An Interview with Michael Debaveye CEO & Vincent Lievens COO of Creaplan.
Creaplan are celebrating two awards at World Exhibition Stand Resilience Awards. Platinum for Best New Product Development for their covid safety solutions in the Health Display Range and Silver for Best Company / Staff Support Plan.
What does it mean to you to be a 2021 Winner in the World Exhibition Stand Resilience Awards?
“Creaplan is beyond grateful to have received two awards. It’s a welcome recognition of our team’s extraordinary efforts during the past year. It was hard work under difficult circumstances, so to receive an international recognition like the Resilience Award is gratifying. Evidently, what is most important is that our customers are satisfied with our products and service, but it is nice to know that our work is noticed in an international market as well. It’s a confirmation that continuing to innovate and to try and dare new things can be rewarding, especially in challenging times.” Michael Debaveye, CEO Creaplan
What changes have you implemented during Covid-19?
“Most importantly, we focussed on improving and expanding our product offering. First we created our Safety solutions – that have been rewarded with 2 Resilience awards – to help our customers make their workplaces Covid-proof. Afterwards we boosted our interior solutions offering, developing it into a fully-fledged business unit, which was originally a five-year plan.
We also accelerated the digitalisation of our offering by acquiring businesses with a strong expertise in digital and hybrid events so we can offer an even broader service in the future, such as unique online streaming events with the quality of a top-level television broadcast.
In the background we optimised our internal processes, measuring more data and fine-tuning the standard operating procedures for the creation of our stands, interiors and more.” Vincent Lievens, COO Creaplan
What changes do you expect to introduce or are currently introducing in stand design and experience as the events industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic?
“We believe that infrastructure that allows businesses to work safely and efficiently during and after the pandemic, such as our Safety solutions, are here to stay. Qualitative disinfection dispensers, temperature checkpoint gates, partition walls, audiovisual solutions to facilitate remote meeting and so on will be present the coming years, both in the event industry as well as in offices, retail, hospitality and more.
With that, we predict that the importance of remote meeting and online or hybrid events will increase. That’s why we are constantly coming up with more ways to integrate technology and interactivity into our stand designs. We believe it’s an essential part of the experiential marketing mix, while being very convenient at the same time.” Vincent Lievens, COO Creaplan
What are you most looking forward to about events returning?
“Both our clients and ourselves are very eager to get out there again, not only in a business setting, but in general. We’re looking forward to meet each other in real life again, as face-to-face meetings often simply work better. The reopening of events will not only have a positive impact on global economies, we believe they can further fuel innovation in all sorts of sectors. The hustle and bustle at a trade show, the enthusiasm at a stand, the chatting about new concepts or products we discovered at a fair … Our customers and we look forward to that.”
Michael Debaveye, CEO Creaplan
What does the trade show stand of the future look like?
“The stand of the future will have even more integrated technology into the overall experience, to make an even bigger impact and to create added value. After all, the immersive experience is the reason you go to a trade fair. It’s what makes the difference compared to discovering a product or brand online, for example.
In addition, stands will become increasingly modular and circular, with sustainability as the goal. Most of our stands were already modular, but we see this way of working gaining even more popularity, outside of stand building as well – without compromising on quality and finishing, that is. Premium design and modular stand construction complement each other perfectly.
Thirdly, the booth of the future will be hybrid. Brand experience happens partly on site, partly online. Let’s say you’re organising a product launch at your stand with 200 VIPs present, but you can stream that event live so that 2,000 people can follow from home. The concept of hybrid events is still quite new, but we are anticipating the growth in popularity by including hybrid services in our product range.
We also see the importance and appeal of local, smaller events increase. Local congresses or brand events on site might become the more popular option when you’re looking to host an event for your closest customers and partners.”
Michael Debaveye, CEO Creaplan