Those who are used to doing their standard tour at the HortiContact in Gorinchem will be up for a surprise this week. The exhibition plan of the show has been updated and with an innovation award, theme areas and networking lounges, the exhibition is stepping into the future. "The relationship and the connection with growers remains important. With more experience and interaction we also attract the grower of the future", says Mariëlle Schonewille, head of the fair.
Ready for the future
The familiar places on the HortiContact are no longer. After companies had been able to find their place almost blindly for more than ten years, they have to look for it next week. It's perhaps the most eye-catching change on the exhibition floor, but there's more going on.
The HortiContact has had a strong reputation as the trade fair for the Dutch grower for many years. However, with competition from the Fruit Logistica and GreenTech, among others, the Dutch trade fair was sometimes described as a little too familiar and sometimes even somewhat predictable. The trade fair organisation stepped up and changed its name from Tuinbouw Relatiedagen to HortiContact. As of this year, the change will continue and around 430 companies will present themselves on the renewed exhibition floor.
Relationship and experience
"We were a pur sang relationship fair and that certainly remains important," says Mariëlle Schonewille, head of the HortiContact. "But a new generation is arriving in horticulture: highly educated, educated with computers and with other needs. They want to try out new things, experience them, feel them. They want to attend presentations, gain knowledge and develop themselves on the exhibition floor".
In consultation with the exhibitors, a multi-year plan has been set up to meet this need with a new set-up. For example, the exhibition floor is arranged in a more playful manner, there are various theme areas on soft fruit, innovations and medicinal cannabis, there are networking lounges and there is an innovation award.
"We are developing into a platform with more experience and interaction", Marielle says. "The HortiContact continues to be a full-service trade fair and therefore very accessible. With this, we have grown into the platform for the Dutch grower and we want to continue to do so. In recent years, we have seen that foreign visitors are also keen to benefit from Dutch knowledge and we will certainly not let that pass us by, but with the new concept we are also focusing on the new generation. We cherish the current visitor."
Platform for the Dutch grower
Digitisation therefore also plays an important role on the trading floor this year. With the EasyGo system data of exhibitors and visitors can be shared digitally. "Every visitor gets a badge. If you hold this badge against the exhibitor's locker, you receive all the information digitally in your mailbox. The exhibitor gets the data of the visitors in order to serve them well", Marielle shows. "This year it is mandatory to register online in advance. Visitors will receive a QR code and then the digital badge". The system is linked to the online platform MyEasyFair, with which exhibitors also have an online tool to profile themselves throughout the year.