Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel (CEO, Eurovet Americas): "We are keen to revamp the trade-show template"
Busy on several fronts, Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel is both an observer of and a direct participant in the ongoing evolution of the trade show world. Since 2013 Hurstel leads the Americas division of show organiser Eurovet, producer of the CURVENEWYORK, CURVELASVEGAS and Interfilière New York trade shows, and in January 2016 he also took charge of digital projects for the entire Eurovet group. In this interview with FashionNetwork, Hurstel assesses the growth of the US shows he manages and the new, cross-group digital projects which will also impact other Eurovet events worldwide, among them Paris' SIL (the international lingerie show), Mode City and Interfilière.
FashionNetwork.com: You are in charge of Eurovet Americas since 2013; how far have you developed the show organiser's business in the USA?
Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel: We currently organise five trade shows per year in the USA: two editions of CURVENEWYORK, another two editions of CURVE on the West Coast with our partner UBM, and one edition of Interfilière in New York. Our main talking point this year is the tenth anniversary of CURVE, whose rights we purchased in 2012. We will celebrate the event with a gala dinner on 27th February, on the first evening of CURVENEWYORK. It will be the chance to bring together our most loyal brands, as well as international buyers, in a context with a typically American flavour, in aid of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
FNW: As for the show itself, which innovations are you introducing for this new edition?
PNH: First of all, we are introducing a 'fashion pass' system, linking up with all of UBM's New York shows, the best-known of which is of course Coterie. Our partnership in Las Vegas has opened the door to this 'co-badging' deal in New York. Our hope is to raise the number of visitors to CURVE, though we do not have a specific figure in mind. The 'fashion pass' will become even more useful next August, when [CURVE] will move to a new exhibition hall which will be next door and physically linked to the other shows, allowing a greater circulation of buyers.
The other tech innovation will be an app allowing us to track the number of visitors to each brand's booth. It is a new service, paid-for and obligatory, which we launched at the latest edition of SIL, and which will be extended to all Eurovet shows this year. It is an essential tool for exhibitors, allowing them to scan visitors as they enter the booth, and to access all of their details via the same app. This is much more than a simple business card, it provides a wealth of information on visitor profiles, giving real added value.
FNW: But is it both a paid-for AND obligatory service?
PNH: Of course, having to pay for this service upsets some of the exhibitors to begin with. But for a price of approximately $200, it is a real tool for commercial teams, allowing them to track more effectively the new visitors they meet. Our job will be to keep adding value to it!
FNW: In early 2016 you were appointed Eurovet's Head of Digital & Innovation, over and above your US duties; why was this new post created?
PNH: It is indeed a new position, which did not exist before, and it is not merely a symbolic one. We have also appointed two product managers to work on these projects. At Eurovet we are keen to revamp the trade-show template. We are testing new stuff, as we did at the Interfilière Hong Kong show, using mobile-operated, contactless connection tools; we are also extending the use of the app I mentioned to all our shows, and there will be a big statement coming up soon on this.
FNW: What do you mean?
PNH: We will announce new digital tools and new formats. Our idea is to extend the show experience, an expression which has been used before, true, but we really want to turn it into something tangible. Nowadays we are present all over the world and, in addition, we have a full vertical perspective on the lingerie and swimwear sectors, from sourcing to labels. We have a network at our disposal, and we must use it to connect people. We must let them benefit from this opportunity constantly, whether for free or as a paid service, and offer them new, relevant content. We will launch this initiative within the first six months of the year, it will be a truly new Eurovet brand.
FNW: How is the partnership with UBM for CURVELASVEGAS?
PNH: We are still associated with the Project trade show, but the format will change. We will no longer be located alongside Project, but right at the heart of it, from 21st to 23rd February. Our section will sit between activewear and resortwear, a logical position. We will emphasise our natural connection, yet adopt a slightly differentiated look, so that visitors will be able to walk in without noticing, but also realise they are somewhere different once they have reached us! The number of exhibitor brands is increasing, we have nearly 80 for this edition.
FNW: And finally, what can you tell us about Interfilière New York ?
PNH: We are busy preparing the fifth edition, scheduled on 27th-28th September; the show is beginning to be well-established. We have lengthened it to a day and a half, to be more focused on networking and conferences. This is the purpose of the pre-opening event on the show's eve, featuring the bulk of the conferences and ideal to encourage networking. At the same time we wish to remain selective, there will be about sixty exhibitors, the pick of what is available in the lingerie, swimwear and activewear sourcing sector.
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