Dr. Klusak, this September Messe Frankfurt is hosting its first-ever hybrid Automechanika and Hypermotion – with both events taking place at the same time. What advantages does this hybrid concept offer?
Quite simply, this concept gives exhibitors and visitors the chance after this long break to finally have the in-person trade fair experience they want – with face-to-face business encounters in a safe environment in accordance with the currently applicable hygiene and safety regulations. There is a huge demand for get-togethers in the ‘real’ world – this was revealed not only by a survey of our customers, but also by two recent Messe Frankfurt trade fairs, Nordstil in Hamburg and Eurobico in Frankfurt.
At the same time, the upcoming events promise to deliver maximum international reach, because everyone who is unable or unwilling to travel to Frankfurt will have an opportunity to stream the entire programme live and network with visitors and exhibitors in Frankfurt via our digital event platform. Our sales partners and subsidiaries around the globe have been supporting our efforts with numerous marketing and communication measures, while international trade media outlets have been doing their part to let our customers know about our new hybrid event format. Whenever new formats are introduced, people need to be told about what they entail, and it takes time and a wide range of ideas to make the benefits and advantages of the new event formats clear to all.
What are some of the possibilities available to exhibitors to present their companies and products to the trade audience?
Most of the companies who have already registered as exhibitors are going the conventional route and exhibiting on site on the exhibition grounds. Even so, it is also possible to only participate digitally. For this year’s in-person exhibition, Automechanika has developed a ‘plug-and-play’ stand concept that not only reduces the preparation required, but also minimises costs and risks. In addition, for the first time these companies will also have numerous opportunities available to present their companies and products on our digital event platform. It is the first time new products can be presented as a live stream. Digital matchmaking suggests suitable contacts and programme content. In addition, the platform offers a scheduling tool and the opportunity for live chats and one-to-one video calls that make it possible to network with everyone taking part from outside Frankfurt. Exhibitors can also invite people to participate in roundtables through the platform – ideal opportunities to talk and share views with a select group of new and potential customers. In addition, the content of the company profile – which can now be updated 24/7 – stays online even after the in-person event has concluded: most of the on-demand videos, product information and company profiles for this year's Automechanika Digital Plus and Hypermotion will remain online until the end of September. Much of this will still be found on the event websites even after that – allowing exhibiting firms to maintain their presence there until the start of the next event cycle.
Can trade visitors join the event in person on one day and take place digitally on another?
Yes, they can. While the dated single-day ticket is only valid to visit the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt on the specified date, it entitles trade visitors to log into the event online on all three days of the trade fair and follow the supporting programme live from their homes. Digital matchmaking and one-to-one networking opportunities are available from 14 to 16 September. Most of the content will still be available for another two weeks thereafter – until 30 September. I think that is part of what makes the event special: Automechanika in Frankfurt has frequently been described as almost a ‘class reunion’, and people will certainly prefer to see their ‘old friends’ in video format if they are unable to make it to the event in person this year.
So Automechanika and Hypermotion are taking place both in person on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds and digitally. It sounds like there will be a lot of content available through a variety of channels. How can Messe Frankfurt ensure that as an event participant, I do not miss anything with so many opportunities available?
We are inviting exhibitors and visitors to familiarise themselves with the platform even before the event has started. There are already various podcasts and explanatory videos available detailing the digital features on offer. Starting from 31 August, exhibiting companies will be able to fine-tune their content on the digital platform and get ready for their presentation during the event itself. Visitors can start familiarising themselves with the programme a week before the event kicks off, i.e. from 7 September. Unlike in years past, this year the intelligent algorithm will be able to assist in filtering everything on offer to find the most interesting events and features. This year we have taken our familiar event calendar and integrated it directly into the platform – as a result, everything on offer at the trade fair is clearly structured according to individual stages, conferences and topics.
Speaking of communication: digital event platforms are still a relatively new phenomenon, and participants need to have a chance to find their way. How are you helping exhibitors and participants to do this?
As mentioned previously, we understand that people are going to have a lot of questions whenever there are new event formats, and we never tire of explaining the ins and outs of this new form of trade fair participation.
We have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue with exhibitors at both events for some six months now – this includes speaking with them directly and through emails – to explain the digital component in particular. Everyone has different needs in this regard – some people expect to be led through the whole process personally, some require explanations of each individual possibility available for presentation or networking, while others might prefer to listen to a podcast or watch a click dummy video that guides them through the digital platform. All of these efforts are bearing fruit. With the summer holidays coming to a close, we will begin targeting visitor groups in earnest. Now – particularly during the time of the pandemic – people are waiting until shortly before a trade fair takes place to decide whether or not they wish to participate. We have to remain flexible. A great deal is being done online and through social media.
We are only a few weeks away from the start of Automechanika and Hypermotion. Do you have any tips or important information on how event participants can use the remaining time to prepare?
They should start getting the information they need by visiting the event websites and checking out the ‘Themes & Events ’ section. What are the conferences, workshops and presentations that are must-see events for them?
They should also be sure to download the free event app.
People should also enter the following dates into their calendars: exhibitors can access the platform from 31 August and visitors will be able to do so from 7 September.
After that, it is time to get to work with onboarding and with planning each individual day of the event.
Dr. Klusak, thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
> to Automechanika Digital Plus Website
> to Hypermotion Website
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