After a two-year hiatus, spoga+gafa 2022 will return as an in-person event at the Koelnmesse event center in Cologne, Germany. spoga+gafa, the world’s largest garden lifestyle trade fair, brings garden enthusiasts and the top players of the global green industry together to discover new products, learn about latest trends and take advantage of networking opportunities.
Stefan Lohrberg, director of spoga+gafa, says meeting together is an essential part of doing business, and it was important to the organization to provide an in-person event this year.
“Trade fairs allow for chance encounters to happen, and they play an important role in the acquisition of new customers,” he says. “Both manufacturers and retail representatives tell us that while business with existing customers was more strenuous but still possible during the past two years, it was hard to grow their customer base without trade fairs happening.”
One of the goals of spoga+gafa is to connect attendees with buyers, global players, industry experts and top decision-makers from all over the world, so this year the event will be supplemented for the first time by a digital component.
The virtual element of spoga+gafa will increase the vendors’ reach to potential customers, expand networking opportunities for all attendees and provide an alternative to those who want to experience the trade fair but don’t feel comfortable traveling and attending in person.
The date for spoga+gafa is also new this year, moved from early fall to June to better serve the purchasing needs of attendees.
“We have seen the ordering behavior change in most of our relevant branches over the past years,” Lohrberg says. “With spoga+gafa now taking place in mid-June, we are meeting our exhibitors’ and visitors’ demands for a strong marketplace in line with their purchasing needs during the year.”
“Sustainable Gardens” is this year’s theme, and it will play a prominent part in all areas of the trade show. The theme also fits the current trend of consumers wanting more eco-friendly options in all areas of their lives.
The trade fair attracts nearly 35,000 visitors and occupies over 2 million square feet of space in 14 halls. To help visitors navigate the show, spoga+gafa offers an app with exhibitor and product search functions, interactive map, note features to share favorite products and a chat function to network with other attendees. Visitors can also take the 45-minute guided tour to get the most out of the trade fair.
Attendees have the opportunity to attend lectures and keynotes that discuss the global challenges regarding supply chains and natural resources. They can also stroll the spoga+gafa Boulevard of Ideas to check out the latest trends in gardening, landscaping, barbecue and outdoor living products.
“Since spoga+gafa is taking place earlier in the year, we expect to see even more product innovations, including barbecue, toys, decoration and garden furniture,” Lohrberg says. “The quest for more sustainability massively triggers product innovation, as customers across the globe are asking specifically for sustainable products at the point-of-sale. You will see a lot of those innovations at spoga+gafa.”
While at the Show
Several segments of spoga+gafa will be back again this year, including attendee favorites like Garden Living, Garden Unique and Garden Creation and Care, all of which director Stefan Lohrberg says could be stand-alone events on their own.
“In some areas we have even surpassed pre-COVID-19 booking levels because of strong participation from the U.S., Canada and the ASEAN region,” Lohrberg says. The show is expected to take place in 14 halls and will offer over 2 million square feet of show floor for visitors to browse.
Staying Safe at spoga+gafa
German trade fair organizers, hotels, restaurants, bars and taxi services follow strict health and safety procedures. While the exact precautions and guidelines will be determined further down the road based on the circumstances in June, Lohrberg says all attendees can expect safe conditions when they attend spoga+gafa this summer.
“According to the requirements of the Corona Protection Ordinance, and in close coordination with the authorities, we have developed and put into effect a wide array of measures that ensure professional safety at the highest level,” he says.
Loving the Outdoors
Learn more about low-maintenance and sustainable lawn and garden options here.
Lead image courtesy of Koelnmesse.