Trade shows to be held in the autumn with new hygiene concept
2019 Annual Report: Sales of 26.6 million euros – 2020 trade show year started positively – Numerous event cancellations due to COVID-19 trade fair lockdown beginning in March
Friedrichshafen, Germany – Until February 2020, the trade show industry was still in good shape; this, however, was followed by many event cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, Messe Friedrichshafen was forced to cancel 15 of its own events and 11 guest-events planned to be held between March and August. The 2019 trade show year and the start of 2020 were still on track for the company. At 26.6 million euros, revenues for the 2019 financial year, which did not include Fakuma, Pferd Bodensee, and Fruchtwelt Bodensee due to their biannual rotation, and with OutDoor being excluded from the schedule for the first time, are, as anticipated, significantly lower than in previous years. Messe Friedrichshafen expects a downturn in sales in financial year 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We got off to a very successful start to 2020 with our trade shows in January and February,” remarked CEO Klaus Wellmann at the Messe Friedrichshafen annual press conference on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. “However, from March 2020 onwards, we were forced to cancel or postpone many events due to COVID-19.” The trade show management team is not yet able to put a final figure on the economic losses for Messe Friedrichshafen GmbH itself and other companies that benefit from trade show expenditures.
The trade show team is now looking forward with excitement and optimism to the coming months and the start of Interboot in September 2020, followed by the Fakuma trade fair in the autumn and Faszination Modellbau, with its premiere of the International Model Railway Exhibition. Eurobike, the world's leading bicycle industry trade show, has been rescheduled from its original date in September 2020 to the end of November 2020. “We aim to present the bicycle industry with a highly professional event at that time and also provide an opportunity for valuable discussions,” explained CEO Klaus Wellmann on Wednesday. A detailed health-safety and hygiene concept has already been prepared and will serve as a guideline for organizing events in the COVID-19 era.
Financial year 2019
Messe Friedrichshafen generated revenues of EUR 26.6 million in 2019, which, as anticipated, was significantly lower than in the previous year, as there were no Fakuma, Pferd Bodensee, and Fruchtwelt Bodensee events in the 2019 trade show year due to bi-annual rotation. Additionally, this financial year was the first time that OutDoor was no longer on the agenda. However, at EUR 2.2 million, total rental payments to the holding company were higher than planned. According to CFO Stefan Mittag, this meant an annual surplus of 270,000 euros. Forty-five trade shows and guest events, conferences, and seminars were on the schedule for the 2019 trade show year.
A total of 653,879 visitors and 7,867 exhibiting companies from 66 countries were present on the company’s exhibition grounds on Lake Constance, while 3,138 media representatives visited these events.
while 3,138 media representatives visited these events.
Financial year 2020
“Messe Friedrichshafen started the new trade show year of 2020 with optimism and inspiration – and with excellent results,” emphasized Klaus Wellmann to journalists. The 26th edition of Motorradwelt Bodensee, he reported, began the year with a dual record: over 50,000 visitors and more than 300 exhibitors. The third edition of My Cake, which served up baking and cake decorating trends, also reported significant increases in exhibitors and visitors. Both Fruchtwelt Bodensee and Pferd Bodensee also delivered very encouraging results.
This was followed in mid-March by the trade show lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This forced Messe Friedrichshafen to cancel a total of 26 trade shows, guest events, corporate meetings, and congresses over six months. For Messe Friedrichshafen, this has been a severe financial setback, which has been accompanied by reduced working hours for employees and major cost-cutting measures. The cancellations have been particularly damaging to the numerous service providers and companies that also generate revenue from the trade show business by operating in the direct and indirect environment of events. “The usual extensive spending activity of trade show guest in the city and region is, unfortunately, all the more noticeable now because of its absence,” Wellmann noted.
Times of crisis demand creativity. So, our exhibition halls and grounds were made available for temporary use, which generated innovative ideas and provided a welcome boost to morale in difficult times. Our drive-in cinema was very well received by the public. In fact, some 14,000 visitors attended 82 screenings of 31 movies over four weeks. An outpatient clinic for those with fever was also set up, and hall rentals to companies in the region, as well as municipal council meetings, resulted in additional occupancies.
In mid-June, the first silver lining for the trade show industry appeared in the form of improvements to the local legal and political situation. Following the announcement by the state government in Stuttgart that trade shows could be held starting in September under certain conditions, the Interboot international water sports exhibition (September 19-27, 2020) is now picking up speed again and will be one of the first trade shows to be held in Baden-Württemberg since March. Thanks to its comprehensive and detailed health-safety and hygiene concept, this trade show is back in the starting blocks. Our trade show team is well aware of its responsibilities, yet it is also clear that the event will have to be organized under new circumstances and planned differently. “It will be a special edition of Interboot with an unusual format and slimmer dimensions,” announced CEO Klaus Wellmann.
The autumn portion of the trade show agenda will feature additional guest events: InterDive diving trade show (September 24-27), Fakuma (October 13-17), and Faszination Modellbau. With the premiere of its European Rotors trade show, Messe Friedrichshafen is organizing a new event for the international helicopter industry in Cologne. In addition, the eagerly anticipated Eurobike international bicycle trade show will take place on the Friedrichshafen exhibition grounds from November 24 to 26.
“Messe Friedrichshafen currently finds itself in unusual and hard-to-predict circumstances,” explained CEO Klaus Wellmann. However, thanks to the hard work and commitment of its trade show team, the company is well prepared to meet the needs of the dynamic, international trade show market. “Hybrid formats where the live experience is complemented with a worthwhile and valuable digital component are becoming even more relevant and important. Yet, we are more convinced than ever of people’s need to meet in person,” concluded the Messe Friedrichshafen CEO optimistically.