In the third part of the ISPO.com interview, Markus Hefter, Exhibition Group Director ISPO Munich, on the trade fair’s ticket policy and exhibitors’ privileges at ISPO Munich 2018 on January 28-31.
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ISPO.com: Mr. Hefter, time and time again the ticket situation is a hotly debated subject among trade visitors at ISPO Munich. As Exhibition Group Director, you’re sitting right at the source – please do explain supply, demand – and excesses.
Markus Hefter: First and foremost, we have the very positive situation that ISPO Munich is evolving very positively. For the first time, we’re expecting more than 2,800 exhibitors for 2018 – after we already set a record with more than 86,000 trade visitors in 2017. The demand for visitor tickets is also correspondingly high. We follow a very clear policy here: ISPO Munich is a B2B event, and thus kept back to the professional audience. We then have a successful trade fair when our exhibitors are satisfied – and naturally, that’s associated with the quality and quantity of the visitors.
For that reason we’ve also integrated free tickets for retailers into the participation price for ISPO Munich exhibitors, so they can invite their most important clients free of charge. For every ISPO Munich exhibitor, there’s a contingent of free tickets for their most important retail customers. Furthermore, all exhibitors have the opportunity to acquire additional reduced-price tickets.
However, in recent years we’ve also seen an increase in requests for free tickets from brands that aren’t exhibiting but still want to benefit from the advantages of an industry platform like ISPO Munich – that means fostering customer contacts and meeting both suppliers and their own retailers. The victims there are our paying exhibitors, and it’s important that we protect them.
That means: Exhibitors are sometimes irritated when their competitors who aren’t exhibiting suddenly want to hold meetings in the trade fair spaces or get cheap tickets?
In fact, we’re registering more and more requests from non-exhibitor brands who want to rent conference rooms on the trade fair premises and conduct their customer meetings there.
We’re following a very clear policy here: the conference rooms are reserved for our exhibitors. There are no free tickets for non-exhibiting brands. Due the increase in visits from brands that aren’t exhibitors, right now we’re working out a ticketing pricing concept that will take effect starting 2019 – with the goal of taking the load off of our exhibitors. At the moment we do have the situation where all visitors pay the same price. We want to change that.
That you want to protect the exhibitors makes sense. How are things looking with the key visitor group of specialty retailers – in comparison to marketing agencies or other third parties?
For us and our customers, the retailer visit is the foreground of trade fair involvement.
We already offer a series of specials and services that are geared towards the needs of retail. This includes a special with Deutsche Bahn, Lufthansa, and a simple online room booking service. In the future, we’re going to significantly strengthen our activities geared at retail and design visits to be even easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective.
ISPO Munich will also remain open for other trade visitor groups. The initiation of new business relationships is an important point. But in the future, we will take on much more responsibility for other trade fair guests, and especially non-exhibiting brands.