The Icelandic volcanic ash disrupted many visitors’ plans to attend VIV Europe 2010, from 20–22 April, particularly those from the Middle East, Russia and Asia who were depending on air traffic to reach the Netherlands. Nevertheless, over 10,000 visitors from 96 countries made it to the show to meet with 85% of the total expected field of exhibitors. Organizer VNU Exhibitions Europe: “This is a great example of the industry’s solidarity.”
VNU Exhibitions’ Director International Exhibitions Gerard Leeuwenburgh compliments the realistic and optimistic attitude of the exhibitors: “Many exhibitors had innovations on display. They had planned customer events and meetings, which had to be cancelled or rescheduled due to the smaller number of guests. In addition, corporate meetings with distributors and agents could not take place. It is not easy to cope with these disappointments, but everyone made the best out of the difficult situation. I am impressed by the great spirit of many exhibitors and trade visitors in this industry.”
Meyn Food Processing Technology had built a full factory situation as part of their presentation on the exhibition floor. Marketing Communications Manager Judith Marques dos Reis-Koops initially doubted if they would be able to meet up with their expectations. “We welcomed fewer visitors than we invited, but the factory presentations were surely successful and for the larger part fully booked.”
Intracare’s Marketing Manager Arjan Vandervoort explains his experiences. “We were struck by the commitment of our customers who made it to the exhibition. Of course it was a lower quantity of people compared to our expectations, but they showed up, also to the ceremony for the official CTGB certificate – PT2, PT3 and PT4 – we have recently obtained for Intra Hydrocare. It made our team ‘more active than the volcano’ and we have extracted the maximum possible out of this situation!”
MD Job Beekhuis of Ovotrack was one of the companies with an innovation on display, the ECI (Egg Cargo Identifier). He was very keen on introducing the new smart and small product at VIV Europe. “This is the place-to-be for the introduction. We also scheduled 2 customer events. I was really worried when it became clear that air traffic would not resume in time, but in the end the events took place and we have found interesting new leads.”
Leeuwenburgh praises the visitors from outside the Netherlands who made the effort to come to Utrecht. “We have heard so many heartwarming stories! People travelling over long distances by car, bus or train. Guests from Israel took a plane to Italy and then travelled all the way through Europe by railway, finally arriving in Utrecht. Our Spanish sales agent travelled in a car pool with exhibitors. Other exhibitors and visitors came by car or buses from Italy, Turkey, Ukraine and Lebanon! A group of Chinese colleagues of De Heus Koudijs stranded in Warsaw. De Heus immediately arranged bus transport to Holland. CID Lines welcomed a group of guests from one of South Africa’s largest pig farms Number 2 Piggaries who had travelled from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and then had a delay of almost 4 days in Johannesburg.”
Towards the future, VNU Exhibitions will make considerable efforts for their customers to be in contact with the visitors they missed at VIV Europe 2010.
Leeuwenburg: “We are match makers and take that role seriously. We will develop a virtual VIV Europe 2010 and invest heavily in a Key Buyer Attraction Program for VIV Asia 2011.”