Spielwarenmesse: Behind the scenes: ready for the big event

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Behind the scenes: ready for the big event

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Preparations right up to the last minute: The whole team is working on the final touches before exhibitors and trade visitors from all over the world arrive for the Spielwarenmesse®.

It’s just a few days before the trade fair. The offices of the Spielwarenmesse eG are a hive of activity, while outside the winter cold is bringing forth frost patterns and red noses. Employees move quickly around the hallways, excitedly anticipating the fast-approaching trade fair. All ideas collected by the organising team over recent months and painstakingly brought to life are now awaiting their big unveiling at the 66th Spielwarenmesse®. Moving at lightning speed, the team packs box after box almost a week before the trade fair.

All departments, starting with Project Management, Sales and Marketing, through to Accounting, IT, Press and the Executive Board, have to vacate their offices and move to the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. With almost fifty employees, a great deal of logistical work is needed, even if the centre is just a hop and a skip away. “All employees have to be able to work just as well at the trade fair as in their own offices. This is a big challenge”, says Jens Pflüger, Director IT & Finance at Spielwarenmesse eG, who is coordinating the move. “Our entire team moves to the trade fair so that exhibitors and visitors have the chance to meet their respective point of contact in person."

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Besides the employees themselves, several boxes of work materials and countless information brochures, press folders and office equipment also have to be shifted to the exhibition grounds. The press team alone needs ten boxes filled to the brim moved to the press centre. This is the central hub for 2,300 accredited journalists from all over the world and it has to be well equipped to respond to the questions and requests of these reporters. The three-person team under press officer Kyra Mende looks after this. “The Spielwarenmesse® is the world’s largest trade fair in the toy sector and has a magnetic appeal for the media. We know many of the journalists personally. Friendships have even developed over the years, although we often see many of them only once a year”, explains Mende.

The Spielwarenmesse eG team grows to 200 people for the trade fair, all of whom have to be trained in advance. They support the organising team at numerous events, are available to take questions from visitors and exhibitors at the information counters and help with registrations. “There have been quite a few tears spilled at the registration counters”, reports Pflüger. “We have also had entire school classes storming up to us, wanting access to the Spielwarenmesse. But as we’re a trade-only fair, this obviously can’t happen.” But Pflüger and his team were quickly able to dry the tears. They sent the enthusiastic students to Nuremberg’s Toy Museum. "They can at least see most of the toys there and even try some out”, says a pleased Pflüger.

My team and I are absolutely passionate about the trade fair. Over these six days, we are the beating heart of the international toy industry. This is an indescribable feeling.

Ernst Kick, CEO Spielwarenmesse eG

“We have established an extremely customer-friendly screening system over the last ten years which has minimised waiting times”, explains the Director IT. “With some 76,000 visitors and more than 2,800 exhibitors, speed is simply a must.” Entrance passes can be scanned and recorded on the system with conveyor-belt efficiency. Exhibitor and visitor numbers can also be easily analysed. The press team needs the FKM-certified numbers as all journalists want to know precisely these figures by the final press conference at the latest – as does the trade fair boss.

“Of course we are interested in how many visitors and exhibitors attended our trade fair”, says Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG. “But the experience is more important than the numbers! My team and I are absolutely passionate about the trade fair. Over these six days, we are the beating heart of the international toy industry. This is an indescribable feeling”, enthuses Kick.

This feeling appears to be shared by the exhibitors and visitors, many of whom have been loyal to the Spielwarenmesse® for decades. They can sense that the organising team obviously has trade fair organisation in its blood. “Of course it takes lots of eager hands and tireless legs to prepare the Spielwarenmesse. But we’re all trade fair junkies and enjoy every single day of it”, smiles Kick. “I am proud of what my team produces each year.”

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