by Jane Geary, Marketing Manager
Show Review, Private Hire and Taxi Exhibition, Milton Keynes 2016
There’s nothing quite like a trade exhibition or industry conference to get the blood pumping and the enthusiasm raging…..throw in a bit of introspective navel gazing and I found that this year’s PHTM Expo was just that! Two days of networking on the show floor, a programme of topical and stimulating seminars complete with a panel Q&A forum and all topped off with an evening of socialising and putting the industry to rights - well into the early hours of the morning!
An industry of opportunities or one facing some huge challenges?
As someone relatively new to the industry (although a professed ‘truck geek’) this was the perfect opportunity to find out what makes the market tick. What are the issues … the opportunities …. the threats … what gets our goat … and what gets us going … ?
It would appear that there was plenty of potential to focus on the negative … how are we going to react to the next round of legislation, what sort of impact are the TNC’s (Transport Network Company’s an all-encompassing term I learnt that replaces that ubiquitous four letter word U**r) going to have on our businesses and how can we adopt and adapt to remain viable and more importantly profitable?
However all the components that made PHTM so successful focused on the positives – the strengths we can offer the market and the opportunities available.
‘O’ the missing link in SWOT analysis
The idea of focusing on opportunities rather than threats was probably most present in Wim Faber’s Keynote presentation titled ‘Where’s the O in your SWOT analysis?’ A Brussel based journalist with more than thirty five years’ experience in the private hire and taxi sector, Wim demonstrated a thorough understanding of the challenges and pressures faced by private hire and taxi operators in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Wim addressed a number of topical issues – such as urbanisation, connectivity and autonomous vehicles, and for each potential threat identified a number of opportunities available to forward thinking operators and technology partners.
United we stand
One overriding message on the show floor, in the seminar presentations and at the bar in the early hours of the morning was that together we can weather any storm. By uniting against common threats – whether they are competitive, environmental, social or legislative we are a force to be reckoned with.
Equally as apparent to a ‘newbie’ eager to learn was the wealth of experience and expertise within the industry and a willingness to share. Possibly most evident over a drink or two on the Wednesday evening this openness was matched in desire for and respect of suppliers who understand the industry and the challenges it is facing.
I came away from the PHTM Expo with mixed emotions. While many operators felt ‘there was nothing new’ to see or experience – something suppliers in a fast moving, forward thinking industry need to be mindful of, there was, for me at least, a feeling of excitement. Ours’ is an industry not without its challenges but by working together to a common goal we can achieve virtually anything.
And, now that my feet have stopped aching, I am already looking forward to next year’s show!