Ups and Downs in the land Down Under
The Caravan Salon Düsseldorf is bigger than ever this year, with 16 halls fully-booked and more than 600 exhibitors already confirmed. We had a conversation with Stefan Koschke, who has been the Project Director of the show for eight years.
Words Antonio Mazzucchelli
At the Caravan Salon Düsseldorf, from 26 August to 4 September 2022, visitors are invited to experience the whole variety of mobile leisure. During these 10 days, the Düsseldorf exhibition grounds will be transformed into a true caravanning paradise. In 16 halls and on the open-air grounds of the Düsseldorf fairgrounds, more than 600 exhibitors will showcase a huge variety of leisure vehicles, equipment and accessories. We met Stefan Koschke, the 44-year-old Project Director, Caravanning & Outdoor of Messe Düsseldorf. For the last two editions of the Caravan Salon, he had to organize a fair during a global pandemic, but that does not seem to have affected the success of an event that always plays a crucial role in facilitating business and networking in the RV industry.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Stefan Koschke, what is the forecast for the upcoming Caravan Salon?
Stefan Koschke: Despite the supply chain issues, the number of exhibitors will be in the same range as last year – over 600. Also, many new companies will be exhibiting including new caravan producers, which is good because this brings a bigger variety of products. There will be new companies, especially from certain countries: for example more and more exhibitors are coming from Turkey. Lastly, part of the Hymer group is coming back with brands like Hymer, Dethleffs, Bürstner, LMC, Laika, Niesmann+Bischoff.
The demand for space was very high. We will occupy 16 halls – a first time for caravanning. It’s a real success in these times. Visitors will see the whole range of motorhomes; and products that maybe can’t be seen at any other place, including dealers’ showrooms.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Let’s talk about numbers: how many square meters will you cover this year? What is your record number of visitors in past years?
Stefan Koschke: Let’s start with space: 16 halls plus the open air area mean we’re talking about a total area of 250,000 m². This number is not final yet as we are still getting applications, but right now, it’s a net figure of over 120,000 m². That’s a lot, and the current situation is very positive. In terms of the number of visitors, the year with the most visitors was 2019 with over 270,000 people. Obviously, we want a lot of visitors this year, and a lot of new, potential customers, but let’s not forget about the old ones. In the last few years, over 40 percent of visitors came for the first time. Our goal must be to have the right mix between the two groups. We need new customers but also people who come every two years or so. This a very interesting group because most of them still have a motorhome or caravan but they are think about updating it with new equipment or buying a new vehicle: they are investing a lot and they know that quality is very important. On the exhibitors’ side, they’re very interesting and we must also be attractive for them.
Our aim is clear – to attract over 200,000 visitors. We are optimistic about this as the interest in caravanning is high. We have a better show to offer, which is great, as the whole industry presents itself here with products you can’t see anywhere else.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What about foreign visitors? Do you already have some bookings from them?
Stefan Koschke: It’s very early right now, as we haven’t opened ticket sales yet. But we received positive information from US delegations as well as from Australia, Korea, Japan, and Malaysia. All these people tell us that they will come. The world is open again and they are interested in the developments of the caravan industry. Our aim is to get more visitors from the countries around Germany, from the Benelux as well as from other countries in Europe. We will have a marketing campaign in these countries. We are preparing new advertisement campaigns that will get us visitors from all over Europe.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Do you still have room for exhibitors who want to participate at the last minute?
Stefan Koschke: We have some space left as we have more halls. But the technical suppliers’ area is completely sold out with a small waiting list. Maybe in the other areas we can still find some small places. We are open to talking about possibilities and solutions.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Is there any news for this year’s show?
Stefan Koschke: Yes, it’s about the first day of the Salon. We will give this day a new name, which will be ‘Preview Day’. This means, of course, that it’s the day for the media and also for trade visitors. We give the opportunity to the exhibitors to invite long-term consumers and buyers. They will be able to have a first view before the start of the Caravan Salon. We’re talking about a small amount of people. Sometimes exhibitors or dealers have customers who they want to spend more time with, and this special day is perfect for that, and has a special atmosphere.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Will there be Covid restrictions this year?
Stefan Koschke: The restrictions will not be the same as last year, but we don’t know what is going to happen in the near future. From the current point of view, we have no restrictions. There will be no testing or mask requirements, although we continue to recommend the wearing of masks. We are not bringing the width of the aisles back to 2/3 metres, but keeping them at 4 metres, as it gives a better feeling. Visitors must feel comfortable when they visit our trade fair: no fixed regulations, but information on how to behave correctly.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Have you increased the number of participants in the destinations area?
Stefan Koschke: Yes, we have increased the number of participants from all over Europe and worldwide. We have the participation of North Rhine-Westphalia region for the first time, with a big booth and a lot of participants. Also other countries will come for the first time, like Australia, which is great. It is well known that the fair is at the end of August, but for some nations this is difficult, as they are still in their high season at that time. We also decided to make a first time offer to the tourism exhibitors: they can decide to stay in the first five days or in the second five days. The topic will always be only caravanning tourism. That’s our focus as we are not a general trade fair for tourism.