Spielwarenmesse: Behind the scenes: how the Spielwarenmesse comes together

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Movers & shakers

Behind the scenes: how the Spielwarenmesse comes together

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Anyone familiar with the Spielwarenmesse® must wonder what the organising team gets up to on all the other days of the year. In a three-part series, we give you a glimpse behind the scenes at Spielwarenmesse eG. Part 1: The ABCs of brainstorming.

One whole year for six days?! That’s the amount of time the trade fair team at Spielwarenmesse eG needs to organise the Spielwarenmesse®. And it’s clear why. After all, with some 2,800 exhibitors and more than 76,000 visitors in an area covering 170,000 m2, the Spielwarenmesse® is the industry’s largest trade fair anywhere in the world. “Organising a leading international trade fair is about much more than just distributing stand allocations”, says Katharina Janotta, Head of Project Management at Spielwarenmesse eG. “There’s a lot of work involved in inspiring the toy industry again each year. But with a well-tuned team it can be done.” Even while one trade fair is ongoing, the Spielwarenmesse® team is already gathering ideas for the next. These are subsequently incorporated into team projects aimed at developing them further.

Getting better every year

While still brimming with memories of the trade fair, all Spielwarenmesse eG employees meet for results day at the end of February. At this gathering, the Project Management, Sales, Marketing, Executive Board Secretariat, IT, Finance and PR divisions take a close look at how the trade fair went and what might even be improved upon in the following year.

Employees report back on both positive and negative incidents at the trade fair and reflect on their projects. In this way, less successful ideas can be revised or even ditched. After all, this annual critical review of all tasks is essential to paving the way for continuous development. At the end of results day, the team decides which projects should be dealt with in greater depth in workshops. Immediately after the trade fair is the most valuable time for coming up with fresh ideas. Workshop teams made up of employees from across all departments are set up with this in mind. This guarantees different ideas and a wealth of suggestions for the next trade fair. You can really hear the cogs turning in the minds of the organising team up to early April. On strategy day, all workshop teams meet and discuss their findings and ideas.

Popular all over the world

These are precisely the ideas which find particular favour with Spielwarenmesse® exhibitors and visitors. Quite a few exhibitors register at the Spielwarenmesse® itself for the next one. The few spots that are freed up are made available to new companies. Therefore, the project managers research fresh, interesting companies and products shortly after the trade fair. “It’s important to attract new exhibitors in order to ensure the appeal of our trade fair”, says Janotta.

The 75,000 trade visitors who travel to the Spielwarenmesse® from all over the world are proof of its superb appeal. Following numerous requests at the trade fair, the ExhibitorsLounge was brought into being in 2005. It is the central meeting point for new and long-standing exhibitors and for those interested in finding out about where and how they might showcase their products at the trade fair. All potential exhibitors are provided with information leaflets and registration forms for the next trade fair.

Janotta’s twelve-person project management team is responsible for this. There is a different project manager for each product group. He or she is the point of contact for exhibitors and is responsible for supporting them, drawing up the hall plans and trying to fulfil even the most unusual exhibitor requests, true to the motto: “Everything is possible!“

“The best thing is walking through the trade fair after all of these efforts and seeing happy faces. Then my team and I know that we have done our job well. Organising a trade fair is all about teamwork”, says Katharina Janotta.


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