Munich Optical Show Garners Rave Reviews

By Paddy Kamen

The Munich-based international optics show – opti – that was once a relatively minor global player is fast becoming the trade show to top. In a world of fierce competition, this is no mean feat.

How have they done it?

For one thing, opti’s organizers, GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen mbH, simply know how to run an excellent show, and this has as much to do with pleasing exhibitors as it does with impressing visitors. This firm has been running the show since 2008, and those years have seen steady growth, which is all the more remarkable in a time of great economic uncertainty.

The show presents the entire spectrum of optics ranging from frames, ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses and low-vision products to shop set-up, technical equipment and devices. There are many product premieres at opti, from international market leaders and start-ups alike.

Joseph Tallier, vice-president of global sales for OGI Eyewear, attended opti from January 25 to 27.

“I’ve been exhibiting at opti for three years now and each year it becomes more international. I had appointments set up with buyers from Brazil, Italy, the Middle East and South Korea. I did great business and just love the exuberance of the show.”

How does opti compare to other shows? Tallier sees it this way: “The quality of the organization and service at this show is incredible. If you just make one overture to a staff person for help, they handle whatever it is you need and they do so happily. They make it easy for exhibitors to focus on our job, which is helping visitors to understand our brand.”

Clearly visitors love the show too, and in ever-increasing numbers. This year the show saw 23,200 visitors from 70 countries. They come to discover the exhibitors’ latest products and trends, and soak up the great atmosphere. Indeed, over 90 per cent of respondents to the visitor survey rated the show as ‘good to very good.’

“opti has established itself as the platform for launching new products at the beginning of the year,” explained Dieter Dohr, CEO and president of GHM. “The timing of opti is perfect for this.”

Tallier agrees. “Holding opti in January is perfect. And the venue is excellent as well. The show is laid out for easy walking, and I’m not alone in loving the fact that the exhibition hall is just a 15-minute drive from the heart of old Munich. It is a beautiful old city and there’s lots to do at night.”

The organization of the show extends beyond the hall itself to include even the thoroughfares from the airport. Tallier explains, “I was feeling ill when I arrived and I expected to have a hassle explaining where I was headed to a taxi driver who didn’t speak English. But I readily noticed that there were signs up all over the place directing drivers to the opti show. It was a breeze to get there.”

It seems everyone involved was thrilled with the results of opti 2013. The reaction from Josef May, Chairman of SPECTARIS, the German Hightech Industry Association, was also very positive: “Once again, it was really great! The event was fully booked, with aisles and stands full of people and incoming orders, so the exhibitors were very happy. Instead of a downturn, the optics industry looks set to enjoy fresh impetus again this year,” he said.

Kudos to opti! Next year’s show will be held January 10 to 14, 2014. You’ll want to be there, even if just to see a show that ‘runs like a Swiss clock’, says Tallier.