Sébastien Gillet, Director of the Trade Shows Division at GL Events Exhibitions

Sébastien Gillet is in charge of twelve GL EVENTS exhibitions, and here he talks about their strategic approaches, particularly for the INDUSTRIE trade show which, with the help of Promosalons, is promoting its activities on an international scale.

INDUSTRIE, the production technologies trade fair held on 4 - 7 April 2017 at Eurexpo Lyon. What are the show’s highlights?

In terms of market representation, we have exceeded our targets. We have over 900 exhibitors, up 10% on 2015. We are also expecting 22,000 visitors, based on the figure of 20,000 who attended two years ago. Held in France’s leading industrial region, and attended by all sector leaders, the show will give a well-needed boost to the industry’s image. We want to show that industry has changed and is looking to the future. For this reason, we are showcasing innovation and training this year. Our Innovation Awards have attracted entries from 140 companies and the presentation ceremony will be held at the end of the first day, attended by 850 guests.

A special trail through the show gives visitors the chance to learn about innovations, particularly through events and demonstrations of machines in operation.

We have also devised a themed trail for presenting and promoting the various industry sectors.

You are also organising a further two trade shows – the all-new SMART INDUSTRIES, and M.A.D.E., the redesigned and renamed Own Brand Event. Can you tell us a little about these?

French companies need to turn their focus on the industry of the future. The SMART INDUSTRIES fair, which started in 2015, aims to help them succeed. We are using various tools (talks, keynote speeches, events, etc.) to raise awareness and educate professionals about tomorrow’s technologies. The 2016 edition was a great success, particularly due to the visit from the French President. We intend to build on this success for the third edition of this trade show in October 2017.
M.A.D.E. is the successor to MDD EXPO, which experienced a slight decline due to problems encountered by own brands. Our challenge was to capture the attention of the mass distribution sector with an exhaustive offer representing the various distribution channels (cash & carry, e-commerce, etc.), and with a more innovative approach tailored to current types of consumption, e.g. organic, local, on-the-go. Our trade show must also look more to the international market.

What is your strategy for your division’s events?

Our aim is to rally the whole profession and public authorities around our trade shows. These events have to overcome a challenging mix of competing factors and complex timetables and the need for participants to make optimum use of their time. But there still needs to be time to meet people and talk, and to see machines operating live. Trade shows still have a promising future, provided they can adapt to meet market expectations. For example, we consider our visitors’ budgets and pressure on their time, and so we provide free transport and create resources to make their visit more efficient. Despite fierce competition, especially from German trade fairs, we also want to exploit our differences and open our doors to the international market.

The Industrie show returned to the Promosalons network in 2016. What do you consider to be the benefits of this network for promoting your event internationally?

When we relaunched this show, it was still purely French-focused. Our priority was to create stability and regain the confidence of our stakeholders. We can do this. But this event will only develop by going international. And here, we prefer to take advantage of Promosalons’ expertise. Following an initial project for our show in Paris in 2016, we are working alongside the local offices and are confident of achieving our aim. We understand that it takes time to reap the benefits of international promotion and we hope to see some positive results starting from 2018.