About results of 2020
As for the whole exhibition industry, for us, 2020 was a test of endurance. Messe Frankfurt RUS holds 15 exhibitions and forums annually, and each of these projects requires serious preparation. The leading trade fair for the bakery and confectionery markets, Modern Bakery, was supposed to open the exhibition season in March 2020, but due to the rapidly deteriorating situation, we had to postpone it. At the end of the year, we held three online exhibitions and numerous webinars.
How Messe Frankfurt GmbH management react to pandemic
In terms of financial figures, 2019 was the most successful year in Messe Frankfurt's history as an exhibition company. We showed revenue of € 736 million.
At the beginning of the year 2020, the company's top management formed an anti-crisis plan, coordinated with the shareholders and the trade union. These measures include 1. Maintaining Messe Frankfurt's expertise throughout the world. 2. Strengthening communications with clients, participants, multipliers using new technologies. 3. Meeting the financial needs of the company before returning to the pre-pandemic exhibition regime.
Human and economic resources which helped to go through 2020
A person working in the exhibition industry is a specific type of personality. It leaves an imprint on all aspects of life. We used to live in the future, and when the exhibition starts, all our activities and plans are focused on the next edition. There was a similar situation with the pandemic - after assessing the prospects, we quickly began to work on changes that allowed the company to successfully develop in the new realities. There is no time for specialists in this industry to become discouraged.
About new work approaches and novelties in 2020 (объединяем с вопросом 4, кратко)
Like many colleagues in the industry, we also gained our own online experience. In autumn, we held three online exhibitions - Heimtextil Russia, ROSMOULD / ROSPLAST, MIMS Automechanika Moscow, and a large number of online conferences. For my part, I can say that it was an extremely beneficial experience for all of us. I'm sure the online format is a great way to bridge the distance and engage a much wider audience in an event. I am convinced that this can be a useful addition to an offline exhibition, primarily due to a high-quality visitor audience.
About transparency in work with customers
In the exhibition business, you have to be able to negotiate. Of course, our exhibitors were very worried about the risk of postponing events at the very last moment. We have informed our customers promptly about all measures taken by the government against COVID-19. Messe Frankfurt always conducts a transparent information policy, informing participants and visitors about the exhibition's news, especially in this challenging time. As for working with exhibitors, here we strictly follow the law and the rules of participation in exhibitions. At the request of companies, we refunded prepayments or postponed them to the next year by agreement. Our task was to find the optimal solution for each client and maintain trust. After all, markets do not grow so fast, and many new players do not appear on them every year.
Forecast for the exhibition industry
The pandemic has accelerated the consolidation process in the exhibition market. It was seen before, but now the partnership for many is the only way to stay on the market. In general, the situation may develop as follows - the pandemic forced all market players to reconsider their business approaches.
It seems that organizing an online event is much easier and cheaper. It requires an excellent understanding of human psychology and how the brain works. Keeping an audience at an online event is much more difficult. A simple example is focusing on offline and online exhibitions. Walking through the exhibition hall, the human brain will perceive and process information differently than sitting at a computer.
As Messe Frankfurt, we are also changing the way we work. Now we are working on a new strategy for organizing omnichannel exhibitions. It is impossible to remain the same, but it is also impossible to cross out all the previous experience, so we are looking for an opportunity to combine this and make our projects stronger and more interesting for clients.
Role of exhibitions in the economic recovery
The pandemic has objectively shown that exhibitions are not only a product that stimulates trade but much more. The possibility of face-to-face meetings, visual presentation, and sale of your product - much of this is not available in the virtual world.
Many hoped that the exhibitions would soon disappear. But now the trend is reversed. Unable to meet and conduct business in a familiar environment, companies are increasingly showing interest in exhibitions 2021-2022. The pandemic helped re-evaluate the importance of the exhibition as a business platform. Another example is our exhibitions in China. Despite the strict security measures, the need to spend two weeks in isolation, exhibitions are held regularly, attracting many visitors and participants. Isn't this the best indicator of the importance of exhibitions?
Perspective exhibition destinations in Russia
Moscow generates a large part of the exhibition turnover it has historically happened. But there are other promising areas, too. First of all, St. Petersburg and Krasnodar. Colleagues from Expoforum make high-quality events the venue employs as a traditional platform for holding the leading international events.
A new exhibition centre "Expograd Yug" was recently opened in Krasnodar. It is a modern venue with excellent infrastructure for holding events of any format. Messe Frankfurt RUS is strengthening its presence in the southern federal district, and our representative works in Krasnodar.
Another promising location is Yekaterinburg. This is a city with great potential for the exhibition industry.
About plans for 2021
Some industries are currently on the rise. For example, additive technologies, mechanical engineering, digital construction. For example, the exhibition of traditional and additive manufacturing ROSMOULD has been showing steady growth for several years in a row. Russian companies attract great interest at international trade fairs. There are topics that will always be at the top - this, of course, is the food industry, more specifically, baking. Modern Bakery Moscow trade fair for bakery and confectionery will open our exhibition season 2021.
I would also like to mention the Moscow Chocolate Salon, which will take place in the fall of 2021. This's a unique format for combining B2B and B2C, where each participant will be able to present their products to a wide range of customers - from business partners and distributors to end consumers.
About European and Russian exhibition markets
In principle, they are similar. For both the Russian and European exhibition business, travel bans and closed borders are currently the main problems. Our foreign colleagues are under big pressure, as their visitor audience is more international. We have strong connections with visitors from the regions. Otherwise, the situations are the same.