Mathieu Van Marcke recently took over as head of Realty. He tells us of what he has in mind for the real estate show.
You are the new head of Realty – what changes do you plan?
We have decided that for 2018 the main focus will be to increase the quality of the fair. We’ve been growing strongly in terms of visitors, but we realise that we have to ensure the high quality of the experience for visitors and exhibitors. We have therefore set up an advisory board with some high level people, and we are asking ourselves if we are in the right place at the right time, the whole formula. The first decision was to shorten the show to two full days, rather than the previous formula which was with half days, tending to leave some periods unfrequented. The market has responded very positively to this. We also realise that we have to keep people longer at Realty – not have them leaving all the time to go to peripheral events organised by companies which may not be participating. It had been a show where people tend to come after work, have a glass or two of wine and then leave. We want people to spend a couple of days at the show, spend more time at the many conferences and educate themselves about the latest trends and evolution in real estate, like they do at Mipim and others. Thirdly, we also want to attract more key decision makers from the investors and developers side, together with major public authorities.
Could Realty grow so much that it will need to move to another venue?
We simply have to ask ourselves the question about which formula is best to increase the quality of Realty for everybody. We want to add value for and attract everybody – visitors, investors… not just service providers, which are just one part of the chain.
Will you add new real estate sectors to the package?
Our first focus is to increase the proportion of technology and digitalization and we are talking to people who can organize all this. A second avenue is co-working, and we are establishing a partnership in this area, to establish a pavilion for this. We are also thinking about the healthcare segment, though this is not for the immediate future. We have good relationships with the BLCSC where shopping centres are concerned, but at the moment we are not planning a specific ‘retail’ section. But there will be a short conference with
There will also be the mayor's debate organised with UPSI/BVS where we will invite the mayors of the main cities in Belgium to discuss and share on the role of real estate in the development of their cities.
So you are working towards partnerships…
Yes, today the business model is that you are either an exhibitor or a visitor, and we believe there is room in creating partnerships with companies in specific areas – innovation for example. Structural partners who can take the lead in certain areas.