Where did the idea of the Box Street Market come from? What were the biggest challenges to overcome?
The Box Street Market attracted a record attendance of 10,279 visitors and over 60 exhibitors at the end of August. Not only was it the first event of its kind, but also the first event to be held at Luxexpo The Box since the lockdown. Consequently, it was important to us demonstrate how we can bring people back together in comfort while complying with the latest health and safety regulations.
In order to do so, we sat down with our partners and clients to discuss the best ways to do it. Given the coronavirus-related restrictions at the time, an open-air event concept appeared to be a reasonable solution. It was certainly a great challenge to turn the uppermost level of our car park into a safe and spacious rooftop event within just five weeks from conception to execution. Nevertheless, with the help of our stakeholders supporting us all along the way, we managed to overcome the obstacles and deliver an outstanding event experience that many people were waiting for. And we certainly did not expect such exemplary behaviour from our visitors but were pleasantly surprised by it. In keeping with the rules, they made our lives a lot easier!
Is there anything you learned during this event that can be applied to association conferences?
It’s nothing new, but we realised once more that face-to-face, live events absolutely matter! Despite having to wear a mask and respect the rules, there is nothing more important to people than meeting each other in person. During the lockdown, digital platforms gave us comfort, but nothing can replace the value and the experience of physical events. Associations aim to bring their members together to enable social interaction and knowledge exchange.
These live events help professionals progress and build long-lasting business relationships, something you simply will not get to the same extent from a virtual event. Associations want to create memorable experiences, and let’s be honest, the fondest memories are not made in front of a screen!
What would you say to association planners or delegates who are worried about meeting again in person?
Everything depends on the flawless organization of a multi-talented team. We can reassure you that it is possible to plan a large-scale event with a clear conscience. However, given the current circumstances, it can be done in a meticulous way only by adhering to the rules at all times. Leading industry associations such as ICCA or UFI have shown us how the situation can be handled responsibly by implementing extensive health and safety measures.
As an event organizer we are used to working in an ever-evolving environment, consequently it is our responsibility to react as swiftly and constructively as possible to the most recent occurrences in order to continue to welcome large numbers of visitors in comfort and safety. A very important piece of advice is to ensure that the organizers have enough trained personnel on site to guarantee the smooth running of the event.
The trend seems to be towards hybrid meetings. Do you offer solutions for these?
Moving forward, more and more face-to-face events will have a virtual component. At Luxexpo The Box, we combine outstanding design with virtual event technology to create a unique and inclusive setting for all attendees, whether they are live on site or following a part of the event from home. In this context, we have worked with a renowned partner to develop two entirely new spaces for future hybrid and COVID-free events that will enhance the overall user experience. To enable this high level of engagement and connectivity at our hybrid events, it is vital to have an exceptional WIFI connection in place, which is why we have invested in the newest generation of WIFI, Wi-Fi 6, allowing thousands of visitors to access our network at the same time. We are proud to be one of the first venues in Europe with this high-speed Internet.