Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2019 - Page 56

Country focus 15 minutes with: Ugo Ravanelli, CEO of Italian Exhibition Group What are your top three pieces of exhibition business? We could respond Vicenzaoro, SIGEP and stand fitting, but that would be restrictive, because our business is composite, interconnected and the result of a unitary strategy. Organising expos and conferences and enriching our core business with collateral ones is not sufficient for us: we want to be the key players of markets’ development. We’d therefore say, as far as the future is concerned, the gold sector, the food sector and the service sector. What is your current biggest challenge? Definitely internationality. When talking about expos abroad, joint participations, events, interchanges are often referred to. IEG is internationally structured with actual companies, other world- level expo organisers, such as VNU in China and Emerald in Las Vegas: along with them, we’re developing expos in the jewellery, tourism and environment sectors. In Dubai, we formed a company with Dubai World Trade Center and we have organised Vicenzaoro Dubai for four years. In the US, we have acquired one of the country’s most important stand fitting companies. For all exhibitors, we’ve launched an exclusive online platform for business match-making. What percentage of your exhibition business is organised by yourselves? 95% of IEG’s expos are owned by the Group and this is the main feature 56 Issue 2 2019 that distinguishes us from the majority of other expo centres. This is the basis of our success. Antonio Bruzzone, General Manager of BolognaFiere What are the main 3 trends on the Italian exhibition market and what do you feel your venue’s USP is compared to competitors? Internationalisation, Digitalisation and Sustainability. Sustainability is definitely IEG’s USP: it has been at the heart of our strategies for 23 years. Your top pieces of exhibition business over the last year? The BolognaFiere Group’s calendar includes 80 events in Italy and abroad. If we were to rank in terms of dimensions and number of exhibitors I would include Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, CERSAIE, EIMA International. Among the smaller events are the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (1,300 exhibitors, of whom 1,200 come from abroad), MarcabyBolognaFiere, and SANA. All are planned with multi-year contracts, if not organised directly by BolognaFiere. Fiera Milano’s Director of Communications Marina Tamagnini Your top pieces of exhibition business? Our strategic plan takes an holistic approach to the value chain. To ensure we deliver sustainable long-term growth, the focus is not on a limited number of exhibitions. It goes beyond that. We are strengthening our directly organised exhibitions by reinvesting our profits and leveraging the unique ecosystem in which our company HQ exists. What is your biggest challenge? With 80 exhibitions a year, we welcome 4.5m visitors and more than 35,000 exhibitors from SMEs to multinationals. Our challenge is to ensure that every one of them finds the experience they are looking for and that stepping into our shows means growth for businesses and bridges to new markets. What percentage of your exhibition business is organised by yourselves? We do both and that is our main asset. As organisers of top ehibitions such as Host Milano, the leading exhibition for hospitality, we are fully aware of what our clients want, experiencing it ourselves on a daily basis. What are the main trends on the Italian exhibition market and what is your venue’s USP? It is a volatile world and, in the exhibitions world more than in other sector, the capability of reading the evolutions in the external environment and how those can influence trends, sectors and future development is key. What makes Fiera Milano as a group a front- runner with a lot of untapped potential is a mix of ingredients: our venue, the ecosystem in which we operate, the intrinsic capability of our country to serve excellence in key sectors such as fashion, lifestyle and food worldwide, and the courage to work to embrace new developments within the digitalisation sphere to make the experience in our shows unique. You current challenges? In just 10 months we have completed the first step in our development plan for the exhibition centre that will see an investment of €138m. September 2018 saw the opening of new pavilions 29-30. The first large organisers to use them were Confindustria Ceramica for CERSAIE and FederUnacoma. A second stage includes a large new pavilion. Acquisitions last year include the Health and Beauty Group and Gruppo GiPLanet and integrating the new platforms is an important challenge. The next steps are to reinforce some exhibition sectors abroad: the PET sector could see us involved in new markets, the publishing sector that in 2018 saw us create two new events: the New York Rights Fair and the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair. What percentage of your business do you organise yourselves? A significant percentage. We were the first Italian organiser to export our own events and a third of our revenues today are generated overseas. Our Group has a company dedicated to the Asian markets – BF China – involved not only in organising events but also in the incoming visits of Asian exhibitors. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk