Back to Physical Events: How Aligned Are Event Agencies and Corporates?
There’s an interesting trend that’s clear when reading about and following the event industry’s reactions to the pandemic. Over the last year, there’s been an overwhelming narrative about the importance of “returning to physical”.
I certainly understand it – our agency’s signature event has been called the European version of “Burning Man”.
We’ve heard, there’s “something” you just can’t replicate in a digital event.
But for exhibitors and sponsors of B2B events, their business needs to go on, with or without the return to the fair. They’re finding solutions that work in this newly remote world.
Is the gulf between event agencies, Messe and their corporate clients widening? Are we on the same page when it comes to the return to in-person events and trade fairs?
It’s possible – the EITW European Institute for the Conference Industry’s latest provider survey finds organizers are largely ready to return this fall, whereas their business clients report a lower level of confidence to return to physical before 2022 (part of this may be down to travel restriction. 60% of exhibitors at Germany’s exhibitions come from abroad).
In the U.S. sentiments appear similar, with many providers focusing on creating new business models to reflect the “new normal”. For some, the return of Las Vegas’ “World of Concrete”, the largest trade show since the pandemic, was seen as premature.
But the announcement of Messe Frankfurt’s customer survey hit an entirely different note: “97 percent of companies want to continue participating in trade fairs”.
The enthusiastic results, compiled by a survey of over 59,000 companies, has been a boost of confidence for an industry that has had its share of heartache over the past 16 months. The findings expressed that 67% would like events to take place solely in person, and 30% preferring a hybrid format. According to their reporting, only 3% of Messe Frankfurt’s respondents wish for events to be solely online.
The question no longer is if the shows will return, but when.
In the next weeks, there are a number of large shows in the works including IAA and the Frankfurt Book Fair (this week’s announcement Fibo would be cancelled appears to be an aberration). Each of these shows will be a bellwether for the industry, as the infection numbers continue to climb.
What do you think about Messe Frankfurt’s statistics? When are you going back to physical?
Despite the summer holidays, things have been busy. Here are the week’s top reads!
- Cvent’s SPAC deal with Dragoneer values company at $5.3bn [Exhibition News] Last week’s suggestion that Cvent would return to a public offering, has been found to be true. The company announced a merger with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp., with a $5.3bn valuation. Cvent raised $801m with the new deal, from a host of investors, most notably, Zoom.
- Zoom’s fast ascent to $100 billion made acquisitions a sudden priority [CNBC] Good rundown on Zoom’s latest acquisition spree, in an effort to stay ahead of Hopin and others.
- Class, a Zoom-only virtual classroom, nears unicorn status after SoftBank check [TechCrunch] Not long after Zoom’s apps announcement, Class a virtual classroom that integrates exclusively with Zoom has raised $105 million to bolster the video call experience.
- Panasonic embraces hybrid events, shifts B2B strategy and targets BETAs [MarTech] Panasonic has teamed up with DisruptAR to utilize their video cameras and green screen technology to build an entirely new online event experience. What they found? More qualified leads.
- OpenExchange Unveils London-Based Event Centre for Virtual and Hybrid Investor Events [Business Insider] From eventtech to physical, this provider of virtual meeting software has opened a new center for clients wishing to host their own events from a studio setup. Attendees everywhere are looking for greater professionalisation when it comes to online presentations.
- Messe Karlsruhe präsentiert realgetreue Nachbildung der Gartenhalle als Eventlocation [Pressebox] Messe Karlsruhe uses Allseated exVo to build a digital twin of their Gartenalle event location to invite attendees into their venue, digitally.
- 97 percent of companies want to continue participating in trade fairs [Messe Frankfurt] Some impressive numbers reported by Messe Frankfurt this week, suggesting an enthusiastic return to physical events. There are not many details from this recent customer survey beyond the headline, besides the impressive number of companies they surveyed: 59,000. No indication on the questions they used, or detailed descriptive information how the survey was conducted.
- „Die IAA in München ist ein Weltereignis“ [OVB Heimatzeitungen] Despite the uncertainty, one of Germany’s largest in person tradefairs is set to come roaring back this September, IAA Mobility. Taking place in Munich, it will be a “beacon” for Germany’s entire trade fair industry, with a newly expanded programme, new focus on sustainability– and a holistic view of mobility to include bicycles. What is clear from this interview, is that the idea and concept of the trade fair is changing, and in this case, expanding to bigger than ever before.
- Kölner Fitness-Messe Fibo muss erneut abgesagt werden [Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger] One of the world’s biggest fitness events takes place in PIRATEx’s backyard– and it’s just been cancelled for the second year in a row. The event will now go forward in person in April 2022. Sibec Europe, an event held in conjunction with Fibo, plans to go ahead this fall, despite Fibo’s cancellation.
- FitnessConnected and IHRSA confirm event will go ahead in November 2021 [Healthclub Management] Despite the big cancellation of FIBO, Munich’s FitnessConnected and IHRSA will go forward, welcoming 10,000 people in person. Participants will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing at all times. Entrants will be allowed in if they can prove recovery from COVID-19, and have been double vaccinated or tested negative for coronavirus.
- Frankfurter Buchmesse, IAA, Anuga: Präsenzmessen vor Comeback [WirtschaftsWoche] As large scale events return this fall, they enter a new landscape. The loss of physical trade fairs has cost over 40 billion euros since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
- NürnbergMesse bilanziert Geschäftsjahr 2020 [AUMA] Nuremberg Messe reports their numbers from the 2020 financial year. One big takeaway? The group has hosted over 55,700 digital participants at their events since the start of 2021– leading the firm to move swiftly in building their digital infrastructure.
Don’t Miss it:
- DLD macht es vor: Bergwanderung statt stickiger Konferenzräume [WirtschaftsWoche] Covid restrictions have pushed the events industry to get creative when it comes to event concepts. DLD has long been creative with their venue locations for their events, but now is flipping the traditional event concept on it’s head by asking attendees to “take a hike”– literally.
- Travel crucial for trade fair recovery [Exhibition World] This week as Germany imposes stricter regulations on entry, and the U.S. continues its large-scale restrictions against visitors from Europe, a rundown of how travel restrictions have impacted the event industry. Key point– the willingness of business to travel seems to be higher than restrictions allow. For some important trade fairs, visitors report willingness to tolerate up to 14 days quarantine to visit Dubai.
- Eventlocations: Fit für den Restart [Event Partner] Back to physical? Now it’s time to start evaluating locations. How to choose a venue that fits the current requirements and what to look for when making the right decision. Some important points raised here include– ensuring the venue’s technology is suitable for your hybrid elements, and what to consider when it comes to food and beverage as coronavirus continues.
- How to turn yourself into a cartoon for your next Zoom call [The Verge] Here’s the eventtech content we’re here for. Snap Camera’s cartoon filter can liven up your next Zoom call with a little bit of fun.
Thanks for checking out The Lookout this week!
Let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to remote, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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The Lookout Newsletter #35
PIRATEx Managing Director