As the events industry goes through a tough patch, we catch up with Malta’s leading supplier of wristbands for a chat about the current situation. The team at MALTA WRISTBANDS has been supplying identity solution products to local event organizers and venues for nearly 10 years. At Stag Malta we use custom printed wristbands as a way to easily identify our guests and to control entrances to private events. Anyone spending a few days in Malta and visits a beach lido, hotel or nightclub is likely to get a wristband at some point. We sat down with Daniel for 5 minutes to hear their thoughts on the local entertainment scene in Malta and how promoters and venues organizers are needing to tweak their operations to combat the COVID challenges.
How have you seen Malta’s entertainment industry change in the last 10 years?
Certainly things have changed a lot in a relatively short period of time – definitely in the last 5 years or so. Many venues seem to have upped their offerings considerably and are looking to cater to a higher end market for both locals and tourists. The summer months have seen the biggest change with a huge influx of visitors all looking to cram as many events as possible into their holiday. Almost all businesses involved in tourism have improved their facilities and holidaymakers now have a vast range of activities to chose from both during the day and at night. From boat charters and beach lidos during the day, to pub crawls and nightclubs at night – there is plenty to keep guests busy! Thankfully the increase in general tourism numbers has boosted the local economy in recent years and this has translated to an increase in work for us. We supply most of the major venues with custom printed wristbands in Malta and have seen a gradual increase in numbers year on year. Hopefully the next 5-10 years are also positive in terms of improving the overall product that Malta offers in a relatively small island. With other destinations such as Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Croatia to name a few it is important that all stakeholders work together to keep up the progress.
How has the coronavirus affected your business?
I imagine that the situation has affected everyone in Malta – either directly or indirectly. We have seen a big drop in tourist numbers and this means hotels, restaurants, beaches are all less busy than usual and the subsequent drop in money being spent. We try to look on the positive side of things that Malta has done very well in fighting the virus and with the airport re-opening in mid July. With our relatively low number of cases tourists may see Malta as an attractive last minute destination and we feel that summer could be extended right through until October. There are many other countries who have been hit worse than Malta and so we have a ‘glass half full’ attitude. Of course nobody knows the long term implications and how things will pan out but hopefully 2021 will be a more normal year in terms of tourism and travel in general. Business travel is a big question mark and it will probably affect the number of conferences that are held. This was an area where we supplied personalized lanyards to various organizers and we hope that this also returns to some normality in the months to come.
What are your most popular wristbands?
The most popular product we offer is the Tyvek wristband – sometimes known as a paper wristband. They are cheap, waterproof and available within 24 hours of being ordered – making them ideal for short term use at venues across Malta. We stock millions of plain wristbands at anytime and have a variety of 15 different colours for customers to choose from. Using our website users can make their own wristband using text and logos in full colour before selecting the quantity required. Customized Tyvek wristbands make up about 80% of our orders and are the cheapest wristbands in Malta. We offer all other types of wristbands including fabric festival wristbands which can be worn for weeks or even months at a time. For charities we supply silicone wristbands which is the ideal product for fundraising activities and can include the logo and moto of the organisation.
What can we expect to see in terms of new products moving forwards?
As the saying goes – if you are not moving forwards you are moving backwards – and we are working hard to try and continue to develop identity solution products that will be used and worn in the coming years. Eco friendly wristbands in Malta are a product we are developing as the trend for carbon neutral events is clearly growing. We have already launched a fabric wristband made from recycled plastic which is available to all customers looking for a greener alternative. Additionally we are working with suppliers to be able to offer a biodegradable Tyvek wristband but this is still in development for now. Of course new technologies like RFID wristbands are common in other countries but the technology is not widely used or available in Malta yet. We expect that to change in the near future as the setup costs reduce and more venues move to contactless payments for everything from entrance to even buying drinks! We continue to strive to be at the forefront of new product lines and launch them to the local market as soon as possible.