spoga horse 2022 – good to go!
+++ This interview first appeared in Reitsport BRANCHE - the magazine for the equestrian trade +++
Koelnmesse, organiser of spoga horse, is back to event mode. That means green lights for the 2022 spoga horse, which will take place at the Cologne Exhibition Centre from 5 to 7 February. Reitsport BRANCHE spoke to Dr Maria Näther, spoga horse director.
RB: Hello, Dr Näther, the enforced trade fair break is over. What are your current experiences?
Dr Näther: In the past two months, we have held three trade fairs at the Cologne exhibition centre. Starting with Kind + Jugend, which took place in one hall, through to Anuga, which had 4,600 exhibitors occupying the entire exhibition centre. This shows that physical trade fairs can take place again, which is what everybody wants.
Dr Maria Näther, spoga horse director
RB: How did visitors react to the newly gained possibilities?
Dr Näther: Visitors came from all over the world. Many exhibitors even said that the quality of visitors was better and they were very satisfied. With Anuga, up to 70,000 people from 169 countries around the world attended every day – it hardly gets any more international than that and shows us that the trade fair world is slowly returning to normality. German visitors, however, are somewhat more reserved. This is something that many exhibitors – especially at IDS – noted as well. For spoga horse I am very confident, though, that we will not get this slump.
RB: As a trade fair organiser, are you still restricted by the requirements imposed by the government?
Dr Näther: The current Corona Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia has improved things enormously for us organisers, e.g. the requirement for the number of persons per area has been dropped and there will only be one incidence threshold (7-day incidence of 35). If this value is exceeded, various measures take effect, e.g. obligatory controls that people are either tested, vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.
RB: What measures does the fair organiser take to protect exhibitors and visitors?
Dr Näther: At Koelnmesse, these controls are carried out completely independent of the incidence threshold. With our campaign CH3CK we are making this very clear. At the entrance, everyone, really everyone who enters the fairgrounds is checked for being tested, vaccinated or recovered. Even more security and convenience is achieved with the updated spoga horse app, where you can upload your Covid certificate and get faster access through the turnstiles.
RB: ... and then there is also the B-Safe campaign ...
Dr Näther: ... that's right, the B-Safe for Business campaign supports the re-start and answers many open questions exhibitors and visitors might have. Many people are still very uncertain about stand construction and hygiene regulations. However, I can confirm one thing here. By now, many regulations have been relaxed for stand construction and we are now talking about recommendations only. What has remained are the 1.5-meter distance and compulsory masks. But even here there are exceptions, e.g. at fixed standing or seating areas, on catering areas or on fixed seating or standing areas at event areas.
RB: Back to the spoga horse app, what other advantages does it offer at the exhibition centre?
Dr Näther: The app has now become mandatory for the 2022 event. On the one hand for the pandemic-related traceability and on the other hand because of the obligatory digital tickets or registration. The app contains a ticket wallet. This way, the tickets are always with you via QR code. Ticket sales at the box office are therefore unfortunately no longer possible. Now vouchers can be redeemed in the ticket shop, and these are then automatically transferred to the app. In conjunction with the tested-vaccinated-recovered controls, we are on a very high standard here which gets us through every prescribed hygiene concept. My tip is to download the spoga horse app early in December or January and get your ticket in the ticket shop. Thus, you will be ideally prepared for your visit to spoga horse.
RB: What if someone cannot or does not want to come to Cologne after all?
Dr Näther: To ensure that we also reach people who may not be able to come to spoga horse due to travel restrictions or increased travel costs, we will for the first time be offering a digital platform, spoga horse @home, parallel to the physical spoga horse. This new digital platform will also be able to offer great added value to our visitors on site as it makes it easier to prepare for and follow up on the trade fair. We have already introduced the platform to individual buyers, and they no longer want to do without this digital addition.
RB: And how does spoga horse @home work?
Dr Näther: Each exhibitor will have their own area or control centre: the showroom. Here, companies can present themselves and their products with pictures or videos. In the same way, visitors can use this platform to contact exhibitors or at least send an appointment request. Besides, visitors and exhibitors can create their own personal spoga horse address book and put together their own programme from the numerous events at the fair. That way, everyone can optimally plan their visit to the trade fair in advance. There will also be two digital stages at spoga horse @home. On the first one, the events that physically take place on the large main stage are broadcast via live stream and will even be available on demand after the show. The second stage offers exhibitors the chance to present their new products as 10-minute videos.
Another big advantage is digital networking. The digital platform has created a kind of LinkedIn for the spoga horse community. People’s or businesses’ profiles will be their “business card”. Another advantage is that the digital platform extends the time of the on-site trade fair. Visitors will be invited to the platform at least one week before the event – and it will be available online until the end of March. Thus, as already mentioned, contributions can be viewed on demand after the event, for example, or people can expand their network.
RB: What is your most important message to our readers, exhibitors and visitors?
Dr Näther: Trade fairs are back to being able to take place at a very high level. With new formats and tools and thus maybe even more effectively than before. But the most important thing is that we can come together, maintain business relationships and do business. After two years without a trade fair, it's about time!
I invite you all to visit spoga horse 2022 from 5 to 7 February. We have put a lot of work into the concept and integrated many new formats such as THE STAGE, the spoga horse TOP INNOVATIONS or the creative special area POS INSPIRATION. Look out for the new leading B2B trade fair for the global equestrian industry and be there when the manufacturers present their new products live on site and at spoga horse @home. We look forward to meeting you there!