Europe’s largest and perhaps, the most celebrated hospitality exhibition is the Gastronomia. The Expo demonstrates various hospitality products including Kitchen equipment, Art & Design, and Food & Beverages.
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Initiated in 1986, the Expo has seen tremendous growth over the years both in the number of participants and showcased products. Traditionally, the exhibition is held every two years in Switzerland’s Center de congress et d’expositions. This year’s edition took place on 4th-7th and highlighted some of the best works ever exhibited.
Organized by MCH Group AG, a highly reputable Swiss Company specialized in exhibition organization; the event attracted 167 Swiss exhibitors with universally acclaimed reputation, and 11,000 visitors drawn from different parts of the world. This report focuses on the event’s logistics.
As such, it discusses, in details, various logistical aspects such as products, On-Site Logistics, Risk Management, Suppliers, Facilities, and Shutdown Procedure.
This report uses four data collection methods to arrive at its principal objective of analyzing the logistical aspects of the Gastronomia 2012 Expo. The report employs a systematic approach to analyze the key components of the logistical operations involved including stakeholders, facilities, on-site logistics, and supply of customers.
The first data collection source is the event’s official website. Essential information such as visitors’ biodata, requirements for exhibition, event dates, and venue access, were provided on the website. Additional information will be retrieved from MCH Group, official event organizer’s, website.
The event’s brochures will also be used to provide information for completing the report. The brochures provided a list of participating exhibitors, sponsors, and partners, which are crucial to the analysis of the Expo. Using such information provides a solid background understanding of the events surrounding the Expo.
Interviews form a core component of the data collection process. Interviewing exhibitors and even visitors could provide important information on the event’s logistics.
Finally yet importantly, the director of Gastronomia, Mrs. Douillet via emails, clarified any information gap realized.
Results & Analysis
According to Hoyle (2002, p. 103), “Stakeholders for any event can be described as those who hold a personal and compelling interest in the success of that event.”
For an exhibition, stakeholders may include attendees, exhibitors, organizers, and the various contractors involved. An in-depth analysis may include local merchants and host city attractions as stakeholders too.
At the center of the stakeholders’ profile is MCH Group AG, the organizers of the successful event. Expo Beaulieu, the venue for the event belongs to the group. Their contribution towards the event was not only through the provision of the venue, but also by providing a team of staff who took different responsibilities to ensure the success of the event.
The other group of stakeholders was exhibitors. The exhibitors were divided into two distinct groups; Classic and Premium. The first floor, Halle Premium, housed 50 premium exhibitors’ works, whereas Halle Classic housed 100 Classic exhibitors.
Both categories were diverse and incorporated sectors such as Food & Beverages, Art & Design, Fine Food, and Environment. Dominant companies that took part in the exhibition included Nestles, Mister Cool, and Giroud VIns.
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Partners are important stakeholders in any event (Polonsky 2005, p. 39; Raj 2009, p. 153). The event brought together giant associations and corporations such as L’ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, GasroFribourg, Hotellerie Romande, GasteroSuisse, and Le Cafetier, just to mention a few.
The event visitors were drawn from different parts of the world and comprised professionals in the hotel industry, Gastronomy, and interested viewers.
Supply of Customer
Marketing ensures the success of any event (Shone & Parry 2006, 144; Mohr, Sengupta & Slater 2010, p. 289). Boasted by past successes, the event organizers expected 10,000 visitors this year. Most of these visitors were expected to come from Switzerland (Expodatabase).
A majority of those targeted were professionals from the hotel industry, exhibitors’ clients, and the public within the age brackets of 20-60 years. This could include both students and industry experts.
To attain this target, the organizers launched serious marketing campaigns on different media platforms. Therefore, they collaborated with leading media outlets such as Gastro Journals and Hotel Revue to achieve this end.
Tickets form good avenues for making money from organized events (Anderson 2010, p. 39; Landskroner 2002, p. 442). However, making the best out of ticket sales is pegged on fair pricing and effective management. According to Bowdin (2012, p. 315), ticket prices should be “decided by the prevailing ticket prices for similar or competing events.”
The events tickets were issued freely to participating artists and invited guests. Interestingly, there were no outlets or agents charged with tickets issuance. Ticket prices varied depending on the section visited. Visitors parted with CHF49 for Classic and CHF 100 for Premium. A total of 68,000 classic ticket and 8,000 premium tickets were printed.
Smit (2012, p. 314), strongly discourages sale of tickets at event entrances. She claims that staying in queues for a long time “…intensify crowd behaviors and will therefore be difficult to manage and control” (Smit 2012, p. 314).
However, the event’s tickets were issued at the entrance and the process was characterized by long queues. Literally, it took 15-20 minutes for guests to be cleared to enter (Appendix 1). Despite the separation of the classic and the premium entrances, the problem persisted.
The problem was also witnessed inside the building; the cloakroom. This was aggravated by the existence of one attendant. However, the inside queue was not as long as the one outside due to the attendant’s organization and fastness. Restrooms, on the other hand, had no queues at all.
Accessibility is a major concern in event organization (Allen 2009, p. 161; Devney 2001, p. 78). The venue is highly accessible both by train and by car. Two parking spaces, Blecherette and Velodrome, were reserved for people with private cars.
There exists an underground parking for Premium guests. For those who choose to use public transport, bus terminuses are at Bellevaux and Blecherette. The two stations are just a few meters from the venue. The area is also served by modern rail transportation. The train’s nearest stop is Rippone, which is 10 minutes walk from the venue.
Supply of Products
Products, which were mainly decorations, machines, and freezers, were transported using trucks. To avert a jam, trucks had a specially set offloading zone different from cars’ parking lot.
Products were transferred from the offloading zone to the hall using trolleys. However, trucks carrying heavy machinery and fragile equipment were allowed into the Hall using a specially set entrance.
Accommodation was not provided for the guests. However, the organizers, the MCH Group, entered into a partnership with nearby hotels such as Tulip Inn and Hotel Ibis to accommodate event guests.
To facilitate ease of movement between the hotels and the event venue, the organizers ensured cab and buses were available round the clock. Without good accommodation services, no event can be successful (Richards & Palmer 2012, p. 429; Rogers 2003, p. 32; Lord 1981, p. 17).
Trolleys were provided for exhibitors to move, easily, their equipment inside the hall. Four elevators, two escalators, and five stairs served the floors. Storage spaces were sufficient and were allocated based on class booked. A common master classroom was provided on each floor for the artists to demonstrate their works (Appendix 2).
Premium exhibitors enjoyed preferential treatment. Their spaces featured the theme-décor Hall ‘Forest of Winter,’ they had extra slots for invited guests; had online forum accounts for Gastronomia24 forum, and most importantly, their imported products were cleared by the organizers, MCH Group.
For both categories, MCH Group ensured that their customers were well treated. As such, they provided basic decorations, sound system, and projectors to ensure client satisfaction, which is “crucial to any exhibition” (Ifma 2005, p. 144).
Supply of Facilities
Security is a major concern to both event attendees and exhibitors (Tassiopoulos 2010, p. 474; Silvers 2012, p. 354). Strict measures were put in place to deal with any cases of insecurity that may arise. All guests were issued name badges at the entrance to curb cases of uninvited people and those who have not paid gaining access.
A few security officers manned the queues to avert stampede and any inconveniencies. The entire building had surveillance cameras to monitor on-goings in real time. According to Schottke & Pollak (2011, p. 481), “Despite the implementation of heightened security measures, a terrorist event can occur at any time.
You should always be alert for hazards.” In this response, emergency response units were always on the alert for any eventualities.
Power & Water
Despite the presence of reliable electricity from the main grid, generators were put on standby just in case of an electric fault. Water was provided, but special arrangements were made to those who wanted exclusive taps.
Various contractors were engaged to provide services in their lines of operation. For instance, Rufener Events Ltd, provided event management services, Expomobilia AG provided exhibition services, Techno Fot AG provided marketing printouts, while Winkler Multi Media Events AG provided multimedia services. All the contractors are companies with internationally acclaimed reputation.
Accessibility was highly emphasized. Special rails were provided for people with disabilities. Those with private cars could access the venue via a modern road network and better still get parking spaces; railways served those who had no cars as well as public bus transport; toilets were available in all floors; finally, movement between and within the floors was enhanced by the availability of escalators and lifts.
Event on-site Logistics
Guests’ flow was enhanced by the creation of two entry points, VIPs entrance and Classic entrance. The VIP entrance was directly linked to the Premium lounge for maximum privileges. The emergency exit is situated at the back to enhance accessibility. As proposed by Becker (2008, p. 128), waste storage and disposal route is situated at the back to avoid interfering with guests while removing wastes.
Communication among staff was done using mobile phones. For any emergency, the concern authorities’ numbers were printed and made available to guests. Inquiries line was also open. Free Wi-Fi was provided to guest for online communication while in the premises. Signs were used to indicate various entrances, exits, and toilets.
Various amenities provided were detailed in the Site Map. Accessibility of the amenities was highly emphasized. Waste management services were available, water and electricity provided, and movements enhanced by escalators, stairs, and lifts. Furthermore, the venue if refurbished after every successful event.
Alcohol was served to guest since the organizers had secured license from the Police de Commerce in Lausanne. Those serving food were responsible for cleaning of the premises. Exhibitors with food stored them in the restaurants available in the premises.
VIP and Media Requirements
The VIP lounge provided top-notch services including a variety of wines, cozy coaches, and colorful decorations. The demonstrations in Hale Classic were recorded live using video cameras. Sound systems were employed to facilitate audibility, and projectors used for various presentations.
Emergency exits were provided and indicated for guests to use in case of any emergencies such as fire or power shut down.
Removal & Clearing
The procedure for shutdown and waste removal was clearly stipulated in the rules & regulations given to exhibitors and visitors by MCH Group. Two and a half days were given for shutdown after the event; during which, all equipment and wasted emitted were to be removed. Garbage bags, cans, and containers were provided for waste disposal, while trolleys were availed for transferring equipment used.
Gastronomia 2012 was very successful. This was because of the level of commitment and organization the MCH Group put into the event. International exhibitions involve special preparations, without which, the events cannot be a success story.
Considering the seamless flow of activities in the event, it is evident that the organizers planned adequately for its success. The facilities provided, from waste management, water, electricity, exhibition stands, sound systems, and emergency exits ensured preparedness in case of any emergency, which boosted the confidence of both the exhibitors and visitors.
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