Horse of the Year Trade Site Demand Hits Record High!

14 Feb

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A stellar 2019 event for Hawke’s Bay’s Horse of the Year is spurring a record spike in retail fever with demand for the show’s popular trade sites reaching full capacity.

260 retail marquees will make the pilgrimage to Australasia’s biggest equestrian showpiece next March, up 16 percent on earlier this year and 25 percent on 2011.

Land Rover Horse of the Year trade manager Sophie Blake believes the event’s retail boom is proof momentum has kicked into a new gear.

“It’s a retail ripple effect, trade bookings for Horse of the Year 2020 came in fast.  With such an amazing show in 2019 most rebooked straight after the show.  With rider entry numbers up again and the overall atmosphere growing, the word around town is Land Rover Horse of the Year is the show to attend.”

Increasing attendance levels indicate the show is gaining appeal with a wider  audience and not just the equestrian-minded.

“Perceptions are changing – when people think of Horse of the Year, they don’t only think horses and competition, they think shopping and entertainment.   With more trade exhibitors crossing the ditch and the usual favourites, Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020 is shaping up to be one of the biggest trade lists we have seen for some time, so start saving!”

Last March saw Land Rover Horse of the Year deliver its most high profile event yet, featuring international eventing super duo Tim and Jonelle Price and Olympic great Blyth Tait.  Of the 53 thousand plus spectators drawn, over 62 percent of those surveyed, reported shopping as their main reason for attending.

With almost half of those surveyed spending between 5 hundred and 3 thousand dollars, retail at Land Rover Horse of the Year has become a lucrative by-product for the region.

“The nature of this event, the on-ground camping and overall social aspect of the show  makes it a ‘must attend’ especially for serious retailers,” says Sophie.

“You have to be seen to be known.  With online shopping, the buyers want to feel and experience the product to give them the confidence to purchase throughout the year.”

Retailers choosing to exhibit at Land Rover Horse of the Year converge from all over New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa with a number of local Hawke’s Bay businesses represented.

Ms. Blake is keen to highlight the importance of ‘local’.

“We appreciate the support of new businesses who see the value of a major event being held in Hawke’s Bay and are equally happy to help expose them to big and global brands and audiences.”

Hastings saddlery experts Blair and Clare Forbes of Forbes and Co. have enjoyed their ride supporting the event since it came to Hawke’s Bay in 1997.

“It showcases Hawke’s Bay at its very best and brings together so many equestrian disciplines, The atmosphere is electric and the shopping is amazing.

“For local retailers Horse of the Year is a great opportunity to get in behind Hawke’s Bay to help promote an exciting event that brings so many people to our region.”

After two years of successful trading at Land Rover Horse of the Year, new Havelock North fashion brand Fortify Clothing’s director William Atkin agrees, and is looking forward to returning.

“Horse of the Year is a great marketing avenue, we get a far wider audience reach than what we’d get purely from social media platforms.  Aside from that there’s such a huge captive market so we’re simply expanding our customer base which is great.

“Other than Christmas week, this is our best week of trading for the entire year.  If you’re prepared to put money, work and time into producing a really great looking site, it’s a sure-fire success for any business.”

Winning the Most Interactive Site at the show’s Retailer Awards earlier this year goes hand in glove with the company’s ethos.

“Fortify as a company prides itself on old fashioned interaction because just having a great product isn’t enough these days.  People want personality, service and to feel good.”

Dipping their toe in the waters for the first time at Land Rover Horse of the Year next year alongside 29 new retailers will be Spa Pool Specialists, USA brand Hot Spring Spas.

Marketing manager Ben Wilson believes the event is a great fit and looks like a lot of fun.

“We saw Land Rover Horse of the Year as a captive audience with desirable demographics and the event being over a numbers of days is appealing.  Who knows, we may even have a spa set up for riders with weary legs – amongst other interesting activations!”

Land Rover Horse of the Year (March 10-15) has more than doubled in size and scale since moving to Hawke’s Bay – from six disciplines and 800 horses entered in 2001 to more than 1800 horses and 15 disciplines.

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