The Autonomy exhibition, organised for the past twenty years by Ades Communication, is the leading show for people with disabilities, the elderly and those with home care requirements. It presents professionals and the general public with solutions to combat the loss of autonomy. Four events are organised each year; the territory is covered by the eight shows every two years. Even years: Bordeaux (March), Paris (June), Metz (October), Marseille (November), odd years: Toulouse (March), Lyon (June), Rennes (September) and Lille (December). The Paris event brings together around 400 exhibitors for 25,000 visitors over three days, and the regional events, 150 exhibitors for 8,000 visitors over two days.
Interview with Patrick Le Bras and Jean-Raphael Notton, Co-founders of the Salon Autonomic exhibition Co-directors of Ades Communication
The Autonomy exhibition, a tour of France every two years
The Salon Autonomic was born, as so often, in Paris on the initiative of two doctors, fellow faculty members: Patrick Le Bras and Jean-Raphaël Notton. “At the beginning, we launched Autonomic in Paris, and we quickly realised that we also had to offer events in the regions to provide solutions for children, adults and elderly people suffering from loss of autonomy and having difficulty moving around. So, we started a tour of France by staging the exhibition, region by region, every quarter. Our Tour de France completes its cycle every two years, Lille being the last stage” says Patrick Le Bras.
Lille and the Hauts de France, in the heart of Europe
“The Hauts de France region has strong social potential. There are many drop-in centres for the disabled and the elderly, as well as rehabilitation centres”. It should be noted that this event cannot be held just anywhere: “We need a regional capital city, with an exhibition space of a certain size that can accommodate us in terms of exhibition space (7000 to 8000 m² minimum) but also offering easy access and transport facilities: tram, bus, train, parking. Moreover, Lille is ideally located in the heart of Europe” adds Patrick Le Bras.
Lille Grand Palais: a complex adapted to PRM standards
“We had been in contact with Lille Grand Palais since 2011. The site interested us because of the size of its exhibition space, its modularity, its central position in the heart of the city and the region and its proximity to public transport. In 2013, the site was developed, and the city and Lille Grand Palais undertook fairly extensive work to make the first floor accessible, with a great deal of effort regarding signage and lifts, and to adapt to PRM standards. That made it possible for us to come here.” says Jean-Raphaël Notton.
Three of these exhibitions have taken place at Lille Grand Palais. “Very quickly, a bond developed, with all these efforts, and we can say today that they have always been extremely sensitive to this whole dimension, to our very particular audience. They are with us, they have helped us a lot. We have forged links, and we have decided to name our exhibition Autonomic Lille Europe, the only regional event bearing the name of a city and covering the far north of France,” Patrick Le Bras explains.
Lille Grand Palais also offer a reassuring level of service and support
During all the stages of the organisation of the exhibition, Ades Communication’s technical managers have a single point of contact at Lille Grand Palais, a business manager who works with them from start to finish. They will jointly monitor the logistical organisation of the exhibition, the safety and technical aspects (electricity, water, security, cleaning, arrivals, exits, vehicular traffic) and this collaboration will increase as the stands are allocated and then laid out, signage, the two days of setting up, timetables, catering, welcoming visitors.
“There is all this coordination, this combination of everything we have prepared and passed on to the venue technicians, with of course a permanent presence during this period; it is a two-way collaboration between the organiser and the venue manager. And that’s where you see whether it works with a venue or not. Here the team works perfectly; the Lille Grand Palais teams are used to handling a certain volume, they have experience and know what they are doing. It must be said that we have particular requirements for this exhibition such as the installation of a PRM car park to facilitate the arrival of our visitors, we also need a lot of signage because the venue is large, and the mobility of our visitors is one of the key elements of this problem of autonomy,” says Jean-Raphaël Notton.
The benefits observed by Autonomic Lille Europe organisers
- The geographical location of Lille Grand Palais in the heart of the Hauts de France
- A quality complex, with its recent redevelopment work
- The expertise and quality of service offered by its teams: “quality relationships, we build close ties with the whole team, and it works very well”.
The three pillars of a successful trade exhibition
Patrick Le Bras concludes: “If the marketing has not been good (exhibitors), there is no event, and if the communication is not good (visitors), there is no next event. These are our two main concerns for a successful exhibition. The third pillar is the technical logistics, which must be impeccable. The logistics make this transient gathering a reality. We need flexibility, and we have it with Lille Grand Palais because of the closeness of their teams with ours is total: one phone call, and a solution is found. The specific requirements of our event and its audience have been properly consodered and met. We are well supported, we are very satisfied, and we have already signed for 2019. I can’t say better than that“.