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FSB 2014 demonstrates an international focus


Six hundred and twenty-two vendors from 44 countries exhibited the entire range of innovations, products and services from the sectors amenity areas, sports and pool facilities at FSB, the international exhibition for amenity areas, sports and pool facilities, across an exhibition area of 67,000 square metres. FSB therefore reported growth in terms of space and internationality, as well as visitors. FSB counted around 25,000 trade visitors from 115 countries on the same days of week as the aquanale international trade fair for sauna, pool and ambiance at the same time.

All market-leading companies from home and abroad were present at FSB in Cologne. They exhibited the entire range of innovations, products and services from the sectors amenity areas, sports and pool facilities. The exhibitors particularly praised the strong international popularity of FSB. “FSB has once again proven how important the exhibition is to us. Each time we meet new trade visitors here from every continent. FSB creates the ideal setting in which to do this, and is seen internationally as simply the most important trade fair within the sector,” Albrecht Rieger, Head of Marketing at Berleburger Schaumstoff Werke GmbH stresses. Michael Schröder, Polytan's Area Sales Manager, also praised the international flavour. “We are very happy with FSB 2013. As our company has a very international setup, the high proportion of foreign trade visitors was very beneficial for us. FSB fulfilled its role as a business platform and even the mood was generally good.” There was significant growth, particularly from Great Britain, Russia, France and the Netherlands.
Exhibitors deemed the quality of visitors to be very positive. This estimation was confirmed by the initial results from the visitors' survey, which showed that virtually 90 per cent of visitors were involved in procurement decisions, either directly or in an advisory capacity.
It should be judged from hall to hall whether the concept of holding FSB and the aquanale on the same days has borne fruit. Around 24,000 visitors in 2011. Around 25,000 visitors in 2013. There was considerable praise for the event on the part of the visitors. Overall, virtually 80 per cent of the visitors were satisfied with their visit to the exhibition. The wide-ranging product portfolio ensured that 82 per cent of the exhibition offer was deemed to be very good/good.
There must be particular praise from the manufacturers of playground manufacturers: Mrs Bettina Frias (product manager FSB /aquanale) has done everything possible that it was possible to do!
The BSFH (Bundesverband für Spielplatzgeräte- und Freizeitanlagen-Hersteller e.V.) - Germal federal association for playground equipment and leisure equipment manufacturers provided an excellent focal point, together with the international trade magazine Playground@ Landscape in Hall 3.2. A designers forum was organized in co-operation with Konthe association of German landscape architects bdla. “Exercise” was a conventional topic this year. Exercise from the day nursery to the fitness course/outdoor fitness. The timing of the exhibition could be discussed: this designers forum took place in parallel with the planning form for city and space. Internal agreements and co-ordination of the Cologne trade fair would make sense for the future.
The forum of the German association of towns and communities (DStGB), in co-operation with BSFH and the trade magazine Playground@ Landscape, was outstanding in terms of content. Numerous examples were presented in terms of local authority exercise spaces. Excellent spokesmen, for example, Dr Buschmann of the sports high school Cologne, in addition to prominent guests, such as Olympic medallists in boxing, Torsten May, turned the forum into an experience.

Exhibitor statements about FSB (hall 3.2)
■ Frédéric Müller, Fritz Müller GmbH:
“The more visitors the better, but the days Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday were rather poorly attended, hall 3.2 at any event. We were surprised that part of hall 3.2 was not used, and hall 2.2 was used as a result. This meant that hall 2.2 was opened, guiding the flow of visitors better around our stand. We had also exhibited equipment in hall 2.2 on the fitness course. It is important to note, however, that this course would have deserved to be more central. We had already mentioned in advance that three days were entirely sufficient for the exhibition. Furthermore, the timing of the exhibition (autumn holidays in North Rhine Westphalia) was not really ideal.”

■ Holger Aukam, Espas GmbH:
“As always, the FSB exhibition was a complete success for us in terms of its international flavour. New contacts right through to Azerbaijan! Less is sometimes more: four days were simply too much.”

■ Heiko Patzer, smb Seilspielgeräte GmbH:
“We went to FSB with the main aim of improving and expanding our sales structures abroad. Furthermore, existing customers and image building and raising the level of awareness for the ‘smb’ brand were very important to us. As we are among the main producers of rope play equipment with decades of experience in the development and manufacture of highquality equipment, it was high time we created public awareness for our brand once again after our last exhibition presence in 1997. We were successful in creating a convincing exhibition presence with our product range, the visually appealing exhibition presence at the exhibition and our smb team. This was confirmed to us by all sides, and we were able to convince the interesting parties about our products and the quality. As we have no comparisons from the previous years, we are unable to evaluate to what extent the exhibition was ‘better’ or ‘worse’, and how the number of visitors has developed. As a trend, we had to say that the halls were only sparsely attended overall, although with respect to our stand, we were kept busy most of the time. As our first exhibition in 16 years, we are able to record this as a success. We had a great deal of fun and were able to make some promising contacts.”

■ Eric Kunegel, Husson International:
“We have had doubts about taking part in the FSB show for several years. For the following reasons: fewer and fewer visitors come from Germany, particularly from local authorities. This was unfortunately also the case on this occasion. There are many different trade fairs in Germany, such as GaLaBau, Kommunale etc., at which we are able to contact more local authority decision-makers. And yet it was interesting contacts from abroad that convinced us that FSB is still an important international trade fair.”

■ Saskia Kooistra, IJslander BV:
“The FSB is through its international character the ideal fair to get in touch with the market in all possible countries. It is also the ideal opportunity to show the latest and newest products.”

■ David Köhler, Berliner Seilfabrik GmbH & Co.:
“We are able to view the FSB exhibition in Cologne as positive. International visitors and existing partners, in particular, have examined our new product developments. However, we found the total number of visitors to be relatively small, and we would have liked to have seen more visitors in the halls. Whether a 3-day exhibition and a date outside the regional holidays and a grouping in one single hall would make more sense, may have to be investigated
for a future staging of the event.”

■ Michael Roth, Huck Seiltechnik GmbH:
“The visitors on the stand were both numerous existing customers (with whom we had arranged appointments in advance or who were there in any case), as well as very interested trade visitors. Overall, there were more distributors/manufacturers (mainly from abroad) represented than local authorities – and yet, in spite of all of this, there were very few new faces to be seen. The partitioning wall to hall 3.2 that had been brought very far forward and the very wide aisles between the stands were noticeable. It may also have been possible to integrate the stands of hall 2.2 here. Contrary to our expectations, the last day of the exhibition was very satisfactory in terms of the number and quality of visitors. This may be the reason why the first day of the show was dismal from 12 noon on. We had already urged a combined exhibition period of a maximum of 3 days in 2012.”

■ Torsten Hanings, Hags mb Spielidee:
“As expected, FSB had a very international character, both in terms of the visitors and the exhibitors. The poor presence of domestic trade visitors is also certainly to do with the unfortunate timing in the school holidays in North Rhine Westphalia. This was not made up for by the numerous specialist presentations in the various supporting programmes and by the exhibition that had been extended by one day.
As already at GaLaBau, there are increasing numbers of manufacturers from Asia and eastern Europe who have taken spaces previously occupied by ‘well-known’ European manufacturers, who were not represented at all or with only a greatly reduced presence. One commendable exception was the segment rope play equipment. The concept of a ‘special area’ is not wrong essentially, although the subject of fitness course is no longer entirely new, which was also apparent from the equipment on display at the exhibition that was only differentiated through coloured nuances. This special area was unfortunately located in one of the back corners. It would have deserved a more central forum. spatial concept for FSB may have to be reviewed, especially as the transition from hall 3.2 to the next hall created a visual ‘ditch’. Less can sometimes be more. It is important to stress the direct, consistent action of a manufacturer against the exhibitor of clear plagiarism."

■ Dirk Kleineberg, Rosta GmbH:
“Rosta exhibited at FSB for the first time and was able to report a complete success. The decision to take part in the exhibition was made because the Rosta element has been used in seesaws and outdoor fitness equipment for some years and the co-operation with the manufacturers has been intensified. International contacts were the highest on day one at 90%. National contacts increased on the following days, and the analysis at the end of the trade fair revealed 75% international and 25% national registered contacts.
The equipment exhibited on the Rosta information stand (Conlastic – dance school, Saysu – Airwalker, Zimmermann – seating) were very well received, and the multi-functionality of the integrated Rosta elements was convincing. There were good discussions with exhibitors from the pool sector.
These concerned reducing vibrations in pumps and whirlpools. The date is now fixed: FSB
2015 – Rosta will be there!”

More exhibitor comments (hall 2.2)
■ Klaus-Peter Gust,
SIK-Holzgestaltungs GmbH:
“I believe that FSB has become less attractive for German trade visitors. I've never known as few visitors as this year. The number of meetings with the trade on our stand was half compared with 2011. At the same time, there are of course many interesting discussions with new and well-known suppliers, distributors and colleagues.
However, our actual concern is naturally to meet landscape architects and local authority planners for playgrounds. Exhibitions are actually trading centres and presentation sites for innovative ideas after all. It is not worth us undertaking this financial, logistics and timely outlay for the few discussion contacts. We had three discussions on the first day of the exhibition. Thank goodness, the remaining three days were somewhat better. At the same time, associations and event organisers set up an attractive supporting programme with specialist presentations, conferences and the ‘Deutsche Spielraumpreis’ (German prize for playgrounds). Perhaps there were slightly fewer exhibitors? Perhaps there was a little too much 'square, practical and good’? Perhaps a few more important exhibitors would have swelled the flow of visitors a little more dynamically? Perhaps we would have attracted a few more visitors to our 25-year company anniversary with a party, such as 'Tapper & Hollmann’, attracted more attention or had a little more fun. … How does the slogan for SPD candidate for chancellor go: 'If only I had ....'!”

■ Uli Paulig, Ulrich Paulig & Co. merry go round OHG:
“I have been visiting the FSB exhibition for around 20 years and have had an exhibition stand there in the Stadt und Raum [city and space] area. Cologne is a beautiful and versatile exhibition city and FSB has always been special. Unfortunately, a great deal has changed. The flow of spectators has reduced enormously, extending the exhibition by one further day did not bring any measurable success for me; the public from the Ruhr has declined significantly, and exhibitors too have become much more international.
This is reflected in noticeable orgies of plastic on which no children in our country will hopefully have to play. In addition, there were two exhibition halls available for playground apparatus, a concept that took some getting used to, as the stream of visitors was unevenly spread because of the position of the halls.
I need to analyse and reformulate our exhibition concept and my exhibition aims with the experience of FSB. Despite all of that, there were some highly interesting people on our exhibition stand. Orders were once again signed on the exhibition, and I was very satisfied with the exhibition overall.
The exhibition concept will have to include some new ideas for my company to take a stand again at FSB in two years’ time.”

■ Katrin Pogan, Oecocolor GmbH:
“I would like to mention: there were too few visitors in hall 2.2. And four days was definitely too long for the FSB exhibition. Ultimately, there were not many more visitors on site than in 2011. FSB is too international for us. We are interested in local authority contacts in Germany. There were hardly any in the hall. This was hampered further by holidays in the state of North Rhine Westphalia.
One request for improvement would be to please integrate the city and space exhibition, once again, in hall 3.2. Less can sometimes be more! Even our representative from Austria was unable to find us in hall 2.2.
But praise does go out to the FSB exhibition team, who really did do everything possible!”

■ Beatrix Sauter, KuKuk GmbH:
“Brochure collectors” were in the minority on our stand at FSB. It was even more gratifying to find that we were able to inspire the exhibition visitors with our approach and include the future user of play, fitness and external spaces in planning from the outset and even involve him in the construction as part of joint venture projects, planning workshops and construction days. Demographic change that is a subject for the 'city and space' market place, an aspect that should be taken seriously when planning external spaces. Its implementation should, however, include more than just a focus on equipment for senior citizens. The aim of planning and design has to be to make cities equally worthwhile places in which to live for all generations; the focus must be on external spaces for all generations, in which young and old, big and small and people with restricted mobility can be and stay.
Generally, it should be noted that three exhibition days are perfectly sufficient from our perspective. Equally, it should be investigated whether the combination of amenity areas, sport and pool facilities makes sense: Even when viewed from the size perspective, the halls left as public spaces are a pathetic add-on and definitely do not serve the same target groups.”

■ Ulrich Scheffler, Lappset Spiel-, Park-, Freizeitsysteme GmbH:
“As a member of the exhibition advisory committee for FSB, I am able to congratulate the committee that it was once again possible to increase the exhibition space and the number of exhibitors, which means that the subjects covered by us of ‘playground apparatus’ and ‘fitness course’ will increase in importance. Extending the exhibition to four days certainly contributed to an increase in the number of visitors, as did the numerous special areas on which the latest trend sports were displayed. From the perspective of the Bundesverbandes der Spielplatzgeräte und Freizeitanlagen-Hersteller e.V. (BSFH), we can be very happy that the association was able to present so professionally, and consistently attracted visitors with the forum and exhibition space. The Lappset Group was also more than happy with its two presentations ‘interactive trend sport equipment’ and ‘Gym- Trail’. The activity-based equipment attracted a great number of international visitors. The local authority interest in the trend sport ‘outdoor fitness’ was increasingly noticeable; not just the mayor's football team was trying out the fitness equipment and interactive goal wall with enthusiasm. We look forward to the next FSB with great interest and would be very grateful if the FSB exhibition in 2015 could be held outside the autumn holidays in North Rhine Westphalia.”

■ Peter Stremel, Art Outside:
“As this was the first time Art Outside took part in FSB itself, we went to Cologne full of expectation. We were very irritated by the situation in halls 2 & 3, which had been dramatically reduced.
We found the basic thinking behind setting up an outdoor fitness course with equipment from various manufacturers to be good. This is why we decided to present several devices, including a new device. However, we found the implementation and how the subject was handled at the exhibition to be very questionable. As there was considerable promotion about this fitness course for us in advance as exhibitors, we were very surprised where it was positioned. If a trade visitor managed to get to hall 2, finding the course was no easy task.
The only direct access from the staircase was blocked by a stand. We also searched in vain for any notices or signs to the course and its exhibitors.
Perhaps as a result of this, the number of trade visitors was very manageable. We would not have required four days for this, which raises the question whether an exhibition for informing competitors and distributors is a sensible investment for us.”

■ Erwin Fried, Free Gym GmbH:
“FSB in Cologne is not just an important exhibition in the area of leisure, sport and pool facilities, but is also an opportunity to take a look at what is really going on. And, what is interesting is that the outdoor fitness area was even more strongly represented than ever before. FSB has taken account of this outdoor and fitness trend, even with an innovative idea of combining the equipment of several exhibitors to form a fitness course. The fact that there was someone there to explain this course to the interested public demonstrates that the exhibition organisers have the right attitude. It's just a shame that was all located in proverbial last corner. Perhaps three days would be sufficient, since there weren’t any overfilled halls like for example ISPO in Munich, as you cannot remember anything from the overfilled halls.”

■ Patrick Dubert, S.O.R. Schulz e. K.:
“FSB also showed a strong international presence again this year. We presented our hip and back trainer as a double station for the first time at the leading exhibition for amenity areas, sport and pool facilities, which was very well received by the visitors. Tuesday as an additional exhibition day turned out to be very sluggish in terms of visitor numbers.
It remains to be seen how the additional day will be received in the future. Nonetheless, the result for FSB 2013 turned out to be extremely positive overall, given the high visitor quality, and we are already looking forward to FSB 2015.”

■ Mario Hampel, Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte:
“The first day of the new FSB concept is unnecessary, hardly any visitors and no response. FSB 2013 was very good, generally speaking. We were able to advise our regular customers well, and display something new from Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte. The high proportion of international public/interested customers was positive. We are also happy to expand our co-operation with our foreign partners. What was alarming was the continuous increase in the number of new manufacturers previously unknown to the sector/market.”

Even more exhibitor comments (hall 11.2)
■ Thomas Kubitza, Melos GmbH:
“Melos GmbH presented itself at FSB 2013 with an innovative, new look: the contemporary revamp of our company's design has given the brand a facelift and steers the view to what is essential, to our products and service. At the same time, our new homepage was published at FSB. Two new product innovations were presented at the revamped exhibition stand: the Infill Bionic Fibre and the EPDM mulch.
The response to these innovative products was overwhelming. The Infill Bionic Fibre presented at the start of the year scored well thanks to the reliability of the tried-and-tested sulphur-cured EPDM and the organic material shape. Countless astro-turf pitches have been equipped with this new strewn granulate since the start of the year.
The second innovative product, the 100% coloured EPDM mulch, was met with enthusiasm. The colourfast new material is a completely newly developed material type based on tried-and-tested Melos EPDM. Our customers have waited for just this innovation, as now finally, a permanently accurate colour coating material is available with a mulch look, which also satisfies the strict environmental and health requirements.
The number of interested parties on the Melos stand in hall 11.2 exceeded our expectations. The increased interest looks good in terms of figures: on average, we counted 30% more visitors on our exhibition stand than in 2011.”

■ Albert Rieger, BSW GmbH:
“FSB has once again proven how important the exhibition is for us. Each time, we meet new people from the trade from all continents, with which we can initiate building projects and supply agreements in a grand style – and this despite our international sales network. The trade is larger than you think; fortunately, they meet at FSB. Alongside new customer business, we also use the exhibition as an opportunity to get together with our international trading partners, subsidiaries and sales representatives. FSB forms the ideal setting for this. We were especially pleased this year by the great interest in our new protective floors for climbing halls and our new Regupol training track for long-distance runners.”

■ Claus Spiegelbauer, Kraiburg Relastec GmbH & Co. KG:
“Kraiburg Relastec was able to report very good feedback for the area of sport and fall-protection floors, particularly during the first three days of the exhibition. We do not think that the number of visitors has increased as a result of the additional fourth exhibition day. This was used by many as an arrival and departure day. We were particularly happy with the strong, international public. FSB is still a globally recognised and established sports trade fair and will certainly continue to retain this position. Even though there are many competitors from all over the world, even in this product area, we were able to identify very high demand for our quality products. Preference is once again being given to manufacturers who are able to offer and guarantee a high-quality product; that is a good ‘trend’ for us as quality providers.”

The next FSB is due to take place between 27th and 30th October 2015 in Cologne.

Photos: Kölnmesse, TM

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