Vision 2020 and the future of OutDoor

As has been previously publicised, the European Outdoor Group (EOG) has been undertaking a comprehensive review of the OutDoor trade show for the last 18 months.

The ‘Vision 2020’ (V2020) project has been led by an independent working group of experts.  At the EOG’s Summer Meeting on Saturday 17 June, the V2020 team delivered its final report and recommendations, which were accepted by the association’s membership.

The core focus of the V2020 project was to establish the future direction for Europe’s pre-eminent trade show that is dedicated to the outdoor sector.  The review set out to understand what is required of OutDoor in the long term, in the context of an industry that, like many others, is experiencing sustained, significant change.  The working group undertook extensive research, through a combination of online surveys and face to face interviews with brands, other exhibitors and retailers, and meetings with trade show organisers and other stakeholders.  The research gauged the opinions of hundreds of stakeholders from throughout Europe and the results have directly informed the content of the final report.

The wide-ranging project looked at all aspects of what the sector needs from OutDoor.  From the start, it was clear in the initial feedback from consultees that the definition of what a trade show does had to be challenged.  In the broadest sense, OutDoor is Europe’s most important business facilitation platform for the outdoor industry, adding value and helping to grow the sector on a global scale.   The traditional role of OutDoor has been as an event for the placing of orders from brands by retailers, but feedback during the research identified that this now happens to a much lower degree than in the past.  The V2020 report also considered wider topics, such as the changing definition of ‘outdoor’ and how that will impact the sector and its trade show platform in the future.

The core trade show functions will remain key components of OutDoor in the future, but the way that they are delivered, and other aspects of the show’s format, will change.  The EOG’s task now is to complete this comprehensive review and this will involve both current partners and other trade fair venues.   The association aims to finalise its plans in the early part of 2018.

John Jansen, EOG President, comments: “The future of OutDoor is one of the biggest issues that the EOG has been addressing during recent years.  We are proud of the successful, vibrant show that we have now.  However, it is essential that we look to the future and if OutDoor is going to thrive and add value in the long-term, it must not only reflect business and societal changes that are happening now, but also be able to adapt as more changes inevitably occur.  With the backing of our membership and following comprehensive consultation with hundreds of stakeholders throughout Europe, the Vision 2020 working group has compiled an excellent, evidence-based report, which will guide our next steps with OutDoor.

“We will develop the annual show so that it sustains its position as the pre-eminent European summer event for our sector.  More than that, our aim is for the OutDoor brand to be a focus point for thought leadership in our industry throughout the year, every year.  On one hand it will adapt to reflect wider changes that occur, while on the other, OutDoor will be a proactive and dynamic channel for launching new and innovative ideas, helping to steer the European outdoor sector into ongoing, sustainable prosperity in a global context.”