A new vision for Vinexpo

Vinexpo's current CEO Rodolphe Lameyse talks to the IWSR about his vision for Vinexpo Paris and beyond

 

Six months on from the appointment of new CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, the signs are that a change of approach maybe yielding dividends for International Wines and Spirits Exhibitions operator Vinexpo. October’s Vinexpo Shanghai has sold out, while additional floor space has had to be opened up to accommodate the extra demand for next year’s event, Vinexpo Paris.

Vinexpo events had continued to be red letter dates in the Wines & spirits industry calendar but in recent times increased competition has prompted a loss of some of their sparkle. In order to meet the challenges it faced, Vinexpo’s Board opted not to appoint an industry insider to the CEO role but somebody with a rich pedigree in the world of conferencing and exhibitions. As a result, Lameyse has been able to view the business’s operations from an alternative angle.

The company was not entirely new to Lameyse, while in Asia he had actually worked with Vinexpo as a supplier, so he knew, understood and liked the brand. Years later, the chance to work with the brand had a lot of appeal and restoring the company to growth and profitability has provided Lameyse with an opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities. There was also the added bonus of returning to his French roots and the chance to enjoy the benefits of living in Bordeaux.

Lameyse has ambitions for Vinexpo to expand globally and has a blueprint to do just that. The plan is to continue to build up a presence in Asia through the consolidation of the show in Hong Kong and the development of the Shanghai event, which has enjoyed such a positive response from the industry. The company will be working with their US partner to raise Vinexpo’s profile there, while in Europe the debut exhibition in Paris will be central to the company’s European growth aspirations.

Lameyse is very excited by the ‘first edition’ of Vinexpo Paris. He believes that Paris is ideally positioned on the European stage to be “the number one destination for a wines and spirits event” and with the help of partner Wine Paris, promises an unrivalled number of products and producers, not just from regions in France but from far and wide. Lameyse says Paris will be very much a global gathering of the wines and spirits community.

Paris is ideally positioned on the European stage to be the number one destination for a wines and spirits event

Vinexpo’s expansion will not just be geographical and Lameyse has identified the potential to increase the contribution of the spirits sector to the business. To date, spirits account for just 10% of revenues and you can expect a drive to increase this. Two tactics will be utilised to help achieve this, firstly, the ‘Be Spirits’ concept, an area of the show dedicated to the sector, will be introduced in Paris and rolled out to future International events. Secondly, Vinexpo are in talks with a number of producer regions to widen the popular Vinexpo Explorer model to include spirit producers.

Vinexpo Explorer has proved a successful medium for producer regions to showcase their products to handpicked groups of seventy or eighty influential industry buyers. Explorer helps to continue the conversation after events and Exhibitions and this is an important theme for Lameyse, who plans to harness the digital environment to encourage ongoing dialogue between producers and buyers outside of the Exhibition arena.

A number of media platforms will be utilised to continually bring together producers and buyers, to promote products and people, to improve content and to facilitate a premium level of networking for professionals in the wines and spirits industry. Lameyse does not want to Vinexpo to be judged just on the size of their events and exhibitions, but to be seen as the ‘go to’ on and offline venue to promote and market wines and spirits brands. “If you want to promote your winery in Asia or to advance the visibility of your brand in the US, I want you to choose the Global Vinexpo brand as the vehicle for you to realise that goal”.

Lameyse does not want to Vinexpo to be judged just on the size of their events and exhibitions, but to be seen as the ‘go to’ venue to promote and market wines and spirits brands

Although the optimising of the digital platforms will play an important role in the future strategy, so too will be the reshaping of the Exhibition experience. The relaunch of Vinexpo Bordeaux will provide more evidence of Lameyse’s vision. “If you want to bring back interest to a show that has lost its momentum, you need to make the opportunities more obvious. You have to be absolutely disruptive and I promise that the concept of the show will be absolutely disruptive”.

Lameyse enthusiasm is tangible and he plans to bring back the exhilaration and the buzz that were a hallmark of the shows and to bring a new type of excitement to Bordeaux. The night life, the gala dinners, the activities and the all-round experience will be sculpted to ensure that producers and buyers alike “enjoy working with Vinexpo”.

It is early days for Lameyse and he recognises that his performance will be measured after he has executed his vision, however the early indicators are encouraging for him, his team at Vinexpo, and stakeholders in the wines and spirits world.

 

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