With Hostex 2024 taking place from 3 – 5 March 2024, the countdown to the biggest hospitality show is on! The food, drink and hospitality trade expo is gearing up to be an unmissable event for industry professionals, with a diverse and dynamic community of exhibitors, representing all sectors of the industry. From cutting-edge tech solutions and sustainable practices to launches of new food and beverage products and equipment and solutions-driven innovations, the event promises to be a one-stop destination for industry stakeholders.

We caught up with Mark Anderson, Hostex Exhibition Director, to find out what to expect at Hostex 2024, the evolving needs of the industry how exhibitors can prepare and what visitors should look out for:

From your dealings with the industry, how do you find the overall state of hospitality this year in comparison with 2022? And will Hostex be adapting to this change and how?

Based on our experience and observations within the industry, the overall state of hospitality in 2024 shows a noticeable revival compared to the challenging conditions faced in 2022 during the post-COVID period. The intentional efforts to revive the industry have yielded positive results, evident in the participation of numerous new and returning exhibitors at Hostex 2024.

Tourism in South Africa has undergone a transformation, expanding beyond traditional leisure travel. The country now presents excellent business opportunities alongside leisure options. This diversification has added to the industry’s growth prospects, attracting both local and international participants.

In response to these changing dynamics, Hostex has embraced the evolving needs of the industry. The event is adapting to this change by providing a platform that caters to the renewed enthusiasm and opportunities in the hospitality sector. Hostex 2024 showcases innovations, new products, and cutting-edge trends that align with the industry’s revival. By incorporating a diverse range of exhibitors and offerings, Hostex fosters an environment that encourages networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. This approach helps attendees and exhibitors alike to seize emerging opportunities and collectively contribute to the industry’s positive trajectory.

What are some of the biggest drawcards for brands to exhibit at Hostex?

One of the biggest drawcards for brands to exhibit at Hostex is the trade expo’s extensive experience and track record in the industry. With over 38 years of hosting this event, Hostex has built a reputation for being a premier platform that attracts the right audience for exhibitors. The longevity of the show demonstrates its credibility and ability to consistently deliver value to both exhibitors and visitors.

Hostex’s success in drawing the right audience is also attributed to its key partners who play an integral role in curating relevant information, content, and appropriate activities/features at the show. These strategic partnerships ensure that the event stays current with industry trends and innovations, making it a must-attend event for professionals in the hospitality and food service sectors.

You have two new additions to 2024 Hostex – the Wine Bar and Sustainability sections – can you tell us a bit about why these two additions are important to the industry? What motivated their addition?

The addition of the Wine Bar and Sustainability sections at Hostex 2024 is a pivotal step towards catering to the evolving needs of the South African audience and creating a more eco-conscious hospitality industry.

For the South African audience, the Wine Bar section provides a unique platform to showcase and celebrate the nation’s rich wine culture. With South Africa being renowned for its diverse and exceptional wine regions, this addition allows local wineries and vineyards to gain increased exposure and attract new markets within the hospitality services sector.

On the other hand, the Sustainability section is of utmost importance for South Africa’s unique environmental challenges. As a nation embracing sustainability practices becomes more critical than ever, Hostex takes the lead by featuring eco-friendly solutions, energy-saving innovations, and waste-reduction initiatives. South Africa faces significant environmental issues, such as water scarcity and waste management, and the Sustainability section empowers businesses with practical tools and knowledge to make a positive impact. By showcasing sustainable practices, Hostex encourages the hospitality industry to play a leading role in preserving South Africa’s natural beauty and supporting eco-conscious consumer choices.

The addition of these elements not only aligns with the growing global focus on sustainability but also reinforces Hostex as a platform that actively contributes to the positive transformation of South Africa’s hospitality sector. It enables exhibitors and attendees to be part of a movement that elevates the country’s reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking destination while fostering a sustainable future for the industry and the environment.

What are you most excited about for Hostex 2024? 

We are thrilled to be back in full force for Hostex 2024! There’s so much to be excited about this year, and we can’t wait to share the experience with all our attendees.

One of the highlights we are most thrilled about is the return of the District Hub. This vibrant hub will be a melting pot of knowledge and inspiration, featuring free-to-attend seminars curated by leading hospitality gurus and world-renowned speakers. Get ready to immerse yourself in cutting-edge insights, industry trends, and innovative ideas that will elevate your hospitality business to new heights.

And of course, the Skillery is back, bringing you an awe-inspiring showcase of culinary excellence. Prepare to be mesmerized by world-class chefs displaying their latest techniques and culinary creations. From innovative preparation methods to mouthwatering dishes, you’ll witness a true celebration of gastronomic artistry. Plus, don’t miss the Coffee Barista Challenge, where the finest baristas will compete for the title, serving up the most exquisite coffee creations.

Hostex 2024 promises to be an electrifying experience filled with excitement, world-class talent, and unparalleled opportunities for learning and networking. So mark your calendars, as we embark on this incredible journey together, shaping the future of the hospitality and food service industry. See you there!

What would your advice be for exhibitors at Hostex – in the run-up to the show how can they prepare and make the most of their presence at Hostex?

Define Clear Objectives: Before the event, exhibitors should establish clear objectives for their participation at Hostex24. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or launching new products, having well-defined goals will help guide their strategies.

Engaging Stand Design: Invest time and effort into designing an eye-catching and engaging stand. Ensure it reflects your brand identity and products/services. Incorporate interactive elements, displays, and product demos to attract attendees to your space.

Pre-Event Marketing: Leverage digital marketing channels and social media to create excitement and anticipation before the event. Promote your participation, highlight special offers, and invite attendees to visit your stand.

Engage with Hostex Organisers: Stay in touch with the Hostex team and take advantage of any promotional opportunities we offer, such as inclusion in event guides, website listings, or featured mentions.

Train Your Team: Provide comprehensive training to your stand staff. Ensure they are well-versed in your products/services, capable of engaging attendees and equipped to answer questions and handle inquiries effectively.

Network Actively: Encourage your team to actively network with attendees, other exhibitors, and industry influencers. Building connections can lead to potential partnerships or collaborations.

Collect Leads: Have a structured approach to collect leads and contact information from interested visitors. Follow up promptly after the event to maintain momentum and capitalise on potential opportunities.

Participate at our District Hub: Hostex offers opportunities for exhibitors to participate in seminars or workshops, take advantage of them. Sharing your expertise can enhance your credibility and attract more interest to your stand. Look out for our program and reach out to us about your keenness to participate at the District Hub.

Host Demos and Giveaways: Organise live demos or tastings at your booth to engage visitors. Offer promotional giveaways or special discounts to incentivize attendees to connect with your brand.

Gather Feedback: Actively seek feedback from visitors about their experience at your booth and the event in general. This valuable input can help you refine your strategies for future shows.