Beurs Eigen Huis: ten years of success

From 9,000 visitors in one edition in 2009 to expected 53,000 visitors in two editions in 2019.

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With 19 editions of Beurs Eigen Huis, Expo Communications has introduced a proven concept to the market. How has the trade fair responded to consumers’ housing needs in recent years, to continue to surprise and delight them? The owners of Expo Communications, Maarten Dop and Ronald Holman, explain their success.

Let’s go back to 2009: how did the Beurs Eigen Huis come to be?

“In 2008 we introduced the Nationale Gezondheidsbeurs (‘National Health Expo’). It gave us a taste for success and Ronald and I started looking for a new concept. During that time I had a house built, and Ronald was planning renovations. We realised that there wasn’t much information available, and certainly no trade fairs. When we put all those factors together ten years ago, the concept for Beurs Eigen Huis was born,” Maarten says.

You have loyal exhibitors who often return more than once. Why do you think that is?

“Our trade fair attracts a very specific audience,” Maarten says. “Visitors have concrete plans to build or renovate, and that leads to new projects for our exhibitors. This is true in both good and bad economic times. The crisis in 2008 meant that consumers were unable to move house, and had their homes renovated instead. Now they again have the option of building a new house or going deeper into increased sustainability or home automation (smarter homes thanks to electronics).”

How has the trade fair changed?

“We noticed that consumers often come up with new building or renovation plans over the summer holidays. The first autumn edition quickly followed,” Ronald says. “It’s now almost as big as the spring edition. The trade fair has grown considerably in recent years (in terms of days and visitors), so we started dividing up the floor by theme. It means that consumers with specific housing challenges know exactly where they need to be.” Maarten adds that it’s important to Expo Communications to offer small and innovative companies a place at the trade fair too; hence the introduction of a special area where consumers can find businesses providing, for example, mobile kitchens for home use.

“From bricks to baths: Beurs Eigen Huis has developed into a comprehensive trade fair for consumers who plan to build or renovate.“

In this digital age, what’s the added value of an actual physical trade fair?

Maarten is enthusiastic. “Time after time, our visitors are surprised to learn what’s actually possible. At the trade fair they encounter new developments that they’d never even thought of. It shows that the trade fair is a crucial source of inspiration – I mean, how can you look something up online when you don’t even know it exists?”

How did you surprise your visitors with something new at the most recent edition?

“Sustainability is clearly a hot topic these days – and in the housing market too,” Ronald says. “For that reason we chose to introduce a ‘green route’ through the trade fair. Visitors who followed this route came into contact with a variety of exhibitors for whom sustainability is a top priority.” Maarten says that the steel window and door frames are very popular. “Consumer were able to find a wealth of interiors inspiration in the new Dream House Pavilion.”

You choose to return to Jaarbeurs time and again. Why is that?

Naturally the pair mention the advantages of the central location and great accessibility. “Twice we’ve moved to a different location, but that had an immediate impact on visitor numbers,” Maarten explains. “Good brand awareness plays a role too.” The fact that Jaarbeurs facilitates valuable new contacts is underlined by Ronald’s story that he and Maarten met at a Jaarbeurs event!

After so many great editions, what are Expo Communications’ ambitions for Beurs Eigen Huis?

“The most important thing is to keep on top of what’s happening in the market and continue to respond to it, together with our partners like Vereniging Eigen Huis (the Homeowners’ Association).” Ronald continues: “We don’t need to reinvent ourselves year after year, but we do like to show that our trade fair is constantly changing with the times. In appearance, in brand name (the name changed from the Nationale Bouwdagen to Beurs Eigen Huis) and, for example, in the use of our growing social media channels.”

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