European pest controllers converge on Stuttgart

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It was a series of firsts for organisers DSV, the German trade association. This was their first Pest-Protect exhibition and the first time their flagship event had been held at the International Congress Centre in Stuttgart over the two days of 2 and 3 March 2016.
So, it was a change of name, from Eurocido to Pest-Protect and a change of geographic location from Dortmund to Stuttgart. As human beings we are usually not that good at change, although often with change come opportunities. But also with change come teething problems as Pest-Protect were to discover!

Pest-Protect scores
Without doubt, Pest-Protect was a good event and worth attending. The exhibition space was sold out and with nearly 110 exhibitors this makes it the largest pest control exhibition to date held in Europe. Running alongside was a series of topical seminars – many reflecting the event theme – bed bugs.

But when asked if they liked the new set-up and location, exhibitors and delegates alike were mixed in their response. The large, airy exhibition hall was great -wide aisles, plenty of space and all under one roof. But large aisles require large numbers of delegates to fill them to make the place look busy. Whilst there were times the hall looked packed, there were other moments when visitors were somewhat sparse. But again this is a double-edged sword. If stands are packed, exhibitor staff don’t manage to speak to all their visitors, whereas when quieter, proper, meaningful conversations can be held with visitors.

Quality emphasised at opening ceremony

Opening the event, CEPA vice president and managing director of Nottingham-based Conquer Pest Control, Henry Mott took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of quality. He encouraged exhibitors and pest controllers to get behind the CEPA CEN standard which seeks to raise the quality of pest control services across Europe. “The standard is about quality at every level – quality of the workforce, of application equipment, of uniforms, vehicles, bait boxes, chemicals… Exhibitors if you are here to sell quality then embrace the standard it will benefit your business as well as your customers’ businesses.”

Speaking to exhibition organiser Andreas Beckmann, CEO of Deutscher Schá¤dlingsbeká¤mpfer-Verband (DSV), he reported that pre-event delegate registrations were 30% higher than for the previous Eurocido event with 1,012 registered by Monday evening.

Maybe this was just a shift of people registering in advance. But come the day they were in for a shock, as even those who had pre-registered had anything up to an hour to wait in a long queue to have their registration and delegate badge validated. Not good. The cause of this was a breakdown in the computer registration software.

Queuing to get in proved to be good practice for queuing for refreshments from the one and only obvious cafe. A wait of 30 minutes at busy times was on the cards and then when finally at the counter, the range of refreshments was pretty limited, especially if you were not a fan of German sausage accompanied by large quantities of chips!

Pest Prot General Exhib

 Everyone liked the light and spacious venue

Pest Prot Outside
There was a warm welcome for delegates as they arrived

Pest Prot Que
 but unfortunately a long queue to register

Pest Prot Henry And Andreas
At the opening ceremony CEPA vice president, Henry Mott (left) stressed the importance of quality whilst event organiser, Andreas Beckmann from DSV said how pleased they were with the number of exhibitors and visitors

As a delegate from the UK you can’t help but be amazed that visitors are prepared to pay to get into the exhibition and supporting seminars. And not just a token amount – Euros 49 (£38) in advance or Euros 59 (£46) on the door. In the UK and many other European countries, we are truly spoilt with our free of charge events.

Excellent location for international delegates
Commenting on the geographic split of the German delegates, Andreas said a greater number were, as to be expected, from the south or eastern parts of Germany. On the other side of the coin, Dortmund, the previous venue, is more centrally located and surrounded by large urban areas of population with plenty of pest controllers located nearby and easily able to travel to the venue by car.

Unlike Dortmund, Stuttgart has a fully-fledged international airport, so for regional or international visitors flying in was considerably easier.

And another factor to consider was the noticeably larger number of international visitors, from the likes of nearby Austria and Switzerland, as well as from France and Italy.

More international visitors are good for the exhibitors, but this is a German event organised by the German trade association, aimed at German visitors so it could be seen as either a plus or a minus, depending on your point of view.

Pest Prot Italy
There was a good contigent from Italy. Left to right: Sergio Urizio, Vincenzo and Francesco Colamartino

Seminars as popular as ever
The seminar programme was good, with several presentations addressing the threat from bed bugs, under the theme of Breakfast in bed. But, once again, as at the last Eurocido where a fight nearly broke out amongst those unable to get into the seminar room, the room proved too small for the numbers wishing to attend the most popular talks. Delegates either sat on the floor, or used headsets and listened standing in the corridor outside. And this was despite an increase of 20% in the seating capacity compared to the previous event.

So – some good and some bad. But overall certainly worth the effort to attend. As to the future it is too early to say. Giving Andreas the final word: “We haven’t even fixed a date yet for another event. We’ll weigh up the opinions and then it will be a democratic process deciding what next.”

Pest Prot Audience For Web

Most of the seminar sessions were well supported…

 Pest Prorect Sitting Audience For Web
For the very popular ones, the floor was the only option
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