The interwiev with Sławomir Giefing, the CEO of RemaDays

The Interview with Sławomir Giefing the CEO of RemaDays Fair

You have decided to organize the fair in September — what was the reason behind the decision?

The reason behind it was that it was the clients themselves, who suggested a September date to us. This thought planted a seed that resulted in us doing a survey of all our clients, and although some exhibit at the Marketing Festival, a lot of them said they would like to exhibit at our fair. We decided to respond to the needs of our clients and to organize a fair. Initially we wanted to organize it on 8–10 September 2021, but in order to reach out to suppliers, who planned to appear at the Festival, and dispel any doubt they might have had concerning losing interest of some visitors planning to come to RemaExtra, we changed the date of the event to 15–17 September 2021. As a result of this decision, everyone will have the opportunity to take part in both events or to choose one while in Warsaw.

Aren’t you concerned that the two events may be seen competing with each other?

We see our event as a complementary offer to the industry, given that no trade fair took place in February. On the other hand, we are responding to our clients’ needs who wanted our event to take place in September. Since we’re assuming this edition will be a one-off event, it’s all the more reason not to think of it as a form of competition. Since the two events are taking place at the same time, it will be a double incentive for visitors to come, due to the wider range of suppliers. Therefore, we wish both events the best of luck.

For a year now, we have been living in a reality shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people are still concerned about their safety — how do you want to address this issue during the September fair?

Unfortunately, the trade fairs were among the first to be closed along with all mass events, so we assume they will be the last ones to be reopened. We notice that after a year of pandemics and restrictions, somehow, we have learned to live and function with the virus. When the event industry is reopened, we will follow the sanitary regime requirements to the letter. We are fully prepared to hold the fair in a safe environment. However, we have no control over each person’s decision and can only appeal for following common sense. Nothing can replace face-to-face business meetings, where everyone has the opportunity to learn the suppliers’ offers, products and conduct discussions in a relaxed manner. It is worthwhile, for purely practical reasons if nothing else, to explore the offers of several hundred suppliers in the course of a single day, especially as this was not possible throughout the year. However, should anyone have higher safety concerns, we encourage to use the RemaOnline tool, which collects all exhibitors’ data in one place.

Aren’t companies worried about their budgets, planning them with this year’s trade fair held exceptionally in September and the next edition coming in February?

For a number of years, the idea that we have been trying to convey to our clients is that the fair promotion budgets should be reasonably set at the right level. Some clients reject the September date due to the nature of their product, but please keep in mind that September will be the only opportunity for trade fair promotion this year. February is another year altogether, with new hopes and opportunities.

Each year the RemaDays Warsaw trade fair attracted thousands of visitors from Poland and abroad. Do you have a guess as to what numbers to expect with regards to interest in the September edition?

For now, it is difficult to assess the exact number of visitors, but we expect less interest. The main reasons are the smaller size of the event and the post-pandemic reality. Visitors from abroad will be foremost interested in local events. However, those who arrive will be companies looking for new solutions, offers, and “hungry” for inspiration.

How do you see the future of the industry?

We can see that the market has changed as a result of the year-long isolation. Some companies have suspended operations or re-branded while waiting for better times. Therefore, trade fairs should be an impetus for change and stimulate the market. However, we believe that we are all slowly finding our way in the new reality that is forcing us to change our approach, sales or search for solutions.