Managing Director Michel Loris-Melikoff offers a preview of innovations at Baselworld 2019.
Baselworld: Mr Loris-Melikoff, you are quite new as the head of Baselworld. Are the concepts for Baselworld 2019 equally new and fresh?
Michel Loris-Melikoff: I certainly hope so! The feedback that my team and I have received from the industry about our ideas for the coming year has been very positive and bookings are likewise developing better than last year.
What specific items will be new at Baselworld 2019?
Plenty! An important goal is to strengthen the jewellery area. That’s why it will be much more centrally positioned in Hall 1.2, where it will also have a genuine visitor magnet: a Show Plaza with a spectacular 240° catwalk. There will be three live shows per day on the catwalk, which can also be used for events in the evenings. "The Loop“ will offer several new catering options directly in Hall 1.1. The independent watchmakers of “Les Ateliers” likewise get a new stage: they can now be found in Hall 1.0 South. We are also developing events for dealers. And Baselworld will open for journalists already one day prior to its official opening… The objective is to strengthen the fair’s event, communication and marketing character. Baselworld must be a unique experience that’s newly surprising and different each year. We still have some time ahead of us before Baselworld 2019, so several additional concepts will also be added. We’ll provide more details about them in the coming weeks and months.
The new Show Plaza in Hall 1.2 will host three jewellery and fashion shows per day.
How are these concepts developed?
In close coordination with our exhibitors. Three or four visits with customers each day are not unusual at the moment. I want the people to get to know me as a person and I want to get to know them personally too. Moreover, there are committees and events for exhibitors in Germany, France and Italy, where we present and candidly discuss our concepts – as peers and equal partners. We listen very carefully to learn exactly what exhibitors and dealers desire, what would be good, what they felt was missing and, of course, we also have our own ideas and we want to try things out. What’s very important for me is: we want to design Baselworld not only for the global watch and jewellery industry, but also and above all with the industry. And here I mean the whole industry, not just the luxury sector.
How are you responding to the digitization of the markets?
Today’s market needs a totally different Baselworld than it needed ten years ago. Some companies nowadays “tick” almost exclusively digitally. The topic of digitization is accordingly at the top of our list. Among other things, we are also developing a new communications strategy that works with innovative formats such as digital chatbots to provide the brands with a year-round stage for their products. But digitization will and must take place and show itself in many other areas as well. We are in the process of developing new ideas here too.
In Hall 1.1, the new area „The Loop“ will offer several catering options.
Catering, overnight stays, stand fees, admission prices: these have long been a bone of contention for many people.
That’s true. Expenses crossed the pain threshold for many people in past years. That’s why we intend to sit down at a table with all participants and find a satisfactory solution. Our negotiations with hoteliers and restaurateurs make it clear that this will succeed. With regard to stand rentals, we have already modified the fees in past years and we’ll continue to modify them selectively in 2019 to reduce expenses for our exhibitors. We’ll likewise rethink the admission prices and adjust them downward, if possible.