This brings me to leather trade fairs. Over the past twenty years the duration of our fairs has reduced from a week or more, to four days and now to just three days for virtually all. Even the three days can be further categorised: the first day nothing happens, the second day everything or nothing happens, the last day does not count and most go home early. Many exhibitors are packing up by lunchtime on day three. Since day two seems the only one that counts many travel, visit the fair, and fly home the same night (those who live not to far away of course).

It’s like a cigarette manufacturer who starts to make its cigarettes 1cm shorter since they found out everybody throws the last bit away. 

Exhibiting and visiting trade fairs is a big investment in both time and money. Everyone says it costs a lot. I wonder if we are really making good use of them? In these times where every penny counts if a fair lasted one or two days longer our costs would only be one of two hotel nights more (plus some extra costs to exhibit for longer for exhibitors). But the chance to see more products, meet more customers and suppliers and finally have a chance to meet those badly needed ‘new’ contacts, people we never met before because we preferred to run in and out of a fair without needing nightwear if possible, would multiply. It would make the trade fair investment much more worth your while. A better yield! 

To those people who now tell me they just need one day to see their suppliers and customers I would say, stay some time longer and find new suppliers and customers!

In my opinion, this argument is much stronger these days than in the past. Fairs then were to do business but nowadays all agree that hardly any business is done at fairs directly and its main purpose now is to see people and products. Do I need to say more?

This is a subject up for discussion, your opinion is most welcome.

Ron Sauer