Interview with Alex Walton, Business Development Manager at Kuehne+Nagel

Name: Alex Walton

Company: Kuehne+Nagel

Job Title: Business Development Manager, Expo & Events

What is your role in helping exhibitors to showcase their products & services successfully?
We work directly with exhibitors and their contractors to take away the stress of logistics, leaving them time to focus on the services they are providing to clients, organisers etc. The world of event logistics isn’t simple so we’re flexible to meet our clients’ demanding deadlines.

How do you manage the expectation of the time critical nature of our industry?
The key is in the planning and preparation. It helps that we have a team of dedicated colleagues with years of industry knowledge who can offer round the clock support. At Kuehne+Nagel, we also have a trusted, multi-modal network available to meet the challenges of the industry.

What does your typical customer look like?
Anything from the CEO of a major blue chip company to a junior project manager entering the business for the first time; we don’t have a ‘typical customer’.

Which worldwide exhibition venues do you prefer to operate at?
Due to our global network of 32 exhibition offices, it’s hard to pinpoint only one. From a logistics perspective, one of our official German Messe venues (i.e. Dusseldorf, Hannover) are always dependable due to their efficient traffic management systems and helpful local teams.

Where do you think the exhibition industry will be in 5 years?
Fully recovered from COVID-19 and bigger and better than it’s ever been before! Covid 19 has without doubt had a profound impact on our business however, we hope this will reaffirm to exhibitors the importance of its role within industry.

How international is the exhibition industry becoming?
Extremely and the UK has an important role. The UK stake in the global market is increasing dramatically and as a result we’re seeing more British exhibitors and contractors working overseas.

What is driving this internationalisation?
UK contractors have a very high standard of work and an excellent industry reputation. We also foresee Brexit have a big impact. New international trade agreements could result in more internationally trade lanes being established impacting on where organisers, exhibitors and their suppliers operate

Do exhibitions get the status they deserve versus other marketing channels?
Exhibitions are seen as a premium marketing channel giving them a targeted audience. As a logistics supplier it’s difficult for us to gauge but the impression we have is that return on investment has the best potential when the product or service is being showcased at exhibitions.

What’s the best exhibition stand or event you’ve seen in the last year?
We operate globally so that’s a really tough question! An impressive show that always sticks out is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s a show replicated by its audience and the technologically advanced exhibition stands certainly reflect this. It certainly left a big hole this year and it’ll come back with a vengeance in 2021!

If you could change one thing about the world of exhibitions what would it be?
Crates in gangways! We wouldn’t being doing our logistics industry justice without mentioning gangways not being clear for our lovely forklifts. More consideration on some breakdown tenancy periods and enforcement of safer working practises are also areas we would like to see more focus on.

Does stand size matter?
Yes, if you ask my other half! Seriously, no, it doesn’t. A small pop up banner to support a 3m x 3m booth or a multi-million £ triple decker stand, both are just as important to the exhibitor. Need to deliver on time, on budget and have the desired impact.