Expo Riva Schuh has always defined itself as a “widespread exhibition” in close contact with the community and territory that hosts it: it was founded with this unique character, as a forerunner of the times, proposing a trade fair model that became, also more recently in other sectors, a resounding success.
In fact, Expo Riva Schuh was founded almost by chance at the end of the 60’s, when five German representatives of Italian footwear manufacturers began going to the lake twice a year, with sample collections to show their customers. In just a few years’ time, the number of representatives grew exponentially, giving life to a bona fide fair, while in ’73 they began exhibiting in the new Riva Congress Centre. Finally, four years later, the official name “Expo Riva Schuh” made its appearance. Now, as then, the fair has maintained its international character and ties with the territory and accommodation facilities of Riva del Garda, which continue today to host many of the exhibitors and their collections. We decided to listen to what some of these hotel managers had to say about the role Expo Riva Schuh has played over the years for the city of Riva, and what the city of Riva has to offer as a unique and ‘outside of work’ experience to visitors and exhibitors at the fair.
Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags and the territory
“Without a doubt this footwear fair generates an important source of revenue for the territory overall, involving local restaurants, bars, transportation, etc. and naturally hotels. This is especially true in the winter, when the ‘leisure’ tourism of the warmer seasons unsurprisingly drops off”, comments Stella Feruli, owner of Hotel Luise.
This sentiment is echoed by Vanessa Miorelli, owner of Astoria Resort, who confirms: “Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags represents a fixed rendezvous on the panorama of Alto Garda trade fair events, and with its standing, it undoubtedly takes on an important role in our territory. This is true both in terms of internationalisation, considering the origins of its visitors and exhibitors who arrive from all five continents, and deseasonalization: for a structure like Astoria Resort, it means being able to extend its seasonal opening at Christmas, with a longer period of employment for all its collaborators, while maintaining an active rapport with suppliers”.
Desy Cellana, Sales & Marketing Manager at Lido Palace likewise underlines the importance of the twice-yearly rendezvous with Expo Riva Schuh: “This event is capable of generating an important source of revenue that benefits not only Fierecongressi, but the entire tourist industry of Alto Garda”.
Advantages for those who choose the hotel as an exhibition space
“As far as we are concerned, the advantage to presenting sample collections in the hotel is that of meeting up with buyers in a luxurious, pleasurable, and relaxing setting with all the comforts and relative services (including the bar, restaurant, storage area for stocking goods in the pre- and post-presentation period, car parking, etc.). At the same time there is also the possibility of satisfying more specific and extensive demands like those for translators, private conference rooms, private lunches… Even the approach a company might like to have with its customers could require a formal or informal and friendly setting, and we can satisfy these different needs with an ad hoc proposal”, confirms Gabriele Galieni – General Manager of the Hotel Du Lac et Du Parc.
Exclusivity and ‘made to measure’ services are confirmed as distinctive features also by Alessandro Calzà, Director of Grand Hotel Liberty: “Those who choose to exhibit in our hotel – including especially companies and brands with a solid base of historic clients – have the advantage of a more prestigious context with personalised services typical of luxury hotels. To these exhibitors we offer, more specifically, a restaurant service at lunch and at dinner, in addition to aperitifs and refreshments. In June, it is also possible to organise lunches and dinners on our beautiful outdoor terrace”.
“The customers who choose us every year can enjoy having an exhibition space in an exclusive location. We make two conference rooms with natural lighting available. Additionally, our guests have the possibility of inviting their customers to dine at our restaurants, the Bistrot Tremani, and the gourmet restaurant, Il Re della Busa, both with a splendid view of the lake”, comments Desy Cellana, Sales & Marketing Manager at Lido Palace.
Location and service make the difference also in the case of Astoria Resort: “Immersed in the middle of nature and surrounded by a park of 15,000 square metres, the Astoria Congress Centre has multi-functional conference rooms available for a wide variety of events that satisfy different needs, which are fitted with the most modern technological solutions currently available. It’s an environment that has been chosen by several exhibitors for the last 20-plus years, thanks to all the potential opportunities for personalisation it offers, not only in terms of space, but above all in terms of customer service. Instead, as far as the specific services we offer Expo Riva Schuh exhibitors are concerned, one aspect that is much appreciated is our great flexibility in setting up and breaking down stands, offering a sole location for accommodation and working, with parking, multilingual personnel, and great accessibility. Making the difference is the exclusive welcoming service for guests, with the possibility of personalising food & beverage services and the organisation of events with menus created ad hoc and with live music”.
Flexibility and services are the advantages underlined by Stella Feruli – Hotel Luise: “When compared to exhibition complexes, the hotel offers a more intimate and flexible setting, where it is possible to host buyers at times that might vary from the hours of the fair, with flexible opening hours. Plus, hotels are often easier to reach and allow buyers to save time, because they do not have to search for the stand and company among the pavilions of the fair. The three rooms for exhibiting that we make available to companies can be set up with shelves and special lighting. Our guests also have a bar and all the available services of the hotel like parking and rental bikes”.
Not to be missed at Riva del Garda
According to the Director of the Astoria Resort, “Depending on the time of year, it is possible to experience several different things: in the winter, we recommend breathing in the history and culture, through the beautiful historic centres, churches, and castles, or taking time to taste the wonderful wine and food specialties of the territory, by maybe even visiting one of the numerous wineries or our Garda Foodie Factory. Instead, in the summer, the outdoors leads the way: from the Ponale on an Ebike, to windsurfing, excursions on sailboats, all the way up to the most panoramic hikes or even the via ferratas, canoeing, and paragliding. The possibilities are truly infinite!”
The beauty and dynamism of the territory, above all in the summer, and the outdoor sports activities are the experiences that Gabriele Galieni – Hotel Du Lac et Du Parc recommends to those coming to Riva del Garda for business with the possibility of enjoying some time off from their jobs or extending their stays in the territory, while Desy Cellana, Sales & Marketing Manager from Lido Palace underlines how Riva del Garda is the ideal destination not only for outdoor activities, but also for gastronomic experiences with local products.
When asked to recommend a special experience perfect for trying out while visiting the fair, Stella Feruli – Hotel Luise has no doubts: “I would say to take a ride on the panoramic elevator inaugurated a couple of years ago that brings you to Bastione, where it is possible to overlook all of Riva del Garda from above and enjoy all of its beauty, while also trying the ‘psycho-aperitif’ at our bar. A cure-all for the stress of the fair”.