhibition systems, which benefited AYL, he said.
"2009 saw us providing to some major large blue chip companies and groups that we had not provided to before," Mr Grylls explained.
A family-run business which has been in operation for 11 years, AYL prides itself on excellent customer service. While some companies have reported that they have had to change the way they work as a result of the recession, placing more emphasis on their relationship with clients, AYL has not seen a need to do anything different.
"We have always been driven by customer service," Mr Grylls commented. "Our work is not complete until our client has their goods and are happy."
After a challenging 2009, the company has enjoyed a good start to 2010, with strong sales in all areas of the business.
"This time of the year has always been a traditional busy period for the exhibition industry and 2010 is living up to pre-recession sales figures," Mr Grylls commented.
Online marketing will continue to be a key focus for the company as it aims to make the most of new products. AYL is planning to launch new pages for its website, www.exhibition-kits.co.uk, as it expands its product offering.
The company is introducing chalkboard A boards and display plinths, plus is launching a new item that it has been developing over the last two years, which is a new take on the "ever-popular" concertina screen.
"Our new concertina screen is covered in an InterVene fabric, which is a wipe clean fabric which can be used in hospitals, vet practices, doctor's surgeries and any other area where an antibacterial screen is required," Mr Grylls explained.
As well as promoting itself via the website as it has always done, AYL will also be exhibiting for the first time. The company's maiden appearance at a show is planned for April. It will exhibit at the Network Central 2010 event in Exeter, where it will showcase its product and service to local businesses.
So what about the outlook for 2010? Mr Grylls believes, as do many others, that things will be different for the events industry as we emerge from recession. Prior to the downturn the sector enjoyed a boom period which Mr Grylls said is unlikely to be seen again for some time.
"Companies are now not quick to spend; they now give more thought into the right exhibition product for their business to ensure they are spending wisely," he explained.
Mr Grylls sees customer service playing a "massive" part in AYL's future success. "We are driven, as always, by our clients," he confirmed.
"There is an old saying of 'look after your customers or someone else will' this is true today that it has ever been," Mr Grylls concluded.