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LEARNING CURVEIssue 2 | 2012 www.24exhibition-world.netand those with heavy exhibition goods (examples: Madrid, Milano, Munich).Phase 2 - Planning room typesTo conduct exhibitions and congresses, a variety of room types is necessary. A typical but non-exhaustive list of spaces serving visitors or exhibitors includes bag storage, toilets and catering facilities, registration and ticketing areas, meeting rooms with different sizes, back-offi ce functions like kitchen, storage and staff rooms as well as rooms for technical equipment. All of these have to be defi ned and listed with numbers, size and location. Based on this listing, the total space for the venue, divided into the areas 'exhibition/congress', 'services' and 'back-offi ce/technical' is determined. A sophisticated planning process can optimise the use of space and result in signifi cant reductions in investment costs. We have experienced variances in costs of up to 15 per cent when applying optimal planning processes. Phase 3 - Functional specifi cationIn this phase, a detailed specifi cation for each identifi ed room type needs to be defi ned. All technical installations and design levels have to be determined. This phase has a major impact on the budget. We often see identical designs for different kinds of rooms. It begs the question: Why should a room with no customer access have the same expensive design applied to an organiser's offi ce? On the other hand, various purpose-built technical rooms require varying special functionalities. For example, rooms destined to contain high-density IT equipment will need high cooling capacity, otherwise expensive subsequent facility upgrades will become necessary. Advanced planning of functional specifi cations will avoid mistakes and reduce total investment costs.Phase 4 - Time schedule and budgetThe fi nal step covers scheduling and budget planning. Realistic timing of the planning and construction phase is very important. A venue owner/manager must avoid opening a show while construction is still ongoing. The fi rst show will of course be subject to critical observation by future customers and other critical stakeholders, so a smooth opening is very important. This is not just about the building, but includes the operations and services. They have to be planned and implemented long before the opening date. The marketing and acquisition phase should start long before the venue opens and has to be prepared well in advance.For a new venue, a planning and construction period of four years including all above described phases is realistic.The budget planning covers much more than the construction costs. Often the budgets for marketing and acquisition, the planning of operations and services and the start-up will be underestimated or even neglected altogether. A quarterly and eventually monthly update of all budgets is recommended. Get experts involved from the outsetThe output from these four phases feeds into the work of the architects, project managers and engineers to develop an attractive and functional venue. In our experience, many of these detailed recommendations will be challenged by planning teams or architects. This dialogue will help investors, management and planning teams to understand the logic and processes of the trade fair industry and develop a best-in-class venue. To ensure customer needs and ROI are optimised, trade fair experts should be involved when it comes to the upgrade, extension or construction of a trade fair or congress venue. Use experts to conduct regular due diligence assessments of venues to check their effi ciency, compatibility with future customer needs and compliance with safety standards, and you could deliver the world's most desirable exhibition venue. Above topMesse Frankfurt's new Kap Europa congress centre (2014)AboveThe Cape Town International Convention Centre's (CTICC) proposed 'Convention City' (2015)Previous pageArtist's impression of the Parc des Expositions de Toulouse (2015)

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