With 1,018 exhibitors and more than 22,000 trade visitors, OutDoor by ISPO 2019 celebrated a successful premiere in Munich. A new concept and an extensive supporting programme turned Europe's largest outdoor trade fair into a comprehensive experience platform.
87 percent of all visitors to OutDoor by ISPO 2019 described their visit to the event as "good" to "excellent" according to official market research conducted by Messe München. Feedback from the industry shows that OutDoor has arrived in Munich. The goal for the second edition in 2020: to optimise the format and improve it in a customer-oriented manner. Markus Hefter, Exhibition Group Director of OutDoor by ISPO and ISPO Munich, explains which specific adjustments the industry can look forward to.
ISPO.com: Mr. Hefter, how did the industry react to the premiere of OutDoor by ISPO? Have you received any direct feedback?
Markus Hefter: As we had already done when developing the OutDoor by ISPO concept in the run-up to the premiere, we sought close contact with the industry at all levels, both through our Advisory Board and expanded network and through our partner, the European Outdoor Group. All in all, the feedback for the first event was very positive, but of course - as with every new project - there were also numerous suggestions for specific improvements. We are very happy about the varied feedback, because only then do we know what moves people and how we can improve. We are now in the direct implementation of the corresponding measures.
What do these look like? Because originally you had convinced the European Outdoor Group in the OutDoor trade fair tender with, among other things, a new type of hall layout. How has this proven itself?
The generous distribution of the exhibition space across nine halls and the outdoor exhibition area, the very wide central aisles and open stand design provided the desired relaxed marketplace atmosphere. Subjectively, however, some exhibitors were under the impression that there were fewer visitors on the floor than actually attended. In addition, the flow of visitors in the C-halls of the site was not entirely satisfying for us. For 2020, we are optimising the hall layout: We will only occupy the A and B halls with access to the atrium. The central aisles will be made a little narrower. This means that we gain more exhibition space in each hall and make better use of niche areas without reducing the beautiful, airy ambience. At the same time, we promote a more even visitor flow.
Will the outdoor area and the atrium be used the same as last year?
The location of the Outside Exhibition Area adjacent to Hall B6 proved to be less than ideal. The area was too much separated from the main events in the halls and the outdoor feeling, with the exception of the evening events, did not really come up. Our new concept provides an integrated outdoor area in the atrium between the A and B halls. This is then divided into a relaxation zone, an activation zone and two party zones. A central HangOut area is complemented by activity-based areas that encourage participation - for example with the integration of slacklines. Exhibitors who present themselves in this area with their booking get an additional presentation opportunity in the adjacent hall. This way we create a connection between inside and outside.
Apart from visitor numbers and visitor flow: How do you increase the quality and internationality of the trade visitors - one of the most important criteria when it comes to participating as an exhibitor at the trade show?
The quality of the trade visitors in 2019 was very good. Over 80% of the more than 22,000 visitors stated in the official visitor survey conducted by Messe München that they had decision-making authority in their professional capacity. In order to further increase the quality and quantity of the visitors and to make better use of the potential of international distribution networks, we expanded our "Altogether to Munich" invitation and matchmaking tool. Our exhibitors can activate their own dealer network, subsidiaries or distributors with just a few clicks via the online-based invitation tool. With "Altogether to Munich", exhibitors may send 4-day tickets to sports retailers and buyers at no additional cost and also make appointments on site directly in the system. The tool is currently available in eight languages.
The camping area was also the subject of much discussion last year. Will visitors and exhibitors again have the opportunity to stay overnight at the camping site this year?
Yes, this year we will again set up a camping site within close proximity to the exhibition halls. In our eyes, it serves not only as an alternative to a hotel, but also as a meeting place for the industry. The proximity to the bathing lake in Riemer Park was already very well received last year. This summer, the trade fair campers can look forward to additional and improved gender-specific sanitary facilities, an optimised catering offer and extended green areas for tents. For a cosy end of the evening we also set up a central fireplace. It is expected that it will be possible to book the site from March onwards.