At the build up of boot Düsseldorf, the world’s leading boating show IELA got the chance to talk the Mr. Petros Michelidakis, Director boot Düsseldorf & Global Head – Boating and Watersport Events at Messe Düsseldorf.
IELA: When did you start working for the exhibition industry?
Mr. Petros Michelidakis: "30 years ago I had the opportunity to work four years as a commercial manager for a German logistics company in Greece. That was a very interesting time because the logistics are offering a vast variety of opportunities. You meet people from several stages of the service industry and that gives you a very wide look into the industry, into services and into the market, which is very important as an experience – for me it was at least important for my experience in the latest stages of my business."
IELA: What does the exhibition industry has to offer for new and young talents?
Mr. Petros Michelidakis: "The exhibition industry is a very human orientated industry. It’s about meetings, exchange of knowledge, about networking. That’s why people come to an exhibition – to see products and meet people. Meeting people is the most important thing still today in the era of the internet that gives you the trust you need to go one step further and do a contract with somebody you have only talked on the phone line, have seen via Skype or on the internet. That’s why the exhibition industry is very important. We here in Düsseldorf have 1.5 Million visitors around the world from 180 nations. We have exhibitions with a very high international rate. This is something an exhibition can give you and the fair business is for the participants very interesting, because you can check your products on the market directly – so for a new product it is very interesting. You can see your competitors, you can meet your competitors and you can also think about the next step, which is very important. If you make a business plan or production plan and you see on an exhibition you go the wrong way because your competition might be more advanced than you. Then you have the chance to make the change.
For us the so called soft skills are very important. Of course, you need a good knowledge of all the topics you covering with an exhibition. And it is a huge area, where we are going to advance your knowledge, because you always have to be a step further than the others. The point is, that the young people, and we see them every day, we are having more than 10 young people doing for instance an event management apprenticeship staying with us for three/three and a half years and learn a lot about exhibition and how do deal with people and how to solve their problems. It is very sensible because someone who is coming to an exhibition for the first time as an exhibitor is anxious does he has the right space, will he have the success he/she is expecting, is the money a good investment or not, and we have to deal with this anxiousness. We have to talk to them, we have to find solutions for them and young people learn to do that. That’s why people coming from the exhibition area are able to do a lot more jobs at a later stage of their career and we can see this and we are very happy about the people who love their job. And we can say we are a very nice family here at Messe Düsseldorf. This is very important, because you work to serve others. And you are happy if the others are happy too."
IELA: With your background you surely understand the importance of in time and secure logistics services. How important are these key competences for a show like boot? What is your experience in working with professional logistics freight forwarder?
Mr. Petros Michelidakis: "At boot Düsseldorf, it is the most important thing, I would say. Imagine the situation we had this year: We had a very high water level on the Rhine River and our logistics partner were able to come two days earlier, because they were well prepared. With a difference of two hours he made it to pass a bridge after Nijmegen (The Netherlands), because the water tide was going to be higher and higher. And when the boats arrived we said “Thanks God, they are here”. Then a storm came, and we were really very anxious, because you can imagine the value of the ships, of the yachts on this pontoon with 9 yachts on it, the value was about 25 million Euro maybe more, and we were anxious because the yachts had to come into the halls the same day. So we used Kuehne + Nagel and DB Schenker at Messe Düsseldorf as your partner and they did a perfect and professional job working hand in hand with the logistics company from Rotterdam on the Pontoon, coming to Düsseldorf taking the ships out. To be honest I didn’t sleep for two nights, because this is the most important job. Imagine the yachts are not in time in the halls. We cannot start with the stand construction, we cannot do anything. We cannot start doing the exhibition. So the logistics for the exhibition side and the fair center is the most important thing. We can say that we are really very happy to have very experienced companies here on the fairground working for us and we are working hand in hand with them starting very early: planning, coordinating and then executing the job."
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Michelidakis. We wish you a successful boot Düsseldorf!
The Düsseldorf International Boat Show, known as boot Düsseldorf or just boot is one of the world's premier boot shows. The fair is held annually at Messe Düsseldorf, Germany in the end of January.Round about 1,800 exhibitors from 65 countries present state of the art developments from the following sections: Fishing - Jet Skiing - Kayak - Canoeing- Kitesurfing- Motorsport - Rowing - Sailing - Surfing - Recreational Diving - Tourism - Water ski - Wind surfing - Yachting.