The IGEHO is an internationally recognized exhibition for hotel, catering, and extra-domestic utilization. It is organized by the M. C. H. Swiss exhibition limited at the Exhibition Center Basel, hall one and hall 2. This is considered to be the biggest business stage and the most significant trade fair for hotel, restaurant, and catering in Switzerland and the neighboring countries (IGEHO 2011). The first IGEHO was staged in 1965 and was started mainly to focus on the food and beverage industry only. With time, it increased its popularity and soon expanded and is now held after every two years in Basel, Switzerland, which is considered to be the origin of the hotel industry.
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The most recent IGEHO exhibition was held from 19th to 23rd November 2011, attracting more than 80,000 visitors and around 837 exhibitors from more than 20 countries worldwide. The majority of the visitors are professionals dealing in institutions, recreational facilities/sports, contract food services, hotel/motel services, social catering, and consulting, among other related hospitality services (Presentation IGEHO 2011). The major subject matter of IGEHO is usually organic, fair trade, and regional products for the catering sector, energy efficiency, and hotel answers for the health sector. Therefore, we can say that IGEHO focuses on the trend towards sustainability in the hospitality industry. During the exhibition, the hospitality sector and other related industries are offered an opportunity to introduce their products through special presentations, events, seminars, and contact platforms, which allow the visitors present to get enough information (Trade Show 2011). This report will aim at looking at the IGEHO in terms of its history, the logistics involved as well as the suppliers who are crucial in ensuring the success of this event.
Results and Analysis
Stakeholders refer to the individuals or groups of individuals who are mandated or have the power to respond to, discuss with and change the strategic future of an organization, company, or event (Eden & Ackermann 1998, p. 177). For this event to be a success, more than eighty thousand stakeholders are normally involved. These are classified into different categories, including exhibitors, visitors, suppliers, sponsors, organizers, and so on. The organizers, the exhibition hall staffs, and exhibitors all fall under the internal stakeholders’ category. These are the individuals who run the exhibition.
The visitors are the external stakeholders. An example of exhibitors is the Menu System Cooking Equipment Company, which is a quality and market leader in customized induction cooking suites in Europe and has been participating in the IGEHO for the last ten years. During the IGEHO 2011, they had hired many professional and skilled people to serve at their booth. They wanted to introduce their latest creative and innovative products to their prospective buyers through equipment demonstrations and the provision of personal consulting services to answer all questions from the visitors. Apart from that, they also printed brochures containing information on their product and had an interview station to answer questions asked by the visitors.
Supply of Customers
Marketing and Promotion
The IGEHO exhibition acts as the best platform for hospitality and other related industries to display their products and draw new potential customers from different countries around the world (The IGEHO Swiss Market Situation and Potential 2011). The public relations and marketing department of the IGEHO exhibition use different forms and channels of promoting and marketing it to the target market. The IGEHO exhibition has contact with the communication media and focuses on promoting itself to the target market continuously within Switzerland as well as to other countries. A special and promotional price is usually offered during the exhibition, and this is included in the marketing and promotional activities conducted to popularize the event.
The exhibition hall is also situated conveniently with easy accessibility from public transport through trams, trains, buses, and cars. Accommodation is also readily available nearby opposite the exhibition center (Presentation IGEHO 2011).
The participating companies also highly benefit from this exhibition as non-co-exhibitors are charged a certain fee. Furthermore, there are no surcharges for open sides, and free storage space and free surface for non-commercial purposes is provided during the exhibition.
The exhibition has an efficient system of ticketing with two to four ticketing windows available and open from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets for the IGEHO are readily available at the exhibition site, with each ticket going for 70 Swiss Franc and with 50 tickets for a group selling at 700 Swiss francs. Tickets have been used to control the flow of visitors as they can only buy their tickets on the day of attending the exhibition. The visitors need the ticket to get into the exhibition as well as to get out of it. Thus, any loss of the ticket while inside the exhibition means the visitors will get problems while getting out. This calls for a warning regarding the tickets to ensure that the visitors keep their tickets safe.
The queuing system in the IGEHO is well managed to control visitors getting in and out of the exhibition. To avoid queuing for very long periods, the company pre-prepares tickets for distribution, has a big entrance door, enough and efficient detectors for entering the exhibition, enough F & B outlets as well as enough working staff to provide the efficient services. The larger groups have set times for each one of them to enter the exhibition. The queuing facilities such as line barriers have been well set up in many popular sites in the exhibition. During the planning of the IGEHO 2011, the management had reviewed problems that had occurred in previous events that are connected to the queuing and thus had taken measures such as dividing both the visitors and the exhibitors on the basis of the company brand and product. This proved very successful as it helped avoid long queues and overcrowding of visitors in certain areas for too long.
The selection of the venue of the exhibition is perfect as it is easily accessible. The IGEHO exhibition hall boasts of a convenient public transport system. Visitors can travel to the exhibition through trains, trams, buses or cars. As a matter of fact, the bus station is located just in front of the exhibition center’s main entrance. The exhibition center has collaborated with the Swiss Federal Railways Company to ensure the visitors enjoy travel trips at a discount from anywhere within its operating boundaries. A big car park is provided for the visitors who drive themselves to the event and for big groups to park their tour buses.
Supply of Exhibitors
The IGEHO organizers have provided several transportation and logistics services, including availing flights, car hire, express shipments, and trains for the exhibitors and supplies so as to solve the transportation and transit problems. They have allocated the logistic transportation service to Sempex, Messe Basel’s official exhibition forwarder, to assist the exhibitors in transporting their equipment and products to the exhibition hall. Since some assistance may be required by the exhibitor at the customs desk, paperwork is provided at various checkpoints. Apart from that, insurance is usually offered if the exhibitor buys the service with Sempex. This service is of importance to the exhibitor during packing and unpacking of the logistic items as well as acquiring a permit within Switzerland for temporary importation or sales of imported goods (Sempex Logistics 2011). For self-delivery exhibitors, checkpoint access logistics maps are availed to them to make sure they do not face any problems in transporting their items (New Exhibition Express 2011).
Accommodation of visitors and exhibitors is well catered for as IGEHO exhibition’s official website avails pre-booking services for exhibitors, with a discount being offered to those who book their accommodation through its website. Furthermore, hotel properties are allocated stands in the exhibition to provide services to the visitors and exhibitors, hence avoiding the shortage of accommodation.
Supply of Facilities
Security at the IGEHO is well implemented using modern technology to prevent criminal activities from happening. The safety of the visitors and exhibitors is ensured by security officers stationed at the entrance to observe the visitors while ensuring no suspicious visitors enter the hall. Closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) are erected around the exhibition hall to monitor and reinforce the safety of the visitors and exhibitors while they are inside the exhibition hall. The security officers also patrol the exhibition hall at timely intervals. The exhibition hall has also been fitted with easily visible fire extinguishers in case of a fire outbreak during the exhibition.
The security personnel assigned to maintain security in the event have also implemented security regulations such as the rule that the exhibitors should bear responsibility for the security of their stands and for the products they display, and that all the items valued at more than 50,000 Swiss Francs must be removed from the showcases at closing time each day and locked safely inside the stand. It is, however, the responsibility of the exhibitor to install the required safes for the products, which must be ordered through the management of the exhibition (General Regulation 2011).
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The IGEHO event exhibits many inventions and innovation technology items, which require a lot of electricity. Thus, it is mandatory for all exhibitors to notify the MCH Swiss Exhibition Basel Limited about the power requirement of the items that will be on display at their stands to avoid any electrical issues during the exhibition (General Regulation and Supplementary Regulation for Exhibitors 2011). The number of plugs that the exhibitor requires has to be given in advance to ensure the appropriate design of the stand.
Some stands do require running water, such as the food and beverage and laundry stands. Therefore, water usage has to be calculated by MCH specialists for each stand to ensure that they design the appropriate connection of the water supply and wastewater.
The MCH specialist contractors are contracted to do the connection system for all power supply cables, wastewater system, water supply, air conditioning of stands, and WIFI data transmission connections in the exhibition.
On-site Logistics Needed for the Success of the Event
Flow of Visitors
The exhibition usually has a high attendance of visitors who total to about 80,000. Therefore, the management has to ensure that a good mobility system is in place for the large number of visitors who come to the event. To counter this, different areas have been allocated for different categories of exhibit items. For example, kitchenware and other technology innovation in the hospitality industry are in Hall 1, while food and beverages products are in Hall 1.1 (IGEHO Exhibition Hall Plan 2011). This ensures a controlled flow and movement of people around the exhibition hall without any jamming. The pedestrian walk in the halls is also designed in a way that it is broad enough for a large number of people to walk through without colliding with each other.
The management would, however, do well to increase entry detectors at the entrance so as to reduce the queuing. They should also increase the coffee machine at the entrance.
The amenities present in the exhibition include toilets, a food, and beverage restaurant, smoking rooms, first aids, a car park, lifts, signage, and many more. These are all available in the exhibition hall. However, the signage used is not efficient. For example, the toilet signage on the wall does not give a clear direction on where the toilet is, and even some members of staff are unaware of its exact location. This calls for more re-training of the staff members to enhance their know-how on the amenities of the exhibition. Handicap wheelchairs should be provided during the exhibitions for disabled visitors. In addition, the site map should label the meeting point for the visitors to convene so as to avoid injuries in case of a fire outbreak during the exhibition. The fire extinguishers are also fixed too far away from the middle exhibition stands, and they are also not enough. Therefore, they should increase the number of extinguishers and erect them in every exhibition stand, especially those that use large amounts of electricity. This can help in speedy fire extinguishing in case of an outbreak. The number of security personnel monitoring the exhibition hall should also be increased to enhance the security and safety of every visitor and exhibitor.
Most of the brochures and signs in the exhibition are in German and French. Thus, visitors who do not understand the two languages have problems comprehending the brochures and the signs. Therefore, brochures and signs in the English language, which is more universal, should be used together with the German and French ones to ensure no miss-communication or panic among the visitors and the organizers or exhibitors.
Being a big event, the IGEHO exhibition will require a lot of time to plan and implement for it to be a success. Therefore, the planning stage starts in the month of November before the real event is held. For example, the 2011 exhibition’s planning started in early October 2010 and only ended in late November 2010, after which everything is expected to be ready, and the exhibition can start.
Considering the IGEHO exhibition progression, the registration period is set from November 2011 to July 2012 so as to ensure that potential exhibitors have enough time to sign up and to eliminate the increasing number of exhibitors who impact the organization process. This comes in handy as the organizer needs to understand what the exhibitors need for the exhibition so as to ensure it is well set-up. While the registrations are taking place, invitations to companies who wish to participate are also being sent out so that if they confirm that they are interested, they can also sign up before the deadline that is in July 2012.
The organizers then take from October 2011 to July 2012 to finalize the list of all those exhibitors who will take part in the exhibition. The pre-event meeting is scheduled for January 2012 to August 2012 so as to map out specific requirements of stakeholders and to ensure advanced planning for the delivery of the needed resources.
The Gantt chart
As the meetings are going on, the advertisement activities are also being done. On-site logistics planning is very crucial, and it will begin from January 2012 to November 2012 to ensure a successful event. The allocation of the booths/stands to the exhibitors starts in July 2012 simultaneously with the adjustment and connection of the water and power supply systems.
The transportation logistics for the exhibitors are scheduled between November 2011 to August 2012 to ensure free transportation of the inventions and innovations in time. This also ensures that they have ample time to offload and set up their items on the already prepared stands. The exhibitors can design their base or set-up their equipment at the exhibition hall three months before the event starts. The exhibitors are then required to move their items out of the exhibition hall within seven days for the shutdown process.
Event Shut-Down Logistic
To ensure that there are no incidents of jamming as exhibitors try to move their items all at once, a shutdown schedule, which must be strictly adhered to by the exhibitors, will be provided by the organizers. The MCH makes the schedule depending on the sizes of the exhibitors hold during the exhibition. Small stand holders with fewer items are scheduled to move out on the first day of the clearing, while the exhibitors with bulky items and occupying large spaces of the stands are required to move clear out within one week. This creates a continuous, easy and efficient flow of the shutdown process.
Cleaning up of the exhibition hall, which will come about three weeks later, will take a maximum of one week to finish. This exercise starts immediately after the shutdown and involves a thorough cleaning of the hall and its facilities as well as checking, repair, and maintenance of facilities that might have been broken during the exhibitions to keep them ready for the next exhibition.
The IGEHO exhibition is usually a very big and successful event that attracts an attendance of over 70,000 participants and visitors from all over the world. It is a very well organized, managed, and coordinated event, and this is what makes it a great success. It offers the best platform for the hospitality and related industry to showcase their creativity and innovations in terms of products. However, it has its shortcomings in some aspects wherein the most previous event (IGEHO 2011), for example, the language of communication through brochures and signs, was declared inadequate. These, among other things, need to be improved to make the event perfect. Also, putting into consideration that global warming has become a major challenge in all parts of the world, introducing a stand to deal with global warming issues for the sustenance of the environment would have a great influence on the visitors and would generate lots of interests from various people from all over the world.
Eden, C & Ackermann, F 1998, Making strategy: The journey of strategic management, Sage Publications, London.
General Regulation 2011, Technical connection, Web.
General Regulation and Supplementary Regulation for Exhibitors 2011, Security regulation, Web.
IGEHO 2011, General information about the exhibition, Web.
IGEHO Exhibition Hall Plan 2011, The IGEHO exhibition hall plan, Web.
New Exhibition Express 2011, Exhibition expresses global transport solution, Web.
Presentation IGEHO 2011, PowerPoint slides, 19-23 November 2011 Basel, Web.
Sempex Logistics 2011, Messe Basel’s exhibition forwarder, Web.
The IGEHO Swiss Market Situation and Potential 2011, IGEHO ideal marketing platform, Web.
Trade Show 2011, Catering hotels & restaurants-Igeho 2011, Web.