2010 Alltech WEG: World Extortion Games
(This letter to the editor was sent by Susanne Lauda of the Baden Wurttemberger Breed Society to Warmbloods Today. We reproduced this letter with kind permission of this magazine.)
For the first time we will have the World Equestrian Games in the US and I think it was about time. But something must have happened when the spirit of the games travelled over the Atlantic Ocean – everything got twice as expensive as it was in Europe.
I know the economy is tough and the WEG organizers are trying to make as much money as possible, but the economy is tough for everybody!!!
We are a small German non-profit breed registry, and thought that this event would be the perfect occasion to become better known outside of Europe. And so we were among the first ones to sign up for a booth. With US$ 15,000.00 for a 9 ft x 9 ft booth, this was already twice as expensive as it was in Aachen in 2006. But again, we still believed this to be a great event and wonderful opportunity, and so we decided to bite the bullet. Surprise, surprise, after we had already paid for the booth in full, we found out that we had to purchase additional liability insurance for US$ 500.00. Liability for what – we do not even have horses at our booth? In my everyday life I am a sales engineer, and attended countless tradeshows all over the world – but nowhere did I have to buy additional insurance for a booth.
The ticket prices are not exactly a bargain either – e.g. US$ 560.00 for the cheaper seats for the 2.5 days of dressage is pretty hefty. But on top of that guests have to buy a day pass if they want to come into the horse park on the day where there is not dressage. The same is true for the other events such as jumping. Well, those off-days in between the series are the ones that we as a vendor were hoping to see the most people at our booth, something that will not happen if they have to pay extra for a day pass.
With almost US$ 400.00 per night for a hotel room, which a vendor needs for at least 17 days, we are again talking about major expenses. Why a hotel room needs to be more than twice as expensive during that period is a mystery to me. I can understand that hotels do increase their prices during major events, but US$ 400.00 for a regular business hotel, nothing fancy or even close to downtown, that seems to be a bit much for me.
And now the latest and greatest is a charge for the shuttle buses between the hotels and the horse park. Again, I have been to trade shows, conferences and exhibitions all over the world, and not once did I have to pay for the shuttle bus service.
We will be 4 people at our booth, two of them have to fly in from Germany, and between the 4 of us we already spent close to US$ 34,000.00, and the WEG has not even started yet. We still need furniture for our booth, at which, by the way, we are not allowed to serve any refreshments to our guests, because the organizers have that stipulated with their concession company. This is a lot of money for a small non-profit organization - I just hope it was worth paying more than twice as much than in Europe four years ago.
Baden-Wurttemberg Breed Registry
Ton's Tale: Impossible World Equestrian Games