Strategic decisions allow Lake Constance trade show organizers to look to the future with optimism

Messe Friedrichshafen 2022 annual result: Revenue of 11.9 million euros – Confidence in further recovery of the trade show industry – Joint venture fairnamic organizes Eurobike in Frankfurt for the first time

Crucial strategic decisions have been made. The relaunch of the events in 2022 and in the current year has been successful, and the trade show experience, along with important economic momentum, is back again after three years marked by the pandemic. The trade show organizers on Lake Constance demonstrated this in their home base of Friedrichshafen as well as most recently and impressively at the Eurobike in Frankfurt. A total of 19 in-house and guest trade fairs were held over the past fiscal year, attracting some 365,000 visitors and 4,200 exhibiting companies from all over the world. Revenue in 2022 was €11.9 million.

“The Eurobike in Frankfurt superbly presented itself as the world’s leading trade fair and evolved to embrace new topics. Our established trade fairs on the Friedrichshafen site also met with noticeably heightened visitor interest after their long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. We were able to begin hosting an international trade fair for leisure and Western riding as our own event in the form of the Americana, which will take place for the first time this year. It has now been confirmed that Messe Friedrichshafen has prepared itself well for the future after the far-reaching decisions made in 2021,” says Messe Friedrichshafen’s Managing Director Klaus Wellmann, summing up the success of the fair organization. The members of the Lake Constance trade fair team have shown themselves to be busy and agile event organizers since the start of the pandemic, during which twelve new and regularly recurring formats were launched, including the exhibitions “Spiel doch!”, “Vertical Pro,” “Poolgarden,” “Adventure Southside,” and “Süddeutsche Erwerbs- und Berufsimkertage Eurobee.”

The past fiscal year can be described as both turbulent and extraordinary: Due to the ban on events during the pandemic, the first quarter of 2022 began with seven cancellations or postponements, including the spring trade shows Motorradwelt Bodensee, Fruchtwelt Bodensee, and Aqua-Fisch. The low level of planning certainty contributed to the fact that guest organizers and exhibiting companies at our in-house events were clearly restrained in restarting their trade fair activities from the second quarter onwards. This stood in contrast to the remarkably high level of visitor interest, which showed that the chance to meet with others, engage in networking, and talk face-to-face was very much in demand.

Strategic decisions are the basis for the successful future of the trade show organization

Following the founding of the joint venture fairnamic GmbH by the Friedrichshafen and Frankfurt trade fair companies in 2021, the world’s leading trade fair Eurobike was held in Frankfurt for the first time in 2022. The international aviation exhibition AERO was hosted as a guest event in Friedrichshafen. “This decision has proven to be absolutely right. The timing of the change was perfect, and the response of the industry in 2022 confirmed that the Eurobike could no longer be adequately held at the Friedrichshafen location. We were only able to keep the Eurobike tied to the exhibition team on Lake Constance by moving the venue. The Eurobike already recorded a significant increase in floor space in its first year. The world’s leading trade fair demonstrated its strength this year with a further increase in floor space and the number of exhibitors and visitors. We see enormous potential for development through the new venue, as well as very good prospects for the future due to the expansion of the thematic formats and increasing internationalization,” Klaus Wellmann says.

While the former Messe Friedrichshafen is entrusted with the implementation of the Eurobike and AERO trade fairs, Messe Frankfurt contributes to the success of the subsidiary fairnamic both financially and with its global network. The AERO, which is hosted in Friedrichshafen as a guest event, also makes a contribution to the result. Chief Financial Officer Stefan Mittag says: “The joint venture has been a success, not only in terms of content but also financially. fairnamic is helping to keep Messe Friedrichshafen vibrant. Here on Lake Constance, we provide office space and services in the areas of administration, marketing, and communication to fairnamic, which feeds into Messe Friedrichshafen’s bottom line. The AERO also makes rental payments as a guest event and makes use of other services as well. And because fairnamic GmbH is based in Friedrichshafen, local business tax payments benefit the local community.”

Review of the 2022 financial year

Fiscal 2022 was also dominated by the pandemic, with no events allowed to take place in the spring, and revenue continuing to be under pressure due to the event bans at the beginning of the year. The fairgrounds were host to 7 events planned by Messe Friedrichshafen in-house and 12 guest events. The premises were temporarily put to alternative use, serving as the district vaccination center and as a venue for the VfB Friedrichshafen volleyball team. External partners and guest organizers held a total of 26 seminars, congresses, and committee meetings. The trade fair year 2022 featured intensive efforts to reactivate the trade fair business.

Due to the transition to the fairnamic joint venture, the revenue and result of the two leading trade fairs Eurobike and AERO will not be generated by Messe Friedrichshafen, and, for formal reasons, will not make a contribution to earnings through distributions until 2023. As it was an off-year for the Fakuma, the revenue figure of 11.9 million euros in the past fiscal year was significantly below the level of the previous year (2021: 16.6 million euros), with the result amounting to -1.4 million euros. Following the record rent in 2021, which was made possible by the proceeds from the sale of the Eurobike and AERO to fairnamic, no rent payments were made to the operating company in 2022.

A major highlight of 2022 was the successful staging of the AERO as a guest event for the first time, accompanied by increases in exhibitor and visitor numbers. The exhibition center in Friedrichshafen was also the venue for in-house events such as the international water sports exhibition Interboot, the Pferd Bodensee fair, which was postponed from February to the fall, and the Vertical Pro. The fairgrounds were featured in the national German media for the ZDF prime-time game show “Wetten, dass..?” and the state party conference of the SPD, with these events occupying different facilities on the exhibition grounds on the same weekend in November.

Outlook for fiscal year 2023:

Messe Friedrichshafen’s workforce began 2023 with a sense of optimism and without any pandemic-era restrictions, even though the global economic impact from the pandemic and the Ukraine war continues to be felt, such as in the form of ongoing supply chain disruptions. The great visitor interest was quite palpable at events such as Motorradwelt Bodensee in January and Tuning World Bodensee in May. The premiere of the in-house event Americana is being met with great anticipation. The premiere of the in-house event Americana is being met with great anticipation. The Americana is Europe’s leading exhibition for Western riding and will occupy a large part of the exhibition grounds in Friedrichshafen with its partner Americana GmbH. Other trade show highlights include the Interboot in September, the Fakuma in October, and the Vertical Pro and Faszination Modellbau in November. “We are highly optimistic, brimming with energy, and hitting our stride. Trade shows are fun again – for customers as well as everyone who works for them. And this positive turn of events is happening for an industry that some were saying was dead just a short time ago,” Klaus Wellmann says.