One of the most interesting booths at this year’s Metstrade was not at the RAI exhibition hall, but across the street at a bowling alley. Vetus, the Netherlands-based marine equipment company, decided five years ago that its booth at Metstrade was not accomplishing its goals of providing the most productive place to do business.
So, Vetus decided to rent the local bowling alley, Knijn Bowling en Restaurant, which also has a large bar and restaurant. Filled with Vetus product displays, the restaurant is used to meet with clients during show days and as a dining hall/social area at night. Clients who want to work on their approach can use the bowling alleys after their meetings.
“On Monday, we had an international distributor meeting and on Tuesday we had 125 customers here,” Babette van Waes, marketing manager, told Trade Only Today. “On Wednesday, we had a nine-piece band for our annual party. Before, we had to find restaurants and venues in the local area to hold any events. Now, we can just sit down and have a meal. It’s also quite a bit more space.”
During a Tuesday morning visit, a charter bus dropped off a group of executives from Yanmar, Vetus’ parent company, including Shiori Nagata, president of Yanmar Marine. Nagata and her team huddled in the facility for a meeting.
Vetus still maintains a large presence in the Metstrade exhibit hall, but the big draw is the Knijn.
Van Waes said customers look forward to crossing the street to the bowling alley. “It’s more relaxed and quiet,” she said. “It was a good example of thinking outside the box.”