President of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO), Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel also holds the role of Director of Boot Düsseldorf. Here, Mr Jungmichel speaks exclusively to MarineBusiness-World.com about the challenges and his current focus both as an event director and at the helm of IFSBO. Prior to taking on the role with Boot Düsseldorf, what was your boat show background?
Before I came on board as Director with boot Düsseldorf, I had already gathered several years of experience in the trade fair industry – as an exhibitor and as an organiser. Most recently, I was responsible for a regional exhibition centre in Southwest Germany. What was your path to the boating/marine industry?
I have been connected to water sports and boats since my childhood. Family vacations were always around water. When the surfing boom hit in the 80s, I was unable to resist and purchased my own gear. Before I took on the task of manning the helm of boot Düsseldorf and steering it into the future, it was a natural part of the process for me to attain the appropriate boatmasters licenses. And that really paid off… How important are boat shows in Europe for marketing boats and the boating lifestyle? How do they fit in with other forms of marketing?
People are sense-driven. We want to feel, see, hear etc, in order to then form an opinion about something. This is only possible at shows or trade fairs – not on the Internet. And personal contact between people is still the best basis for building trust. This trust becomes the indispensible foundation for successful business between the boatyard and the customer.
In the framework of a marketing mix, a boat show can play a significant role in the sales and marketing of boats. Therefore, a boatyard is well advised to adapt and target all other marketing measures to a fair. Close collaboration between the boatyard and the show organiser is also paramount. When each party knows the other, they can create successful marketplaces together. What is your focus in your role with IFBSO?
As president of IFBSO, I see it as my duty to develop this organisation into a trusted advisor for the international boating industry and associations. It is us show organisers who support the industry in breaking into and successfully managing new markets. Supply and demand meet each other at shows. Which regions are keen to establish boat shows?
The global regions South America, India and China are much talked-about markets that are said to have great potential. A closer look, however, reveals several challenges to be faced on the road to success.
Only regions in which supply and demand naturally encounter each other offer true potential for a successful boat show. Artificially created scenarios, on the other hand, are not going to make the cut. How does IFBSO assist and support them?
We are stronger united. Benchmarks, workshops, experience exchange among each other, and so on, support the individual trade fair organisers within IFBSO in recognizing potential in the various regions and bringing water sports and yachting to them. What shows do you attend in this role?
As president of IFBSO, I try to attend as many member shows as possible. Of course it’s not possible to visit every event each year. For this reason, I do my best to ensure a good balance of visits in the years of my tenure. How do event and in turn exhibitors benefit from the resources at IFBSO?
If IFBSO members are 'leading boat shows of the world' and actually lead industries into the worldwide markets, exhibitors can’t find better advisors! How has Boot Düsseldorf evolved to meet exhibitor and visitor demands?
We can definitely win points with our visitors with our 'Experience 360º Water Sports' programme. The trade fair lives from active infotainment in meanwhile 18 different experience and theme worlds. It is our intention that our visitors leave their trade fair visit with thoughts and inspirations, and that they have fun, as well as the opportunity to experience water sports up close on site. We started with this programme five years ago, and each year new attractions are added.
Regarding the exhibitors, I feel it is very important to always have an open ear for the needs of the customers, and to remain in dialogue with them throughout the year. It is our duty as trade fair organisers to create functional platforms for international business. That is only possible with ongoing information exchange.
The functionality of the platform itself must also be continuously evaluated – new events must be created, new offerings added, informational programmes expanded… In short, we must always offer added value and make it easy for visitors to quickly and intentionally obtain an overview of the market and the suppliers. What counts is a short distance to the desired exhibitor or the desired product. What are its main achievements in recent years?
The successful development of the 'Experience 360º Water Sports' concept, which has given us access to a much younger audience – something that, by the way, is also being registered with delight by our exhibitors. The expansion of the show for sailboats and sailing yachts in halls 15 to 17. In this arena we have managed to draw the attractive multihull sector to Düsseldorf. And the revival of the big yacht hall, hall 6, which finally after difficult years following the economic and financial crisis is now clearly in an upwind. How do you keep it fresh every year?
Each year we conduct visitor and exhibitor surveys that provide feedback on our strengths and weaknesses. We also conduct extensive professional market research. What was well received? Where was the organisation weak? What are the topics that we need to address and develop further? These and many other findings continuously flow into the planning for the next boot. What are the main responses to the 2014 show?
We were able to record a significant increase in visitors this year, not lastly of course due to the optimal conditions – most importantly the weather. 248,600 visitors made for happy exhibitors, and for good business in many areas of the range of products and services. The exhibiting businesses were satisfied with the number, as well as the quality and internationality of visitors. So the show definitely provided important economic impulses that should continue to bear fruit throughout the remainder of the year. This has all been confirmed by our surveys. All in all there can be no question that boot Düsseldorf was able to strengthen its position as a leading international boat show. More at www.boat-duesseldorf.com