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Melbourne Home Show: Interview with Features and Sponsorship Director Maridza Riccioni

The Melbourne Home Show is Victoria’s leading home improvement expo, with hundreds of exhibitors, exciting and educational shows, interviews, demonstrations, and inciteful workshops, the Melbourne Home Show is not to be missed. This year’s show will be held from Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd of April, and Sunday 25th – 27th August 2023 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Roshan caught up with Maridza Riccioni, the Features and Sponsorship Director of Exhibitions & Events Australia (EEA) on our podcast Road to Zero to discuss the upcoming show and the focus on sustainability.

Thank you so much for joining us, Maridza! Please tell us about your background

My career to date has been a mixed bag, really! I previously worked at the large, iconic company Yellow Pages/Sensis/Telstra then ventured into the world of travel with a travel wholesaler before heading to The Body Shop and have now landed at EEA.  My role at all these companies was predominantly creating, running, and managing events/sales incentives and travel programs, so really similar roles across very different industries.

How did you find your way to Exhibitions & Events Australia?

I started at The Body Shop in Feb 2020 and my role was all about organising events, sales incentives, and travel incentives then in March COVID hit, so everything moved to virtual.  It was a really interesting time as we entered the world of working remotely and running virtual events, which was how they decided to continue for a while as they are a global company.  I really missed the face-to-face interaction and seeing big-picture ideas and visions come to life, and an opportunity came up at EEA as Features/Sponsorships and the rest is history

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8WKJABK1Po

What do you love most about what you do?

I love bringing big-picture ideas to life, it’s like working with a blank canvas where the opportunities are endless. I love listening to our visitor feedback and creating these feature ideas, sometimes crazy ones…. but nevertheless, having the licence to be creative!  I also really love meeting people, working closely with them, establishing some really strong relationships and helping them to achieve their goals. I also love working with the team at EEA it is a really great place to work!

Tell us about the new role

Predominantly my role is twofold – Features and Sponsorships. With features, we review our visitor feedback after each show and then create new and exciting features at our future shows in response to what our visitors are telling us. With regard to sponsorships, we meet with prospects and work together on how we can achieve success.  I really enjoy meeting people and working closely together in partnership to achieve their goals, it is a really rewarding feeling!

Melbourne Home Show

Let me know a few of the big brand names exhibiting this year and the types of exhibitions we can expect to see.

We have some big brands exhibiting that are all very different and all offer something very different to the show and our visitors. Some of the big names that will be exhibiting are Phillips, Arlec, Stratco, Cooke and Bathe, Assa Abloy, M+Co, and Solar VIC.

Our exhibitors range from interiors, kitchens, bathrooms, security, home entertainment, outdoors, smart homes the list goes on. Anything essentially focused on the home and outdoors.

Who from our industry will be there? GoodWe, I believe, with their truck?

Yes, we love working with GoodWe. They will be back for another Melbourne Home Show with their truck which is always very popular and busy with our visitors seeking advice about the latest in Solar, Batteries, EV Chargers.

I hear you’ve got some great presenters – can you tell us who will be on stage and what they will be talking about?

We are really excited this year to launch our Kitchen and Bathroom Feature in partnership with KBDi, The Kitchen and Bathroom Design Institute.  This area is dedicated to kitchens and bathrooms with some great suppliers like Cook and Bathe Modulr Plus, Sanctuary Makers and some award-winning designers from MJ Harris Group and KBDi. Within this area, we also have our KBDi Kitchen and Bathroom stage MC’d by James Treble who is one of the best in the business. The presenters on this stage will be sharing their expertise, knowledge, tips and value adds ranging from Bathroom, Great Lighting, Designing a new kitchen, and finding the right products for your renovations.

In addition to the Kitchen and Bathroom Feature, we also have our new Home Interiors Zone which will be showcasing some beautiful interior companies, M+Co, Milano Fans, Tickshop just to name a few.  We also have The Renovation Queen Naomi Finlay who is the MC for this area with presenters and industry leaders running masterclasses where they will cover topics about interior styling, colour palettes, create healthy beautiful spaces.  So this is a great way for anyone planning an interior renovation to visit this feature for inspiration and some really valuable tips that will help with their renovation ideas!

Is there a panel at this show and who will be on it?

We sure do have a panel at this show, we have a sustainability panel at the home interiors feature with 3 experts that will provide our visitors with some really important information about sustainability within the home, like where do you start, things to think about, what to consider and also some interior options like furniture.

Is the Melbourne Home Show FREE to attend?

Yes, the show is free to attend hop onto our Melbourne Home Show website to register for a free ticket, or you can visit https://bit.ly/43vZnDe

Who should attend the home show and what value/tips would they get?

Anyone that is planning a renovation or a build, but really anyone that is interested in the home generally and wants some inspiration, or even anyone who wants a day out there is so much to see. 

They can come along and chat with our exhibitors that will be showcasing the latest products, and what’s on trend, or come and hear from our speakers, attend a masterclass, and also this year new to the show participate in one of our paid workshops!

There are so many products, ideas and inspiration

I believe you have an “up close and personal” breakfast with a friend of mine – tell me more and how does someone register for that?

We sure do, this year we are really excited to introduce our breakfasts with your friend Mr James Treble and reno queen Naomi Findlay, two of the best in the business.  They’ll be sharing their personal journeys within interiors and their personal insights about interior designs and even answering some questions for those that may be undertaking or thinking about renovating. They will also be giving away 2 remarkable interior design prizes to a lucky winner. So definitely worth attending.  Hop onto our website where you will be able to purchase tickets.

I believe you have some amazing workshops – tell me more.

Yes, this year we are launching some paid workshops which are really exciting, we wanted to provide our visitors with and experience and some hands-on and practical advice so that they can walk away with some really valuable information for their own DIY interior projects.  We’ve got Rebeka Morton from BuildHer Collective running some mood-boarding workshops.  We also have a workshop of a very different kind called water marbling where you can create a beautifully coloured and printed table runner and cushion covers which is a beautiful/decorative piece for the home.  Again, tickets for these paid workshops are on our website.

Why did you choose Jeff’s shed (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre)?

All of our Melbourne Home Shows are held at MCEC, which is recognised as one of the leading sustainable event destinations, so we play our part in creating a sustainable environment which I guess starts with the venue selection.

How have you reduced your carbon footprint?

We have moved to a digital show guide that we send to everyone that attends the show, the use of QR codes to direct our visitors to requested information as opposed to flyers, and we are also moving to digital signage throughout the show so we are taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint

I always see big goodie bags, which I get are for sponsors, however, I can’t help but wince with how many trees have been destroyed for ultimately what will get thrown in the bin… What steps do you and the exhibitors take to reduce your environmental impact?

Our show encourages our visitors to BYO their own bags which works really well, we also have our eShowbag on our website which includes all of our show specials so that we aren’t handed out leaflets, flyers or vouchers. Some of our exhibitors do provide showbags but these are the woven recycled type that our visitors can take home and re-use.

How else are you promoting sustainability and carbon reduction at this show?

Well, I guess it starts off with the venue and our move to digital, the exhibitors that are involved at our show that provide products that are energy efficient within the home, GoodWE as we spoke about earlier, our sustainable furniture on our interiors stage, our sustainability panel, and of course our sponsorship with Solar Victoria.

How important are these types of exhibitions today?

To an exhibitor: For our exhibitors, we are providing them with a qualified and targeted market, 98% of our visitors are renovating or building and our visitors that attend the show are ‘Ready to Spend,’ they spend approx. $66m at The Melbourne Home Show!

To the public: We have approx. 190 exhibitors at our Melbourne Show so we are really connecting buyers and sellers and we provide so much variety focused on the home and outdoors so it is a one-stop shop essentially.

The other really important point to note is that they have the ability to touch and feel so many products at the show and also talk to the exhibitors so that they make informed decisions about their purchase and receive the best advice.

Post-COVID, human interaction is so important, and we have seen this from the significant increase in ticket registrations and the number of people that will be attending our show, we also saw an incredible increase of 54% in visitor attendance at our recent show in Brisbane in February.

A recent survey of Australian consumers also showed that 54% of consumers will attend more shows than pre covid, 43% would attend the same number and only 3% wouldn’t attend any so there is a real desire for events and to reconnect.

How does the rest of the calendar look? What’s coming next?

Well, it’s looking very busy!  We have our Sydney show coming up on the 19th to 21st of May, our Perth show is 16th to the 18th of June and then we head into our second half-year shows kicking off with Melbourne in August, Brisbane in September and Sydney in October.

You can get FREE tickets to the Melbourne Home Show, 21-23 April 2023, here: https://bit.ly/43vZnDe

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