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Expo Real Hybrid 2020 cancelled at short notice

Where is the future of trade fairs if even hybrid formats fail? Now with statements of the fair management

Since Monday it has been clear that the doors of the ICM will not open for Expo Real 2020.
/ Photo: map

Munich (October 16, 2020). As hospitalityInside reported in Breaking News on Monday evening, the Expo Real Hybrid Summit planned for 14-15 October 2020 "was cancelled at short notice due to the currently worsening Covid-19 situation in Munich". Numerous participants had previously announced that they would not be attending the event, according to the fair's official announcement. On Wednesday afternoon, Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München, joined a virtual meeting of in which 35 executives listened in, including exhibitors of the "World of Hospitality" and Expo Real visitors. You will find Stefan Rummel's statements in a box at the end of this article.

The ban on overnight stays in Bavaria for guests from high-risk areas within Germany had already led to massive uncertainty among participants and exhibitors since last Thursday. When Munich was been declared a risk area on Monday, the situation obviously escalated every hour. The erosion turned into a landslide because speakers and participants now wanted to forgo a trip to Munich and the first exhibitors signalled that they might not want to show up with their stand teams. At least that is how we read it after our conversation with the trade fair and with reference to the trade fair announcement.

According to the PR manager of Expo Real, there were 36 exhibitors on site, 20 startups and 9 digital exhibitors (8 of which were also on site). Via the partners of the presentation areas, 155 logo partners have still registered. All in all, around 220 exhibitors were listed. Today, Tuesday, around 1,000 people were listed in the visitor directory of the fair.

Even the hybrid conference had to die

The cancellation affects both the live event and the digital part of the Summit. "Since both formats of the Hybrid Summit are interlinked and mutually dependent, even a purely digital event would not have made sense under these circumstances," says the trade fair release - which is difficult to understand for insiders and those who have already organised hybrid and/or digital events themselves. The few participants who would have sat live on stage at the conference forums could actually have been lifted to the virtual level via digital link.

The consequences for the real estate industry and the trade fair landscape in Germany are not foreseeable. Eyes are once again turning to the governments. Yesterday morning (12 Oct) Rhineland-Palatinate overturned the ban on overnight stays, which was supposed to come into force there yesterday. Confusing rules and unprofessional communication, which fuels fears among the population and prevents economically necessary behaviour, are not helping anyone.

And the hotel industry is once again suffering along with them. The fact that Munich's second most important trade fair is not taking place hits them once again. And yet the industry is already on its knees anyway. Three bridging aids that even the supporting hotel groups cannot reach, almost daily new instructions, controls and threats of punishment from a regulatory chaos of the federal states and currently also accommodation bans. In short: it is a catastrophe.

  World of Hospitality 2020 Rendering
  Small but nice: The "World of Hospitality" digital joint stand at
Expo Real 2020 - cancelled at short notice.
/ Rendering: meplan

It's a vote of confidence
for 2021

The frustration around the Munich fair lake is tangible. Not only for Messe München and the Expo Real project team. The hotels in the surrounding area were also pleased with the trade fair guests, a piece of recurring normality. With sophisticated hygiene concepts, they all made the trade fair centre and the hotels the safest places in Germany. 

The damage that has now been done to the Expo Real brand will only be measurable in concrete terms when the 2021 fair is set up. The trust that the trade fair company has earned in the run-up to the event through a professionally implemented protection and hygiene concept has dwindled considerably with the extremely short notice of only one and a half days for cancellation.

Now the exhibitors are assessing their damage, even if some show understanding for the difficult decision the management had to make in the social media. The press release therefore already proactively stated: "Messe München will promptly reimburse the fees paid for the participation in the exhibition and for the tickets".

What are the consequences, what must happen now?  We will discuss this with our trade fair partners in a live conference on Wednesday – in short distance to the fair. And of course we will inform you as always in our current issue. More on this Friday, 16 October, in hospitalityInside magazine. / map


THE ARGUMENTS by Stefan Rummel, Managing Director Messe München,
on the cancellation of Expo Real: Statements from a video call with HospitalityInside and 35 participants on Wednesday, 14 October 2020.

Many mayors and regional managers have decided not to send their employees to the trade fair in order to protect them.

We have a product that consists of our exhibitors and the visitors. If the key players, the cities and municipalities, decide not to send their employees to the fair, we have no product. If they send their staff, we can run the fair infection-free, there is no question about that.

We have opted for an offline component and online additions. We interweaved the content so strongly offline and online that within two days we were not able to display all the content online. If you have a panel discussion also in the form of a workshop, you need a different platform than for a purely online event. A zoom channel is not enough. We saw it at Bits & Pretzels [a conference for start-ups], they did it very well, but that was a completely different software platform. We were very, very confident that we would be able to hold these events.

We had so many forums and so much content, 180 topics, where the question arose, which one to take. That was basically the crux of the matter, why we said two days is not enough to re-curate this.

Our customers say we definitely want this hybrid model so that we can get someone on board quickly. Perhaps we will have smaller fairs, more digitalised fairs, digital stands, where big exhibits used to be shown. Personal contact cannot be digitised. If you want to build trust, you have to be able to look each other in the eye.

We do trade fairs, in China six or seven, like "Bauma China" [meanwhile the largest capital goods fair in Asia and the second largest construction machinery fair in the world] with twice the number of halls of Expo Real.


The ban on accommodation in Germany

As a Berliner, you are allowed to commute to Brandenburg on business,
but do not spend your holidays there.

In Bavaria, people from risk areas are not allowed to take holidays
unless they are also from Bavaria.

And if you live in Cologne, you are not allowed to go to Mainz, but vice versa.

Once you've read the 700 most important rules on the ban on accommodation,
it's actually quite easy to understand.

Source: heuteShow


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