Baselworld claims to be on track to have more exhibition stands than last year if sales continue at the current pace.
The show’s new managing director, Michel Loris-Melikoff, says in an interview with his own press team that the industry is responding positively to plans for 2019, despite the blow of Swatch Group withdrawing all of its watch brands.
“The feedback that my team and I have received from the industry about our ideas for the coming year has been very positive and bookings are likewise developing better than last year,” Mr Loris-Melikoff says.
The organizing team has just returned to work after the month long Swiss business holiday, and is now meeting with existing and prospective exhibitors. Mr Loris-Melikoff suggests there is a new style of openness and humility from his team. “Three or four visits with customers each day are not unusual at the moment. I want the people to get to know me as a person and I want to get to know them personally too. Moreover, there are committees and events for exhibitors in Germany, France and Italy, where we present and candidly discuss our concepts – as peers and equal partners. We listen very carefully to learn exactly what exhibitors and dealers desire, what would be good, what they felt was missing and, of course, we also have our own ideas and we want to try things out. What’s very important for me is: we want to design Baselworld not only for the global watch and jewellery industry, but also and above all with the industry. And here I mean the whole industry, not just the luxury sector,” he describes.
Baselworld is promising to greatly improve the presentation and promotion of jewelery at next year’s fair. “It will be much more centrally positioned in Hall 1.2, where it will also have a genuine visitor magnet: a Show Plaza with a spectacular 240° catwalk. There will be three live shows per day on the catwalk, which can also be used for events in the evenings,” Mr Loris-Melikoff reveals.
There will also be several new places to eat in Hall 1.1 and a stage for presentations by independent watchmakers within the Les Ateliers zone.
Baselworld is developing special events for retailers visiting the show, and is opening a day early for the press. “The objective is to strengthen the fair’s event, communication and marketing character. Baselworld must be a unique experience that’s newly surprising and different each year. We still have some time ahead of us before Baselworld 2019, so several additional concepts will also be added. We’ll provide more details about them in the coming weeks and months,” Mr Loris-Melikoff promises.
Exhibiting and visiting the show will also be less expensive if the new managing director gets his way. “Expenses crossed the pain threshold for many people in past years. That’s why we intend to sit down at a table with all participants and find a satisfactory solution. Our negotiations with hoteliers and restaurateurs make it clear that this will succeed. With regard to stand rentals, we have already modified the fees in past years and we’ll continue to modify them selectively in 2019 to reduce expenses for our exhibitors. We’ll likewise rethink the admission prices and adjust them downward, if possible,” he suggests.