Organising global horticultural trade shows

What are the consequences of globalization on floral industry exhibitions? We asked Maaike Koop. Her company, GREENN, helps horticultural exhibitors participating in exhibitions.

“We help potential participants at exhibitions in countries like Turkey, Russia and Spain from constructing their booths to translating on the spot. An exhibition is a complex thing so we give our clients the help they need. For them exhibitions are important, but they aren’t their core business. We take away any possible difficulty  so they can do their job and simultaneously   keep their business running.”

“Acting global is more and more a reality for many floral companies. Exhibitions almost always are a part of globalizing, though a company could also take part in a local fair and see foreign customers. But more and more producers see the chain doesn’t end with  an export company, but at a flower shop or a supermarket. Growers don’t want to bypass their export company, they just want to be visible. That’s why they participate in exhibitions in  their major (or new) markets abroad. On the other hand, local wholesalers, florists or supermarkets want to meet  their foreign suppliers in person .”

“Exhibition organizers are globalizing, too. That’s OK, provided your relationship with them is good. We have a mutual interest, organizing attractive exhibitions. For example, people I work with in Russia could provide me with contacts in China which benefits my clients.”

“I don’t think globalization will lead to more floral exhibitions. But there is a need to participate and by professionalizing fair organizations, and with our help, participating has become easier for growers. Participating in an international exhibition is obviously an investment, but from our experience it helps increase business significantly. As long as there are attractive international floral fairs there will be floral participants eager to attend .”

Of the 138 exhibitions Messe Frankfurt ( an 800-year old company ) organized in 2016, 87 were held outside of Germany.

The Frankfurt exhibitions are also as successful as they are international (53% of the visitors and 76% of the exhibitors are from abroad). But this is no guarantee for future success. Trade fairs become irrelevant when internal and external factors are not continuously reconciled. Therefore, Messe Frankfurt invests in products (exhibition themes) and markets. Since the late 1980’s they span the globe with various brands. Often a Frankfurt ‘flagship event’ will be followed by a similar exhibition elsewhere.

Messe Frankfurt, owned by the city of Frankfurt am Main (60%) and the state of Hesse (40%), has subsidiaries and branch offices in Europe, the US, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Asian subsidiaries are united under Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd., headquartered in Hong Kong. A closely knit network of 55 international sales partners, covering 175 nations and 30 subsidiaries throughout the world, forms the basis of Messe Frankfurt’s global reach .

Visitors and exhibitors benefit from this global orientation for Messe Frankfurt truly attracts an international clientele. Take, for instance, Floradecora, the floral exhibition that had its premiere last January. This fair benefitted from Christmasworld, the great fair for seasonal decorations, which was held on the same dates. Christmasworld draws a highly interesting international audience, so Floradecora did too. That’s how globalization can unite  an international audience with  an exhibition, wherever it’s held.

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