30 November 2009

Anticipating DOMOTEX: Poland Opportunities

BuyUSA - United States Department of CommerceWith DOMOTEX 2010 just a few weeks away, you might be interested in an update on European markets. We asked Catherine Mayer, from the United States Department of Commerce, Commercial Service division in Frankfurt, Germany [please refer to our previous post titled U.S. Commercial Service Offices Offer Foreign Trade Support], to share some highlights. Catherine and her colleagues in Eastern Europe bring the following countries to our attention: United Kingdom, Russia and Poland.

In this blogpost, we will detail opportunities in Poland. Look for a discussion of opportunities in the UK and Russia in separate posts.

Opportunities in Poland

Poland is of particular interest because the UEFA soccer championships will be held there and in the Ukraine in 2012. As a result, a great deal of building - hotels as well as sports facilities - is anticipated in conjunction with that event.

To put into perspective the scope of this championship, the two countries expect approximately 500,000 visitors during the event - which lasts 3 weeks. In addition to adding facilities, both countries will need to renovate existing structures.

U.S. companies will have significant business opportunities stemming from the 2012 build out ranging from architecture/design/engineering and construction services to equipment and support services. They may want to bid on such projects and/or participate in related export opportunities.

For more information, link to U.S. Commercial Service site for Poland which includes a section specifically about the UEFA 2012 soccer championships - with more details on what Poland and Ukraine need to upgrade.

The Ukraine U.S. Commercial service site can be accessed via this link.

Catherine Mayer will be at DOMOTEX 2010 and scheduling meetings with American visitors and foreign buyers to promote the sale of American made products. If you are attending DOMOTEX and want to benefit from the services provided by the US Department of Commerce, Commercial Services Division, please be sure to contact Catherine Mayer, Jim Gould or me to schedule an appointment. US DOC services include market research, introductions to foreign markets and guidance on how to do business in any specific foreign country.

Catherine will have available a mini-report on Poland at DOMOTEX 2010.

Next, opportunities in the United Kingdom.

~ Rita

Rita Dommermuth, Hannover Fairs USA
rita@hfusa.com - Tel: 562-901-9191

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16 November 2009

Domotex First Time Travel Tips

Jim GouldIf DOMOTEX 2010 is your first trip to Hannover, Germany, let me suggest a few first time travel tips and answers to the questions you might be asking yourself.


The weather in northern Germany in January is unpredictable. Generally it is cold, 40s F during the day, and often rainy. That said, I have been there on beautifully warm sunny days in the 50s, cold and raining in the 30s and during a snow storm. Try to check the forecast and plan to dress warmly to get to and from the show and evenings. Once you are at the Messe, the buildings are connected and there is little need to go outdoors.


Generally, people dress in “business casual” which to me means ties are not necessary even though some attendees will wear them. Ladies are always dressed stylishly in Europe no matter if they have on the latest fashion dress or jeans. If you take an overcoat or umbrella, it can be checked at the entrance and picked up at the end of the day. Wear comfortable shoes since the buildings are large and you will be on your feet all day walking.


The place where the exhibition is held is called the “Messe” pronounced “mess-ah” and referred to as the fairgrounds. Domotex is such a major event in Hannover, that most people know what you are referring to when you say the name. The fairgrounds are very large including 13 buildings and a million square feet of exhibition space. Different buildings highlight different product categories. Several are exclusively area rugs, some separated by country of origin. Others will show primarily carpet, laminate or wood. One area is called ContractWorld and focuses on products and services for the commercial market. When you arrive you will come in to one of a couple of entrances. It is my understanding that some have recently been renovated so we should all just follow the crowd into the show. The entrance is where you can purchase tickets and a show directory but if you sign up early enough to join the North American VIP Delegation, these will be provided to you at no charge.


Obviously the people in Germany speak German. At the show most exhibitors either speak English or have translators on their stands that do. Luckily, English has become the default language for all of the other countries that do not speak German. Often Europeans use different terms for products referring to wood flooring as 'parquette' (par-Ket), carpet as 'tapis' or sheet vinyl as PVC. Other products like laminate, cork, LVT are the same.


Most buildings have restaurants and depending on the building they may range from a stand up coffee shop to a sit down restaurant with waiter service. The food is generally European and I highly recommend the bratwurst dipped in mustard at one of the standup counters. Some of the exhibitors offer food to their customers as well as bottles of water.


I recommend not renting a car although parking is available at the show if you get there early each day. Taxis are available from the hotels to the show but getting a taxi in bad weather at the end of the day could mean standing in line for quite a while. Many nearby hotels have free van service for their customers; public transportation (tram) is available, free to fair goers. It runs from the lower tracks of the station at the entrance to the show and stops all over town.


The Euro, the standard currency throughout Europe, is worth about $1.50 which is historically high. Foreign currency can be changed into Euro’s in the airport, at your hotel or at banks at the Messe. Credit cards are accepted at most places however most taxis require currency. An exchange fee is charged and the exchange rate varies. Generally speaking the best rates and fees are on credit card purchases and at your hotel.

Let me know if you have any other questions since we want to make your trip as comfortable as possible. For information like show hours, exhibitors, etc., check the Domotex website.

For those of you for whom this won't be your first trip to Hannover, what would you add to this list?

I look forward to seeing you in Germany,


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08 November 2009

German DIY Tour Available to North American VIP Delegation

Jim GouldLast year during Domotex 2009, I decided to take an afternoon to tour several major German floor covering retailers that I had read about for years. I discovered that several DIY stores like OBI, Praktiker [Praktiker Wikipedia entry], Hagebau, Toom and Hornbach were located within 10 miles of the fairgrounds.

For years I attended Domotex to see products from around the world and gather merchandising ideas from exhibitors’ displays. I'd fly to Germany arriving early Saturday morning, catch an hour nap at my hotel and be at the show in the afternoon. After a couple of full days visiting and walking past more than 1,000 exhibitors, I'd drag myself to the airport and fly home.

That changed with my visit to these German DIY stores!

German DIY: HornbachIn just a couple of hours I was able to see each of these European giants, several of which give Home Depot and Lowes a run for their money. The experience was eye opening. I could not believe that it had taken me so many years to take advantage of my travels to Hannover to witness firsthand the German retail floor covering market.

In fact, I thought this tour was so worthwhile that I asked Domotex to organize a similar opportunity for attendees of our North American VIP delegation.

German DIY: HagebauFor the 2010 program, Domotex has arranged for a six passenger van for the use of the North American VIP delegation on a limited schedule.

VIP attendees who sign up IN ADVANCE will be shuttled to at least three stores quickly and efficiently. The tours should take only two hours. Vans will pick up participants on the fairgrounds at a pre-scheduled time.

German DIY: OBIThe best news of all is that Domotex is picking up the tab!

There is no charge to participants who are registered as part of the North American VIP delegation. This sure beats hiring a car and driver, mapping out your visit and worrying about parking.

Sometimes it's just good to be part of the right group!

If you have any questions or have not yet signed up for the North American VIP delegation for Domotex, contact me at jgould@floorcoveringinstitute.com. Space will be limited so make your reservations as soon as possible.

~ Jim

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