Middle East and Russia call, HostMilano replies
Buyers from the Middle East (one of the target areas of the fortieth edition) and Russia, two markets with a particular interest in luxury and high-end products, also found plenty to boost (and indeed gild) their business, as two professionals who came to Milan for the International Hospitality Exhibition explained.
One veteran attendee who always looks forward to the event is Srinivas Gopalan, CEO of ASG Foodservice Solutions, a Dubai-based company that operates in catering consultancy, laundering and cold storage. “HostMilano is one of the biggest sector fairs in the world, and the majority of big firms exhibit their products at it, so we were really keen to meet the main manufacturers involved in the hospitality sector. And we did indeed succeed in meeting all the firms. I have been coming to HostMilano since 1985 and have noticed how the event has grown over the years and how it has for example become more interactive, with everyone connected up to everyone else as technology has come to play a more prominent role in our sector. And I notice that everyone seems to love coming here and taking part in the fair.”
What are visitors to Host looking for? “It’s an opportunity to learn: here they can not only see new products, but also actually try them out. A lot of information is provided by the stands, so this hands-on, practical experience is extremely worthwhile.”
Will you be back for the next edition? “You bet! The firm is mine and I certainly intend to keep coming back every two years.”
“We came here because it is the biggest, most important fair in the world,” explains Evgeny Prokhoron of Shokoladnistsa, one of the most important café chains in Russia after Kentucky Fried Chicken, “and extending our supplier base is of vital importance to our business, as is picking up on new trends and establishing contacts around the whole world.”
Did you find what you were looking for? “I did indeed. I discovered some interesting trends and made contact with various firms I am sure I will be working with in the future. These were exactly the kind of firms I was after, and I found them here.”
What were the most interesting things that you saw at Host? “I discovered that the main trend for manufacturers of machinery for our sector is creating personalised, artistic products different from those found in most establishments. We saw some truly remarkable things that we are thinking of adding to our cafeterias. As I am quite familiar with the sector I found many names I already knew about, but I also came across some firms that were new to me, and this is a chance to make our firm more innovative and forward looking. As a visitor I found everything I wanted, and some of the firms we came into contact with don’t work in Russia yet, so we are now in a position to be the company that gets them into the country.”