What event organisers can learn from the Huishoudbeurs

How can you keep an event up-to-date, relevant and, therefore, successful? The Huishoudbeurs has been around since 1950 and still continues to attract huge crowds. I’ve been responsible for the largest consumer event in the Netherlands since 2008. As no two years are the same, I’d like to share with you here how we make things tick. How do we keep surprising visitors? And where do we strike the right balance between familiar and innovative? 

Pick a relevant theme for each year
We offer visitors to the Huishoudbeurs a new experience at every edition by selecting a specific theme, such as ‘Welcome to the future’, ‘Colours’ or, next year’s theme, ‘Love & Lust’. This thematic approach ensures a unique style each year and stimulates visitors to attend anew as they know they can expect something fresh & exciting. 

Introduce new elements
To create the right atmosphere as an event organiser, we first determine the anchor points of the event. There are various concepts we have designed ourselves, like our Happy & Healthy Villa, Pet Square and Living Inspiration Square. Another successful concept is the Model Convention, where young girls present themselves on the catwalk in the hope of being discovered. The benefit of such varied elements is that they simplify modular innovation, having a major impact on the overall experience without you needing to turn the entire event upside down. 

Combine familiarity with innovation
Although the Huishoudbeurs has expanded to include much more than household issues alone, we have retained the original name. At 98% the brand familiarity of the event in the Netherlands is enormous, and the target group associates it with beauty, fashion, food and lifestyle as well. To maintain our freshness, we will be presenting a new logo next season, enabling us to update the look of the brand without losing familiarity.  

Stay in touch throughout the year
Staying up-to-date not only involves the physical event; online contact is also constantly being developed. We maintain the Huishoudbeurs community throughout the year and continuously add new elements to deepen and broaden our (online) relationships. A great example is our Testers Club, which allows people to request free test products online and give reviews. This often comes with added benefits such as discounts or tickets to the event too, further strengthening the relationship between visitors, the Huishoudbeurs and participating brands. 

Learn from others
I am always on the lookout for new formats and find most of my inspiration from events that are nothing like exhibitions, such as the dance festival Tomorrowland, the Fashion Week and travelling theatre festival De Parade. Some time ago I had a positive and surprising experience at a book exhibition, which inspired me to develop the ‘Books & Coffee’ corner at the Huishoudbeurs. This will return in the upcoming edition, with a few changes made based on experiences to date.  

Leverage on visitor opinions
In the end, it is the visitors who determine whether we are performing up to par. This is why we carefully evaluate every edition. To increase the response to our questionnaires, we divide them up so that people are not faced with a long list of questions but do provide answers to the questions posed. It obviously helps that we have an extensive and engaged audience; the response rate is always high. 

We also use the opinions of our visitors in other ways, such as asking their view on two designs for a shopper we’ll be selling at the event via our platform. This increases the involvement of the participants as well as the commercial success of the shopper. 

Expand your target group
To attract new target groups to the Huishoudbeurs, we often welcome ‘satellite’ events to our venue. Pasar Malam, a festival focused on Asian and South American culture, is a good example. For next year, we are in talks with a beauty event for young girls. These types of initiatives encourage people who wouldn’t normally buy tickets to the Huishoudbeurs to visit us, often discovering that it’s much more fun than they initially expected.  

Challenge your exhibitors
We can’t do this alone. Our exhibitors are the beating heart of the Huishoudbeurs. The more surprising they are, the more our guests enjoy themselves. This is why we constantly meet with exhibitors to discuss new innovations and original concepts. We also organise joint promotions, such as scratch tickets which allow visitors to win prizes prior to the event. 

A large part of our audience returns year after year and they like to follow a fixed route. We also see many returning exhibitors who are attached to ‘their own’ spot. But truly, you’re doing no one a favour if you keep things the same all the time. The trick is to find the right balance between familiarity and surprise. This is why every year we have a new theme, renew certain elements and refresh our look & feel. But sometimes, after several years, you need to shake things up, throw all obvious elements out of the window, go back to the drawing board and make a fresh start.

We will be doing this next year by boosting the entire layout and feel of the event. I expect us to pleasantly surprise exhibitors and visitors alike. Like to know how it all turns out? Feel welcome to visit the Huishoudbeurs 2019, from 16 to 24 February 2019 in RAI Amsterdam.

Let us inspire you!
Are you an event organiser or considering participation in the Huishoudbeurs as an exhibitor? Please let me know so I can invite you personally to attend the next edition.

Nicole Babay

Nicole Babay

Domain manager WOMAN | LinkedIn | Huishoudbeurs | Negenmaandenbeurs | Day in the City | Concept | Innovation | Experience

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