Friday 22 May 2020

London's Autumn Stampex Postponed - Goes Virtual

From a letter to PTS members

Autumn Stampex postponed and replaced with Virtual Stampex event

The PTS Council met today and voted unanimously to postpone Stampex this Autumn. Members with stands will be offered the option of transferring their booking to 2021, or they can request a refund. The physical show at the BDC will be replaced with a Virtual Stampex event to be held online.

More details are provided below and a follow up communication specific to stand holders will be sent next week. The philatelic press will also be advised of the decision tomorrow.

Rationale for postponement

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to our lives, our businesses and to the hobby in general. We know that getting stamp shows back up and running is important to many of our members, and to our clients.

The decision to postpone the show was not made lightly. A lot of meetings, reports and financial forecasts have allowed us to play out many scenarios, not just for Stampex, but also for the society. Some key considerations:

We have been working with the BDC on what they, and we, would need to do to create an event space which would meet government guidelines on social distancing. Examples include extended booth sizes to allow people to be 2 metres apart, spacing between stands and bays for distancing queues, one way systems, masks on arrival and gloves for handling items, extra signage, a loading bay schedule, the possibility of visitors booking slots to attend etc. The logistics are complex and costly to implement but not impossible.

We have a certain degree of influence over building up confidence about a safe Stampex environment at the BDC but we have no control over this, or on the wider infrastructure such as public transport.

We also have no control over travel and mass gathering restrictions, potential quarantine periods, media or family influence on people’s perception of attending such events etc. We know that building up the confidence of our client base (mostly over 60s) would be particularly challenging.

Irrespective of visitor numbers, we must consider how many stands we will sell in order to make the show financially viable. An optimistic estimate puts stand sales at 70% of target but we are already hearing of stand holders who would prefer to pull out of their booking if they could somehow receive a refund.

We are in a very fortunate position that, thanks to the long term relationship with the BDC and their understanding of our businesses and clients, and their gratitude for the support we provided in helping to reschedule the London2020 International, that the BDC have offered us an option to postpone the Autumn 2020 booking with no penalty fee. This offer expires at the end of this month hence the reason for us assessing event practicalities and running financial forecasts now. 

We hope that this early decision allows our stand holders to plan for the next six months knowing that the next Stampex at the BDC is now scheduled for Spring 2021. We will be working harder than ever to continue to help all of our members through this period.

More details about the Virtual Stampex here later.  From what I have read of the first thoughts, it sounds like a good idea, and will open up the world to new ways of dealing.

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