10 Tips to help you enjoy your 2015 visit to ISH
Knowing what’s going on around you is important in any business and the plumbing game is no exception.
There is one international event that takes place in Germany every alternate year and if time and budget allows you really should make the effort to attend – it really is the absolute show stopper in terms of industry exhibitions.
Believe me, in terms of exhibitions, there is nothing of similar proportion or importance in the US, UK, Europe or elsewhere that will bring you face to face with so many new ideas and technologies. I am of course talking about ISH (it stands for International Sanitation & Heating) which takes place again in Frankfurt Germany from 10-14 March 2015.
As I’ve told you on a number of occasions, the enormity of this event will blow your mind.
It runs for 5 days (Tuesday to Saturday) and you can expect to share the experience with more than 200,000 plumbers, consultants, suppliers and merchants from the plumbing/heating trade the world over.
Don’t be frightened by those numbers though, the Frankfurt Fairgrounds are enormous and the daily crowds of ~50,000 are scattered among a number of multi-level buildings. And in typical German precision, everything works with minimum fuss.
Turning up to ISH for the first time can be daunting, especially on your own, so along with some regular attendees from Australia; I’ve compiled a few ‘smarts’ that might ease you into the experience.
01 Get yourself organised (before you go)
You can’t just decide a week before it starts to make a quick exit and attend – if you do, you’ll likely pay through the nose and be inconvenienced.
You know the rule: the sooner you book, the more choice of carriers and lower the cost. Your flight into Frankfurt will land you about a 10 minute train ride away from the fairgrounds/city centre. Best you get in the day before to accustom yourself with the region and climate.
Talking of climate, don’t be surprised if it is snowing on the tarmac upon your arrival. With that in mind, take a thick jacket for the odd times you won’t be indoors. Other than a few outside displays, the venue is nicely heated.
This is the tricky one. The hotels within a ~10 kilometre radius of the event lift their rates to extraordinary levels, something like 3x over – so $500-$750 a night won’t buy you all that much (unless you are on the corporate credit card). My suggestion is that you take a 30-40 minute train ride or cab to one of the outer towns like Wiesbaden, Mainz or Hanau where the hotel rates are much less and you get to experience more of the German daily life. Jump on Google or have a chat to a travel consultant to work out the most ideal location.
05 Getting to the Fair:
The public transport infrastructure around Frankfurt is excellent. There is a platform under the fairgrounds or if you come in from further out, the main train station is not far away and you can catch a tram-car right out front which drops you at the fairgrounds. Or if it is not snowing, it’s a pleasant brisk walk.
06 Paying to get in:
An entry ticket to ISH will cost you around $70, depending on the currency exchange at the time. That will get you in for all event days. You can order that online at the events website www.ish.messefrankfurt.com. The ticket also includes free local public transport which is detailed on the ISH website, as well as a host of other useful information.
07 Plan your days:
On the ISH website you’ll find a map of all the multi-storey buildings and levels which highlights the main products displayed in each area. They separate the piping systems from the sanitation goods; there’s a floor or two of tools and if you are into valves or the like you can while-away the hours in that area. Some of the heating product is not that relevant to Australia but it is interesting all the same.
08 Note where a certain stand is:
One of the difficulties is saying to yourself, “I must come back and look at that,” the only trouble is, you often forget. So ensure you note the stand number as it is not difficult to get overwhelmed by the immense number of exhibitors (~2,300) and after a day or two, the aisles can start to look the same. Virtually all stands will have someone who can explain their products to you in English.
Most exhibitors still have masses of print materials for you to take away, though you can also get emailed copies.
Lugging an armful of brochures can weigh you down, so taking a wheeled-bag is a smart idea. If you are going onto other activities before returning home, you might like to post home your brochure materials – you’ll find there is a fully equipped Post Office within the fairgrounds.
10 Have a good time!
While you are taking ‘one for the team’ by attending ISH, don’t forget to have a bit of fun, though I warn you that your legs can get fairly tired after 2-3 days of wandering the floor. A healthy solution can be a few glasses of their delightful local pilsener which will refresh you and other than the sauerkraut (which I’m not a fan of), the food is pretty good. If you can meet a few other Aussies and take in a tasty pork knuckle meal somewhere along the streets of Sachsenhausen, it will make your day. Prost!
For more information, please visit: www.ish.messefrankfurt.com