In turbulent times, it is crucial for companies not only to react quickly and flexibly, but also to keep their long-term goals in sight at all times. Messe München demonstrated in 2021 that it is well prepared for such times. Read more The organization defied the pandemic on the strength of its willingness to innovate and the ability to change and make clear decisions whenever swift action was required. It also showed that large trade fairs and conventions can be held safely and successfully even in times of a pandemic using innovative content and by applying professional protection and hygiene concepts.
The IAA Mobility, held in Munich for the first time in September 2021, is a prime example. Not only did it light up Munich’s city center for days on end, directly involving citizens with its Open Spaces and the environmental Blue Lane, it captivated the entire world of mobility. In retrospect, IAA MOBILITY 2021 was much more than a “simple” mobility platform—it was actually an energizing force that rejuvenated the city after the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a showcase of the future of mobility, a highly innovative beacon for the entire trade fair industry and, not least, a true global event thanks to its media reach.
However, 2021 was not a good year for the event industry and every- thing related to it. Yet, given the circumstances, it was nevertheless a groundbreaking year for Messe München, as it showed that a company capable of change can remain on track for success by taking decisive action, charting the right course, and implementing appropriate measures. Another thing that the past year has brought home to us is that a progressive company must have a credible stance and stand up for its principles. Messe München’s sense of social responsibility was once again clearly demonstrated here by the rapid, straightforward assistance it provided in setting up the state capital’s central vaccination center and contact tracing center.
At the end of 2021, the shareholders also resolved on the future management of the company after Klaus Dittrich’s planned retire- ment on July 1, 2022. On this date, Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel will take over as joint CEOs with equal responsibilities. The Supervisory Board of Messe München would like to wish the two new CEOs all the best, every success and the necessary creativity in their new roles. The Supervisory Board would also like to thank Klaus Dittrich for his many years of successful service as Chairman and CEO of Messe München GmbH.
Trade fair business is a forward-looking business—paradoxically, an insight that has proven true even in a major crisis. Trade fairs will also continue to be the platform of choice going forward because it is precisely at these live events that the future takes shape. In-person meetings, interaction and discussion among experts, the inspiration drawn from this—all of this is what makes trade fairs unique. Read more
Messe München’s promise for the future manifested itself anew and unwaveringly during the pandemic last year. The mission born from this—Staging the Future—is both a task and an obligation for us. We want nothing less than to shape the future together with our cus- tomers. To meet the high expectations of us, we have improved and sharpened our positioning to make it even more customer-centric, flexible, and agile, featuring new digital formats and innovative exhibition concepts. And the success of these steps is measurable: Even in crisis-hit 2021, Messe München maintained its position as the world’s fifth-largest trade fair organizer.
The overwhelming feedback from exhibitors and visitors at IAA Mobility, which we organized in Munich for the first time last September in conjunction with the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), confirms our claim to leadership. We were able to demonstrate that even large-scale events can be held safely with participants from all parts of the world by implementing professional protection and hygiene concepts. And we showed that courage and fresh ideas can open completely new perspectives for the tradition-bound trade fair business. The idea of holding a trade fair not only on the exhibition grounds but also in the heart of the city and thus bringing it to city residents, was something that had never been tried before in Germany. The Expo Real and productronica fairs held in the fall, along with a total of 82 guest events in 2021, consolidated our successful comeback.
Anyone wishing to stage the future must themselves be capable of change. Versatility and innovation are the bedrock of our actions. With our Strategy 2026, we intend to build on our success in the coming years and develop new business models wherever possible. The basic strategic directions we have defined include strengthening our core business, expanding our international activities, especially in China and India, using 365-days platforms to develop our flagship trade fairs into year-round sources of revenue, adopting an even more customer-centric approach overall, and ramping up efficiency. Climate change is probably the biggest challenge facing us, however. To tackle this, we put our trust in the comprehensive “Green Footprint” sustainability program that is deeply rooted throughout the company. Our goal of doing business in a carbon-neutral manner by 2030 is realistic.
In the course of the comprehensive repositioning, which included shedding 140 jobs, the previously six-member management team was also downsized. We would like to extend warm thanks once again to Monika Dech, Falk Senger, and Gerhard Gerritzen for their excellent and successful cooperation. Our thanks also go to our entire workforce for getting us through this, the deepest crisis in the company’s history.
All of the measures taken in recent months had a single overriding objective: to make the company fit for the future. And we have succeeded in doing this, which is why we look forward with great optimism. Our calendar of events for this year confirms the optimistic outlook: With a total of 40 major events worldwide, including several world-leading trade shows, 2022 looks to be an extremely strong year.
As a world-leading trade fair organization, we see ourselves as a pace-setter for progress and a thought leader in our industry. Our mission is to actively shape the future with customized concepts on global platforms. We do this by creating captivating experiences that connect people worldwide—at in-person trade fairs, but also on digital
channels around the clock, 365 days a year. Thus, we facilitate the
global exchange of knowledge and innovations that will advance key issues for the future with specific solutions. Responsible action
towards people and the environment consistently have top priority in all our actions.
Messe München. Staging the Future.
The trade fair landscape is in the midst of a cultural change. Traditional formats need to be reconceptualized, and new concepts need to prove themselves. Messe München as a trade fair organization is evolving from a hall lessor into a globally active agenda-setter in terms of staging the future. A new role that we are happy to embrace.
But what will the trade fair of the future look like?
Seven guidelines point the way ahead:
Rapid, direct interaction between exhibitors, visitors, the scientific community, policymakers and the media is becoming increasingly important. This is the reason why in-person trade fairs will still be irreplaceable in the future—live business is the gold standard. New digital services and formats support community building, supplement the in-person fairs, and create necessary added value. However, they are no substitute for direct contact with other people.
Trade fairs are not “business as usual.” They need to captivate visitors and create unforgettable impressions that continue to have an effect long after the actual event. The experience creates a strong connection between exhibitors, visitors, and the recurring exhibition format. This requires new ideas and new sources of information that are ultimately generated through the networking and exchange on our platforms. Messe München’s strategic vision—Creating amazing experiences for your future business—says it all.
A world-leading trade fair for construction machinery and a leisure fair for consumers are two very different events with different target groups, which is why completely different approaches need to be taken in their conceptualization.
The trade fair of the future requires individualized, innovative concepts tailored to the needs and desires of customers, the industry and visitors. A prime example is the Open Space in the city of Munich during IAA MOBILITY. The trade fair was right next to where people actually live, creating vivid impressions in the process. A mobile future you can touch. The development and implementation of new concepts and formats have long outgrown the laboratory stage in Munich: trade fairs are already setting new benchmarks in real life.
When progress takes shape at trade shows, it usually affects more than just the players in a single industry. In a globalized world, megatrends such as digitalization, mobility, sustainability, megacities, and migration affect everybody. This is why opportunities for dialogue need to be created at these trade fairs that make all voices heard, including— and especially—the critical ones. The future belongs to all of us, and each and every person must have the opportunity to engage with innovations.
Citizen participation is a crucial factor to the acceptance of future trade fairs. Here, too, IAA MOBILITY employed a number of different formats to set new standards, in- cluding the Citizens Lab set up on Marienplatz. Any passer- by was able to experience and contribute to a citizens’ dialogue in front of Munich’s City Hall. A summit held on the fairgrounds brought together leaders from the business, scientific and political communities. It gave them an opportunity to talk about future mobility concepts and served as a platform for global debate. Active agenda-setting takes place at such summits, and social debates will be fueled and continued 24/7 on platforms that are active 365 days a year—both analog and digital.
Networking frequently provides an ideal opportunity for business. The trade fair of the future will therefore serve more as a meeting place for people than as an exhibition venue with multiple halls. Expo Real in October 2021 testified to the importance of in-person fairs. It was the first time that the European real estate industry came together again since the pandemic began, and enthusiasm for the face-to-face meeting was palpable at all times. The participants particularly appreciated the numerous high-caliber contacts. Even after productronica in November, visitors and exhibitors came to the same conclusion: there is no substitute for personal contact.
Multidisciplinary approaches are becoming increasingly important, as hardly any industry functions in isolation anymore. Everything is networked with everything else, with the corresponding effects. Global exchange of know-ledge is playing an increasingly important role. This practice is also being brought to life by the cross-industry women’s network “Connect Women” at Messe München. Messe München’s claim—Connecting Global Competence— formulated this years ago. The best in the world must come together to move the world forward. And a trade fair is the ideal platform for this.
Sustainability must not be a necessary evil at trade shows. Sustainability is not an aspect or a department. It is a state of mind. An attitude that is at the start of all responsible thought and action and permeates everything down to the last detail. Sustainability principles must be consistently implemented in every situation. This is the new normal.
By their very nature, trade fairs produce huge volumes of waste in a very short time and require exceedingly large quantities of energy. Nevertheless, climate-neutral trade fairs are possible and necessary. We aim to develop these with our strategic “Green Footprint” program. Our goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 at the latest.
The future is shaped at trade fairs. This future is never personal; it always concerns a larger circle of people, and—in the case of quite a few topics—the whole of humanity. Trade fairs therefore have a global impact on society as a whole. This is the reason we will continue to expand our global portfolios around major leading trade fairs, focusing on China and India, and there also at several locations. In addition, we will promote cluster-driven, active, opportunistic portfolio management in other countries. Wherever opportunities arise, we intend to have them on our radar quickly and consistently take advantage of them.
Our platforms serve to gather people from all over the world in a single location. Each individual trade show should be accessible to the entire world from its location so that knowledge and innovations can be shared without wasting time. This is made possible by hybrid event concepts that enrich a strong face-to-face event with numerous digital satellites, ideally connecting people around the clock, every day of the year. Thus, a megatrend such as sustainability, for example, is not only strengthened but also nourished by continuous progress. A perfect example for this is IFAT, which has evolved into a global network that drives environmental technologies worldwide with 90 live trade fairs in Europe, China, and India.
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