Live and in colour - Vanillaplan at appli-tech

Elena Höppner
by Elena Höppner Content MarketingPublished on 10.02.2023

Finally a trade fair again! We exchanged ideas, listened to lectures, conversed with visitors, with customers, with other companies. We collected ideas, presented them, made contacts and experienced the latest industry trends. And we even had a moment for coffee. The last three days have been full of stimulating conversations and diverse impressions - because after two postponements due to the crown, we are finally on site at appli-tech. For a look behind the scenes at appli-tech, we interviewed trade fair director Elio Cavazzutti and HG COMMERCIALE's Chief Sales Officer Kurt Meier.

For the eighth time, appli-tech in Lucerne brings together experts from the painting and plastering industry, drywall construction and insulation. Over three days, we were able to present the latest features of Vanillaplan. In addition to interesting lectures in the specialist forum, which focused primarily on the topic of sustainability, this year's special event was the "Swiss Prize for Plaster and Paint". This was announced for projects by teams from the trades and architecture, and the numerous projects submitted can be admired in the project exhibition.

To gain a deeper insight into the organisation of appli-tech, we interviewed the exhibition manager Elio Cavazzutti.

Good day Mr. Cavazzutti, first question first for a rough classification: How many visitors* and exhibitors are there at this year's appli-tech?

We are expecting an estimated 10,000 visitors by the end of the fair and there are around a hundred exhibitors present.

Because of Corona, appli-tech has been postponed twice. Has this changed anything in terms of the number of visitors and the atmosphere here?

Yes exactly, actually appli-tech takes place every three years and the last one was in 2018. In 2021 it was already clear relatively quickly that it would not take place due to the Corona measures. For this reason, we offered a digital alternative, where exhibitors could present their contributions online and visitors could view them and participate in presentations and webinars. Despite the great interest, it was only intended from our side as an alternative and not as a replacement. It is nice to feel that the need is there to offer something like this. Of course, it is also possible in digital form, but on site there are completely different possibilities: You can compare products, touch them, have something explained to you and ultimately build trust.

Can you give us a brief insight into how trade fair planning works?

Gladly. We put the fair out to tender for exhibitors about a year and a half ago; after that, there is first a longer registration phase. After that, we start to draw the hall layout, determine the stands and plan everything that is necessary, such as electricity connections. In addition, the supporting programme with projects, lectures and presentations has to be developed. Here, we primarily want to give the exhibitors - in front of lecturers or other "outsiders" - the opportunity to present themselves, as long as there is interest. The last step is to make sure that enough visitors find their way to us. To do this, we advertise via social media and in industry magazines, and the exhibitors are also the linchpin here.

We saw the exhibition of projects for the Plaster and Paint Award. What is it all about?

"The Swiss Prize for Plaster and Colour was announced a year ago. Architects and craftsmen can register for it as a team with an implemented project in which - as the name suggests - plaster and colour are the main focus. We received 26 projects, which we have exhibited here. For these, there is a vote by the jury of experts and the audience. I think it's a nice project because it shows what's trending and where we are at the moment."

Thank you very much for the interview.

After this exciting insight from the exhibition side, we conducted an interview with Kurt Meier, CSO of HG COMMERCIALE, to get an impression from the exhibitor's point of view. HGC are our neighbours at the fair and since 2021 we are part of their membership programme.

Good afternoon Mr Meier, after postponing appli-tech twice, it is finally taking place again this year. What are your impressions so far?

Yes, we are very happy that appli-tech is back on site and that we can get in touch with our customers and interested parties in person. Yesterday it was a bit quiet, but today we are positively surprised. We also really appreciate the quality of the exchange here, because at a trade fair like this the relevant knowledge is available, which is often lacking at public fairs.

Then the contact with your customers is the main focus for you here?

Exactly, as you can see there is less product info at our stand, but it is about interacting with our customers, exchanging ideas and simply saying "thank you" once. During Corona, we did customer events online, but it's just not the same. Especially in the construction industry, personal contact is so important and that was really missing. That's why we're extremely happy about appli-tech as it is now.

We would like to thank Elio Cavazzutti and Kurt Meier for the extremely interesting interviews and look forward to a last impressive day at the fair! We are already very excited about the next fair and hope to be there again then!