After four successful days FSB drew to a close on 30 October 2015 with a positive result, a greater international presence and a good atmosphere. At the leading sector trade fair in Cologne some 26,600 visitors from 117 countries discovered innovations, products and services from the fields of amenity areas, sport and pool facilities. FSB, which again took place alongside aquanale, the International Trade Fair for Sauna, Pool and Ambience, reported a significant seven per cent increase in visitor numbers. There were especially marked increases in trade visitor numbers from Asia (+19 per cent) and the Middle East (+12.5 per cent), while the two events also attracted significantly larger numbers of visitors from elsewhere in Europe to Cologne than the previous edition in 2013. Overall the dual exhibitions also posted a two per cent increase in the share of international visitors to 58 per cent. FSB and aquanale took place in the north halls of Cologne Exhibition Centre for the first time, a move welcomed by both exhibitors and visitors. This meant it was possible to fully leverage and link synergies in the swimming pool area. "In 2015 FSB once again underscored its standing as the leading international trade fair for the amenity areas, sports and pool sector. This is illustrated not only by the numbers and in particular the growth at international level but also by the high quality of exhibitors and visitors," said Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Koelnmesse, summarising the event's success. "The new hall layout raised still further the profile of FSB."
All the leading German and international companies in the sector exhibited at FSB 2015. As well as the new layout, exhibitors also praised the strong international presence. They were also very pleased with the quality of the visitors. This appraisal is confirmed by the initial results of the visitor survey, according to which 90 per cent of visitors are involved in procurement decisions either directly or in an advisory capacity. Visitors were also effusive in their praise of the event, with around 75 per cent expressing satisfaction with their visit. 82 per cent went so far as to say that they had attained their trade fair goals at FSB. Thanks to the diverse product portfolio 80 per cent of visitors rated the exhibition offering as very good or good.
Multi-generation movement spaces
As a result of the switch to the North Halls FSB was able to offer a dedicated space, Hall 9, for the themes of amenity areas, playground equipment and outdoor fitness. Here numerous exhibitors showcased their products, projects and services related to the planning and design of amenity spaces under specific headings such as local authority planning and urban design, play areas, barrier freedom, demographic change and mobility. Numerous trade events for various target groups rounded off FSB's offering. In conjunction with its longstanding partners STADTundRAUM and BSFH / Playground@Landscape, FSB 2015 presented forums with added value for local authorities, planners and landscape architects as well as attractively designed themed areas.
One thing worth noting is that the "Playground" theme at FSB occupied less space than in the year 2013.. The "fitness" theme is in vogue and the "fitness course" theme dovetails very well with the remaining concept for the other halls.
A question that needs to be asked after this trade fair is: how much "playground" space does FSB still have?
Exhibitor statements Hall 9
Ulrich Scheffler, Lappset Spiel-, Park-, Freizeitsysteme GmbH:
"FSB 2015 went very well for us. We were well received by German and in particular international visitors and as a result fared better than in 2013. Our stand was visited by customers from around the world, for example, from Japan, Australia, the Arabian peninsula, Russia and the rest of Europe. Outdoor fitness is a really hot topic at the moment, and naturally this was very noticeable at FSB."
Julian Richter jun., Richter Spielgeräte GmbH:
"The move to the new hall was actually inevitable and I don't think another year in the old 'gloomy' halls used for many years would have been tolerated by many people. I think it's the first step in the right direction and can finally literally see light at the end of the tunnel. All in all we were very satisfied with our visit.
The FSB has always been a very international trade fair, and this was confirmed again this year. We welcomed guests from virtually every European country and from Israel, Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and many other countries at our stand and the quality of the enquiries was very good overall.
We noted and welcomed the large number of local authority representatives who visited our stand. Naturally many were long-standing and loyal customers but we also managed to make a few interesting new contacts. There's still scope for a greater overall number of visitors, if we're going to be critical, though the trend is positive.
The new halls are certainly an improvement and I'd be pleased if we kept to this path. Otherwise the trade fair will certainly have to continue to work to mobilise visitors and to keep the number of international visitors high. It would also be nice to meet even more established manufacturers so that the influence of manufacturers from Asia doesn't become too great. Then product quality won't be watered down and visitors put off."
Klaus-Peter Gust, SIK-Holzgestaltungs GmbH:
"FSB 2015 in Cologne is over. The documents have been evaluated, the questions answered and the odd order confirmation written. The mass has been sung, the candles have been extinguished and the gates have closed.
If they were the gates to happiness, we're hopefully standing on the right side again. At any rate, we're certainly not despondent. You can plan a great deal, including success, but a little fortune is also nice and in life as in marketing it always plays its part in success.
Many contacts at the trade fair came about by chance. I simply call it luck. The number of friendly trade visitors from China was striking. There were quite a few interesting discussions. Though it remains to be seen how many orders will ensue. Perhaps someone will eat a fortune cookie for us, or the waving cat will send a greeting.
Of the approx. 200 visitors to our stand, 33% were from outside Germany. 27% were from the immediate area around Cologne. Around 15% drove fewer than 100 km to visit FSB. 13% of visitors drove under 150 km and less than 2% came from Berlin, Munich or the Black Forest. So, you can say that we had another very nice regional trade fair with a large proportion of international visitors.
The new trade fair hall made setting up much easier and also the presentation of larger elements. But ultimately that's not enough. If the management of the Cologne Exhibition centre can't tell local authority decision-makers that leading brands such as Kompan, Hags or Eibe will be showcasing their innovations, then they will continue to have no reason to undertake the long trip to the Rhine.
In short: FSB is still exciting but falls far short of what we expect of it."
Karl Köhler, Berliner Seilfabrik GmbH & Co.:
"As ever, we had a very successful FSB, with customers from throughout Europe and from as far afield as Australia, for example. And the activities that we staged around the trade fair in order to show our trade representatives our products live too were also a resounding success."
"Hall 9 was very much to our liking. The lightness and airiness of the 'playground hall' in particular imbued it with a particular flair. This is also reflected in the large number of visitors. We were really knocked out by the large international presence! We received visitors from 38 nations at our stand. Naturally this included visitors from neighbouring countries but there were also representatives from further afield including Algeria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Singapore, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. I was especially delighted to receive visitors from the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. FSB has an international reputation to which the event did justice. There perhaps isn't such a strong focus on local authority decision makers: around a quarter of our visitors came from local authorities in North Rhine Westphalia and the adjoining federal states."
Reinhard Bojahr, Procon Play and Leisure GmbH:
"We had decided to take part as co-exhibitors. For Playparc Mr Strasser wanted to enhance the appeal of his stand with a colourful granulate surface. I had the impression that at least for him this goal could be achieved. Only a few people expressed interest in the Sureplay Landshaping product that we presented from the full Procon range, yet we are pleased to report that around 50 of our visitors were completely new contacts. I don't want to appear negative but our outlay was out of all reasonable proportion to the expected benefit. Fortunately, I was able to tie in our trade fair presence with a meeting for my Sureplay partners. Despite my bullet-proof optimism: there probably won't be a repeat of such an initiative."
Katrin Pogan, Öcocolor GmbH & Co. KG:
"The new hall concept is a great improvement on the old one.
FSB stands for a significant international presence ‒ yes, but: mostly from eastern Europe and Asia. We would have preferred more visitors from neighbouring European countries. Local authority decision-makers were certainly present at the trade fair but it would have been nice to meet a few more because this target group in particular is more important for us than international visitors.
The largely strong turnouts for the series of presentations at the BSFH / Playground@Landscape stand and in the STADT und RAUM area were welcome.
Despite a decidedly quiet first day we attracted more visitors to our stand than two years ago though we would have to see a further increase in professional trade fair visitors before we could talk of a really successful trade fair result. Unfortunately only a few of the customers who we invited made it to Cologne."
Bernwart Engelen, KuKuk Box GmbH:
"The new hall was a success. There was more light and a friendlier atmosphere. At our stand there were representatives from Asia, China, Scandinavia, Holland and Italy. We welcomed local authority employees but fewer direct decision makers. So we're hoping these employees will have an influence on the decision-makers. There was also a lack of important rivals/manufacturers and in addition there weren't many innovations. Reducing the length of the event to three days wouldn't be a bad idea (Tuesday could be omitted)."
Mario Hampel, Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte:
"The new hall was bright and friendly and we didn't have to take a lift to the first floor to set up. We manufacturers were no longer divided into two halls but exhibited together in one hall. We were able both to expand our international network and to speak with our existing partners from different countries. Our regular customers all visited our stand: both local authorities and planners. One important thing to note is that the first day was superfluous as usual and there were very few visitors. The other days were highly satisfactory and very well visited. The event would certainly be better if the manufacturers that were not present were to come. Then we can all fill the trade fair hall together and offer a great deal to visitors and customers."
Exhibitor statement Hall 7
Johannes Maier,Eurotramp Trampoline - Kurt Hack GmbH:
"For us FSB has been the industry's most important networking platform for a number of years. In addition to the strong footfall at our stand on all four days, the quality of trade visitors was also above average. FSB is the right place to forge good international contacts and to meet our international customers. At the same time we use FSB as a meeting place for our dealers. Our special trampoline show was also well received and achieved good synergy effects. This concept also brought us additional new customers."
Exhibitor statements Hall 10.2
Albrecht Rieger (BSW GmbH):
"At this edition of FSB we experienced an almost precisely 33% increase in new contacts compared with 2013. This is really pleasing and highlights the combined impact of our new stand concept and our location in a spot with strong footfall in Hall 10.2. The FSB did a fantastic job of bringing highly professional trade visitors from around the world to Cologne. As a result, 76% of our visitors were from other countries, in particular from China, India, the Arab world and southern Europe. That is a huge figure, with domestic visitors accounting for three quarters of the total at many trade fairs. That there was no sign of numerous German local authorities may be due to the fact that they are currently preoccupied with the task of housing homeless refugees. Against this backdrop, Kölnmesse deserves a big pat on the back. For us the new FSB was a big hit."
Claus Spiegelbauer, Kraiburg Relastec GmbH & Co. KG:
"We exhibited in Hall 10.2. and the response was very positive. We mainly welcomed interested visitors from Europe, South America and the Middle East ‒ but we didn't see a single "local decision-maker" or architect.
For us customer quality ‒ whether existing or new ‒, and an international presence are important. That's why we exhibit in Hall 10.2.
Unfortunately you come across more and more exhibitors, in particular from China, who can't meet EN 1177 standards. In my view it's not only visitor quality that needs to be assessed, we also need to scrutinise exhibitors a little more closely. Even if this means a decline in trade fair applications."
Thomas Kubitza, Melos GmbH:
"FSB 2015 went very well indeed for us. In addition to our core markets, we were also able to do a great job of reaching target groups in growth markets ‒ we made especially good contacts with customers in South America and the Middle East. FSB's new hall concept also had a very positive impact, resulting in a marked improvement in visitor flow."
Thomas Peters, Eurogreen GmbH:
"Eurogreen was the only exhibitor to bring a natural turf to its trade fair stand at FSB in Cologne, even if this was strengthened with a synthetic mat: CombiGrass® hybrid turf was one of the highlights at this year's specialist trade fair for sports floor surfaces. Our stand received lots of visits from architects, building companies, local authorities and clubs keen to find out about the positive characteristics of our environment- and player-friendly football surface. And the conversations were of a very high quality. We were especially pleased to make so many new contacts so our investment in the trade fair really paid off."
Tobias Müller, Polytan GmbH:
"We're very satisfied with FSB 2015. There were even more international trade visitors, which is key for us as a globally active company. FSB is an important business platform for us and we were able to do an exceptional job of presenting our new products and solutions to our customers."
"FSB is an ideal meeting point for Trofil. The industry is familiar, the market is known and nonetheless or perhaps for this reason FSB always provides a setting for conversations on neutral ground. FSB is a highlight for us and we won't have the opportunity to hold so many discussions and step up contacts until the next edition. Whether it last three days or four, at the end you remember people you've seen but not had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with. Once again they were a few nice stressful days, without relentless order and development pressure. I can't wait for FSB 2017."
FSB 2015 in numbers
624 (622) companies from 44 (44) countries took part in FSB 2015, occupying a gross exhibition area of 56,000 m² (67,000 m²). Of these, 202 (224) were from Germany and 422 (398) were international exhibitors. International companies accounted for 68 (64) per cent of the total. The joint aquanale/FSB trade fair attracted around 26,000 (25,000) trade visitors from 117 (115) countries. International visitors accounted for 58 (56) per cent of the total.
The next edition of FSB takes place from 7 to 10 November 2017 in Cologne.
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