What is a UKAA Reverse Trade Show and why should you attend?

The UKAA held its first Reverse Trade Show in 2019, as part of its annual Build to Rent (BTR) Expo. The event brought together operators, owners, investors, and suppliers using a “speed dating” format of introductory meetings. It was a roaring success.

Then came Covid and lockdowns, with the result that UKAA’s Reverse Trade Shows moved online, and the Virtual Reverse Trade Show was born. 

Fast-forward to the present day and the UKAA holds both in-person Reverse Trade Shows and Virtual Reverse Trade Shows. 13 events have taken place so far, with more in the pipeline.

“I found the reverse trade show to be a great way to meet people I would not normally get access to. It is a valuable opportunity to make a first impression and sow the seeds for a future relationship.”

What is a Reverse Trade Show?

A Reverse Trade Show is a fun and fast format for operators and suppliers in the BTR sector to meet and rapidly determine whether there are opportunities for them to do business. A Virtual Reverse Trade Show is the same – it just takes place virtually, online, rather than in person.

The Show is spread across two hours, with major purchasers/operators in the room (or virtual room on Zoom). Suppliers move from meeting to meeting for pre-booked one-to-one “speed dates” lasting approximately eight minutes each.

The UKAA aims to have a minimum of ten operators at each Virtual Reverse Trade Show. Suppliers can use the event to secure quality appointments with high closing rates through scheduled meetings with their chosen operators. Each supplier selects their top five choices of the purchasers/operators in attendance, with the UKAA guaranteeing they will meet with at least three of them during the event.

“Great event, particularly valuable for start-ups building their network. Accessing real decision makers in real estate can be a challenge in the best of worlds; this event made it straightforward, friendly, and productive.”

The benefits of attending

For suppliers, there are multiple reasons to attend a Virtual Reverse Trade Show. Participants to date have reported securing future meetings for a full pitch, booking follow-up calls after “really very encouraging interest” from BTR operators, finding out information they would not otherwise have access to and making connections with purchasing decision-makers who they would usually have found it hard to access.

Nor is it just the suppliers who benefit, with operators finding the Virtual Reverse Trade Shows to be a highly efficient, concentrated method of making valuable new connections. It is no coincidence that 100% of those surveyed about their attendance at a Reverse Trade Show said they would participate again.

“The quality of the suppliers I spoke to was quite high so I can see me at least considering about 70% of them. The amount of time spent with the was just right because it meant I wasn’t wasting too much time when I knew they weren’t right for us.”

How to get involved

Virtual Reverse Trade Shows are exclusively available to UKAA members only. Participation costs £800 per supplier company, which covers attendance for two people at the event.

Details of the next Virtual Reverse Trade Show can be found on the UKAA website.

“The UKAA reverse trade show is a must for all companies looking to speak with quality, professional and knowledgeable suppliers in the BTR sector – cannot be missed.”

“We look forward to welcoming innovative operators and suppliers to our Reverse Trade Shows, both those in-person and Virtual, enabling them to make the connections that are so essential to success in the fast-paced, expanding UK BTR sector. I would urge any supplier who hasn’t yet experienced a Reverse Trade Show to participate and discover the wealth of opportunities that it can lead to.”


Brendan Geraghty, CEO, UKAA


For more information, please contact emma@ukaa.org.uk or visit https://www.ukaa.org.uk/