One of the more surprising aspects of participating in the Caravan Salon show in Dusseldorf, Germany, last week was the amount of space manufacturers and some suppliers set aside for people to socialize.
We’re not talking about picnic tables or card tables and plastic chairs either. The companies invested tens of thousands of dollars to secure the space, rent the equipment and stock the area with snacks and drinks. People could indulge in water, wine, beer or soft drinks.
One of the organizers told me the sitting areas are a way to keep families at the displays, as well as build relationships between staff and current customers or prospects. The socializing areas were always full as long as the show was open. The only exception was the first day, Trade Day, when the displays were open only to industry professionals.
Here are some of the displays set up to entice people to sit down, relax and contemplate their purchases.
Located right in the center of their displays, flanked by two new motorhomes on revolving wheels, the Hymer display was consistently busy every day of the show.
While most of the social areas were wide open in that people could enter and leave from anywhere, Burstner’s display was set off by an attractive display of plants.
Carthago’s display was a busy area for deal making and relaxing.
It’s easy to imagine the excitement of travel while sitting in Chauson’s social area.
Dethleffs even incorporated corporate colors into its social area.
Fendt Caravans opted for a more upscale social area with plenty of room for private conversations.
Knaus opted for a more laid back approach in designing its social area, but it was still staffed by people serving refreshments. The photo was taken the day before the show officially opened to consumers.
Almost all of LMC’s new caravan models could be easily seen from the company’s lounge.
Not every firm opted for expensive displays. T@B found a unique way to deploy cardboard furniture in its display area.
Several companies even invested in children’s activity areas — and even hired babysitters — so parents could walk through the displays without interruptions. The top display was built by Dethleffs while the bottom activity area was created by Hobby Caravans.
Even the press area at Caravan Salon was staffed round the clock by staff serving food and drink. But, unlike the National RV Trade Show in America, journalists and bloggers had to pay for their food and drinks.