Fair goers are accustomed to premium-priced hotels, booked to capacity. Want a hotel room in Basel during the Fair this year? Try it, and get it... as there are so many cancellations.
The fair is a important event, not only for buyers and sellers of luxury goods, but for hotels, restaurants and the many taxi drivers accustomed to a week of bustling business…but not this year. The local economy is suffering.
Fair Reception Windows are staffed, waiting for visitors... no waiting time... Halls, corridors and the booths are empty. Want to have a quiet chat and coffee with the exhibitors? Sure, anytime, they are idle... nothing going. Maybe a bit of exaggeration is included in comments I got such as "ghost town" and "catastrophic" and "a flop" and "nothing going" and "you can hear a penny drop". The show ends in a few short days, can anything turn it around?
Major contributors to last year's success were definitely the Russian and the East European emerging markets... were it not for those, last year would not have been that good, everybody knows. Well, this year, these guys are missing... Buyers from medium to large chain stores in Europe number less and have a very tight budget. These guys are being watched by their head quarters and were told to "better make no mistakes, we have no more room for errors"... the motto is clear: just buy for now, not for tomorrow, there will be plenty of goods anytime, anywhere... and probably at lower prices in future.
The news is obviously out that more and more pearls are flowing in, whilst they are not flowing out... the bucket is overflowing... yeah, the news is not good at all!!! And it seems one of the topics of the idle exhibitors who have ample time to chat, is who will exhibit next year, who will cancel? A shake-out? The expenses and efforts are in no relation to sales/profit... what profit(?).... Probably for all exhibitors, impossible to cover (even part of) costs. Can do it once, can do it maybe twice (?)…we better see a rebound soon... but it will not be soon... guys, we'll be in the dungeon for quite some time, and probably the last industry to recover from this global recession!