This year's Caravanning Exhibition in Poznan is, on the one hand, a success – a lot of exhibitors showing a large number of vehicles, many new brands (not only on fairs, but also on the Polish market). But at the same time it’s really hard to resist the impression that this event needs a newer, fresher formula.
Let's start with the pros, because there’s a lot of them. When visiting the stands of exhibitors, talking with the owners and employees of companies thematically related to caravanning, it was hard to resist the impression that a lot has changed for the better within a year. Some people still complain that the market in Poland is hard, that sale of new motorhomes and caravans is weak, that it’s just a tad better when it comes to renting camping vehicles and sale of the used ones. On the other hand, from those conversations also emerges hope that couldn’t be felt a year ago. And it's not just about the words, but about facts.
And the facts are that while a year ago a big part of the exhibition space was occupied by distributors of accessories, at this year’s fairs we can see a lot of motorhomes and caravans from various brands. Many new manufacturers have joined the old ones. There are also foreign exhibitors, even those, who formally don’t run sales in Poland. They wouldn’t come to Poznan, if they didn’t believe that it will pay off. Some are just testing the market, but others are expanding their activity. It is said that one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but at the fairs in Poznan are dozens of swallows!
Polish caravanning market is growing and now, when the topic of the crisis returns more rarely, there’s a chance that even Poland will start chasing other markets - maybe not the German market, that has a highly developed caravanning, but a bit smaller. There is no reason that the situation in Poland was worse than in the Czech Republic or in Hungary, and from the conversation with Markus Kuschmann from Gant, I’ve deduced that even against this background sales in our country comes of rather poorly.
It’s therefore better – we have good exhibitions, we have an increasing offer of motorhomes and caravans in Poland, we have competing manufacturers and distributors. What to want more?
Well, something is still missing: it’s a belief that it’s worth to do more to attract the visitors with the Caravanning Exhibition. Today, this exhibition remains the saddest part of the whole Motor Show. You can even say, without exaggeration, that the walk between halls of the exhibition and other exhibitions of Motor Show reminds wandering between different worlds.
The world of car and motorcycle exhibitions vibrates with colors and sounds. Cars are presented in various ways, but in each stall vehicles are well-lit, nicely exposed, while professional sellers and a charming hostessm, who help to promote them. Manufacturers and dealers are competing with each other to attract viewers, to interest them with the offer, to prove that what they sell is really unique. Of course, they also sometimes happen to stumble, and some hostesses seem more interested in their haircuts than in the event itself, but the overall impression is really good. There is music, there are colors, something’s going on.
Full of impressions we’re entering the Caravanning Exhibition. And what? Among cramped motorhomes and caravans, at garden tables sit gentlemen and ladies, who do nothing but gobble cookies. Chairs are occupied mainly by the owners, employees and their families. Unfortunately they seem barely interested in visitors.
Certain things can be explained by a much lower budget of caravanning exhibitors, but striking ignorance just CANNOT be explained by lack of money. It would also be nice if the exhibitor wanted to rethink their presence at the next fairs. Maybe today it’s not enough to only display the goods and wait for customers? Maybe they should think of some competitions and games to attract viewers, as it is done in other halls? Or perhaps they could as well sustain an investment in renting a microphone and lighting?