The 17th Annual – a GBM Like No Other –
January 25th to 29th, 2021
The 17th Annual Global Buyers Mission was held January 25th – 29th, 2021 and welcomed 677 delegates from all over the world to join us virtually, using the Whistler Conference Centre as our backdrop this year. Given the economic challenges faced by many international markets, we were extremely pleased with the efforts made by those buyers and suppliers that supported and participated in the 2021 Virtual Global Buyers Mission.
To assist the industry in converting to a virtual sales format, BC Wood’s Wood First Program hired research specialist and on-air talent Amber Mac to produce and deliver two 1.5-hour Virtual Sales Workshops to industry in the fall of 2020. We had the program re-focus on the GBM and delivered to all industry exhibitors in January, prior to the event. We also developed short on-line videos to assist with the registration process, how to build a virtual tradeshow booth, and how-to set-up your Zoom Room accounts. As well, we had two open sessions for industry to participate in a live site demonstrations and Q & A, to alleviate concerns over how the virtual event would look and work. This was the first online/virtual event for many of the attendees and our goal was to create an effective and enjoyable event for all the delegates.
Many thanks must go to our funding Partners, who without their continued support, we would not be able to deliver this world class event: Natural Resources Canada Expanding Market Opportunities Program (EMO), Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. (FII), Alberta Government and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Our main Corporate Sponsors this year included Glandell Enterprises, Daizen Joinery and the Teal-Jones Group.
CEO Brian Hawrysh welcomed our group with a pre-recorded video from Whistler, and the Honourable, Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the Honourable George Chow, Minister of State for Trade of British Columbia, and Beth MacNeil, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada also provided very welcoming pre-recorded statements for our Canadian and international delegates.
This year, we registered 268 pre-qualified buyers from Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Russian Federation, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. Half of these early respondents were first time GBM attendees and 73% said the event increased the likelihood that they would definitely or most likely purchase Canadian wood products. They also rated the virtual GBM a 68 Net Promoter Score, which is extremely positive and significantly higher than the average of 34 and our goal of 49. One buyer noted “Having the ability to interact 1-1 with manufacturers and mills was incredibly valuable. The virtual exhibitor platform was perhaps more effective than in-person events.”
Thanks must also go to the Federal Trade Commissioner Service and BC’s Trade & Investment Representatives from international markets that greatly assisted with the buyer recruiting this year. Twenty-three representatives from these services attended the GBM this year, engaging with many companies they had never met, due to budget restrictions and time of travel from their markets. They came from Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Poland, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. The virtual GBM event provided this unprecedented opportunity for both the trade officers and the participating Canadian manufacturers to meet and exchange information.
We also hosted 167 specifiers, our largest audience to date of North American architects, designers, contractors, developers, engineers and specifiers this year, to participate in our WoodTALKS™ program, held in conjunction with the GBM. This included 6 one-hour presentations by well-known BC architects and 16 thirty-minute mini-seminars, delivered on the tradeshow floor at the participating exhibitors booths. These activities were very well received by both the architect community and participating exhibitors and offered up to 14 valuable learning units to accredited professionals. Survey results for attendee’s interest in learning more about BC’s value-added wood products was 98.4%.
Canadian products on display by 51 manufacturers from across the country included timber frame structures, engineered wood products, treated lumber, reclaimed wood, cabinetry, building products and systems, prefabricated housing, Western Red Cedar products, and a variety of other value-added wood building products.
BC Wood’s GBM Mission Leaders organized hundreds of pre-scheduled meetings between buyers and exhibitors throughout the 5-day event. The GBM also provided social networking tables with different topics each evening. Of those that participated, 90% said it was a productive use of their time and would participate in similar activities in the future.
The GBM continues to be Canada’s best attended event dedicated to promoting value-added wood producers.