RAI expansion plans bring hope to ISE remaining in Amsterdam
Integrated System Europe (ISE) MD Mike Blackman says he remains hopeful but cautious that the annual ISE tradeshow – the biggest of its kind on the planet –will remain in Amsterdam beyond 2020, after holding talks with the venues owners amid concerns over capacity.
The ‘RAI Amsterdam’ has played host to ISE since 2006. During this time, the show has experienced exponential growth, with the 2018 show attracting a record breaking 80,000 vistors – up 10 per cent year on year – and more than 1,200 exhibitors.
“We want to grow and we like Amsterdam. The industry likes Amsterdam, but at the end of the day, we need to satisfy our customers”
During ISE 2018, Blackman admitted to AVTE that the current agreement with the RAI runs for two more shows (ISE 2019, ISE 2020) and was considering his options as the projected growth for the show surpassed its current capacity.
Speaking this week in Beijing ahead of InfoComm China, Blackman revealed he has held discussions and looked at other potential venues in Europe to host ISE 2021 and beyond. However, he says he remains open minded about remaining in Amsterdam, after the RAI revealed its own proposed expansion plans.
“We want to grow and we like Amsterdam,” said Blackman. “The industry likes Amsterdam, but at the end of the day, we need to satisfy our customers.
“We are constantly talking to them [the RAI], having discussions with them trying to find out how we can increase capacity. The RAI has shown us an expansion plan and we’re working with them to see how that helps us at ISE.”
“Obviously we have our wishes and we know that the RAI wants to keep us. It’s just a case of finding a balance that matches everyone’s agenda”
February’s ISE event saw the number of halls increased from 14 to 15, with the RAI adding over 9,000M² of additional exhibition space by building a temporary pavilion situated just outside the main entrance.
The last permanent expansion at the RAI (excluding hotel and car park) was back in 2013 (completed in 2015), after adding the new Amtrium building (hall 4).
Best for both parties
Blackman continued: “The RAI is always looking to maintain business and satisfy existing customers, and it’s also always looking to attract new business. This is all part of the overall discussion.
“Obviously we have our wishes and we know that the RAI wants to keep us. It’s just a case of finding a balance that matches everyone’s agenda. We have more discussions going on at the moment. We know what works and it’s always difficult to change what works, so we always have to keep our options open.
“We are getting continuous growth. We’re lucky because we’re one of the few exhibitions across any industry, which is seeing continuous growth. We do our projections on where we think we can go and we’re very bullish about that. We see our projections for growth and we have to have that discussion with the RAI to see how we manage that.”