European venues: Border crossings

Some exhibitions like to stay at the same location. Others, however, take a more peripatetic stance, moving to a new location each time. But how do venues cope with this moveable feast? Stuart Derrick investigates.


Reed Exhibitions has run In-Cosmetics on an annual basis since 1990.

Because the cosmetics industry is focused on both France and Germany, the show visits venues in these countries predominantly, although other nations including the UK and Italy have hosted the show.

The exhibition brings together suppliers to the cosmetics world and industry buyers. Exhibition director Patricia Lefevre says the show moves because the international nature of the business cries out for a range of cosmopolitan locations and new venues add to the excitement of the show.

As a travelling show the audience is different every year; another advantage, she says. "Although the show attracts senior visitors, more junior personnel in cosmetics companies are also able to visit the show because it travels. Often the only time they can attend is when it is in their own country."

The show has a steering committee made up of Lefevre and key exhibitors who assess future venues for the show. When considering venues, the existence of an indigenous cosmetics industry is important. The venue should also be located centrally to allow for entertainment and hospitality, and must be a major international hub for North American and Asian visitors.

Preferably it should offer a single, pillar-free space on ground level.

This year the show returns to Germany, but is visiting Berlin for the first time at Messe Berlin on 12-14 April. "Usually it's Dusseldorf or Frankfurt but Berlin is ideally situated for encouraging more Eastern European and Russian visitors," says Lefevre.

An Eastern European location, Warsaw, was considered for 2008 but did not have a suitable central venue. Amsterdam's RAI therefore picked up the contract for 2008, beating out competition from London, Brussels and Milan.

Lefevre visits pitching venues when they are holding a show, ideally one that is in the same sector. "RAI was running the very successful Health Ingredients show, which looked fantastic in the halls they were offering us."

Because In-Cosmetics is peripatetic, Lefevre admits that organisation starts afresh with each venue. "We are lucky in that Reed has people in every market and I will liaise with local organisers to ensure that we are getting the best rate, and also on things such as health and safety, and contractors," she says.

Caroline Lecuyer, head of exhibitions at Porte de Versailles, which held the event in 2003 and will host it again in 2007, says the exhibition enjoys a relationship with Reed because of the number of shows it hosts for them. "We do about 40 Reed exhibitions a year so we have an existing relationship with Patricia which helps in organisation."

Lefevre insists that the show format is not rigid despite the need to start from scratch every year. "A few years ago we had a monopoly and were more complacent and laid back but there have been competitors launched so we have to think what's right for the customer rather than what's right for us."


The Federation of European Screen Printers Associations (FESPA) represents 26 national associations throughout Europe and its triennial show has been running since 1963. It is the major exhibition for the industry requiring 50,000sq m of space.

Until a year ago the event was outsourced to Dutch event company Promotional Projects, but FESPA has now taken the £1.5m show in-house. The organisation recruited Frazer Chesterman as exhibition director from Brintex to head up a dedicated team.

The show has always moved to reflect the make up of the industry. "Member associations see it as an honour to have the show in their country," Chesterman says. "However, some do not have the infrastructure to handle the show." The show's frequency has increased gradually. It was originally held every four years before adopting the triennial approach. This year's show is being held at the Messe Munich with the next show taking place in 2007 to avoid a clash with the print industry's major show DRUPA in 2008. Chesterman says he would like FESPA to remain biennial if possible.

Another unusual factor is that the 2007 show goes back to Germany, to Berlin. "It is unusual for consecutive shows to be in the same country, however Munich is seen as a southern European venue and Berlin a northern one. There are not many northern venues that can cope with a show this size. It was down to Berlin, London and the RAI," says Chesterman. The May 2005 show in Munich will be the largest ever, with 500 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors expected.

Chesterman denies that peripatetic shows get worse service than regular shows. Although the show is only at a venue once, the possibility that it may return keeps venues keen, he says. "It would be easier in some ways to keep the event in one location, but venues can become complacent about keeping their customers satisfied. A moving show attracts a lot of competitive bids."

The success of the show has led to the launch of two new spin-offs: FESPA Asia which will take place in India and FESPA Digital which runs in Amsterdam.

"It is likely that both of these shows could be peripatetic so we have branded them in such a way that they are not tied to one destination," says Chesterman.


CMP Information's pharmachemical show CPHI has been growing for the past 16 years and now attracts 20,000 decision makers from 110 countries. For such a globally diverse industry, variety of locations is important, says Simon Foster, general manager of CMPi subsidiary Ingredients Events. "Visitors want to go somewhere they haven't been before and are looking for cities with great opportunities for entertaining. It's a global industry so direct flights are essential," he says.

Ensuring consistency of quality for the annual show, which this year takes place at Feria de Madrid, Spain, has become the main focus for CMPi, says Foster. "It does make it difficult that we move the show around every year, but that's what the industry wants. However, we are looking to decrease the number of venues we visit to reduce planning time, for both ourselves and the venues."

As Foster sees it there must be a mutually beneficial relationship between the show and the venues it visits. "We want to be able to book beyond the planning windows of most venues, which don't extend beyond four or five years. However if we are to get them to hold slots for us up to 20 years in advance, which is what we are considering, then there has to be something in it for them also."

One of the main problems the show faces is securing rooms for its 20,000 visitors. Securing advance venue bookings will help. Although the show requires 80-90,000sq m, it is relatively straightforward to run as it has a reputation as a working exhibition where elaborate builds are not common.

CMPi is looking to reduce the roster of venues it uses for CPHI. In doing so, it will be able to guarantee venues more business in return for holding dates.

Foster says the approach will give CMPi greater bargaining power with venues and will mean that they do not have to reinvent the wheel every year.

Pan-European arrangements are also being considered for contractors to ensure consistency. "We want to have the benefits of a peripatetic show with greater consistency. That counts for dates as well, where we want to command the first two weeks in October."

David Boon, deputy director of Brussels Expo, which hosted CPHI in 2004 says that although it hadn't hosted the show before, it was able to draw on experience of other travelling shows such as Cinema Expo and Post Expo.

"You have to prove that you can cope with this type of show. We also visited the previous two CPHIs in Paris and Frankfurt," he says.

Briefing for a peripatetic show can take longer, he admits, and venues have to ask the right questions. Accommodating shows with the dates they want can also be an issue, he says.

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