Ideas, tips and reports about event display construction and management


by welkamro

„Trade fair catering is an essential element for customer care and a delicious way to get in touch with visitors“ - the advertising slogan from a huge catering-company. But If you now think of tasteful sushi -or dango-bits at your next visit on Japanese exhibitions, I can tell you: Better prepare a lunchbox.

I remember my visits at the food- and catering-exhibitions quite well: I ate so much, I thought I have to be carried home on a sack barrow, because I couldn't walk anymore. Every booth had new, delicious, sometimes strange foods to offer, and nobody held back with samples. But, of course, this was the business: The catering-companies want to be booked, they had to show what they can offer. But what about exhibitions, that don't focus on food?

Well, to be honest: A bit stingy. But that`s not an accusation. Normally, the booths at the exhibition are small and manageable. Especially on consumer exhibitions, the effort is too big, and there are some visitors who visit the trade show just because of boredom.
Sometimes, some booths have a coffee-or tea set. But (unfortunately), there is no self-service, you just get a drink when you talk to the booth staff about the products.
An interesting idea of a company that manufactures vending machines (very popular in Japan) at the „Event Japan“ exhibition: They didn't give the visitor a can, they gave them a coin. With this coin, you could go to a vending machine and get a can of hot „BOSS“ coffee.

Bigger booths sometimes have areas, which are only available for VIPs. There, you can see some food, served to important businesspeople. Even though it has nothing to do with the product: When you serve good food, the visitor gets a positive impression of the booth. And when he is satisfied in this regard, it`s easier to do some business with him.

Also in Germany, the organizers know about that strategy. Often, bigger companies throw a party at their booth, after the „normal“ visitors are gone. They invite just important (potential) customers to celebrate with them after an exhausting business day. Of course, they don`t do that just because of kindness: A good catering creates a relaxed atmosphere to get customers or to do some business transactions.

If you don`t fit in to the group of „important“ person, you have the possibility to eat at one of the little food-booths, located everywhere at the exhibition halls. Here, you can buy some lunch. In Germany, you`ll get some high-priced sausages and beer (what else...), in Japan you often see some „french dogs“ (like a hot dog in a pastry crust), chicken skewers or noodle soup – that tastes a bit better than the German food, but it also costs a fortune.
Alternatively, there are many little convenience stores around the buildings, where you also can buy food.

the Welkam boys Kojichu, Japanese for 'under construction,' is an ongoing notebook of ideas, tips and discoverys we've picked up over the years building displays and managing events around the world.

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