The German economy is currently experiencing considerable declines in sales due to the corona pandemic. Investments and private purchases are often postponed or even cancelled. At the same time, the trade fair industry, otherwise the most important instrument of business-to-business communication, has difficulties getting back on track, partly because many exhibiting companies are now asking themselves: do we rely on trade fair participation to get our own business going? Or do we rather prefer waiting until the industry recovers, because then the success of the trade fair will probably be greater and other basic conditions will have improved?
For Philip Harting, Chairman of AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry and himself an entrepreneur, the matter is clear: “The principle is: Whoever dares wins. Anyone who bets on trade fairs in the coming months will have an earlier chance than others to receive a direct, unfiltered response to innovations, because at trade fairs customers can check and test the product. Once the customer is convinced of the quality, he simply decides faster. Winning new customers in particular is extremely difficult with the help of digital formats. Many companies have experienced this in recent weeks and months. Along the way an exhibitor also gets valuable advice for the enhancement of his products”. And, according to Harting, those who exhibit at trade shows find suitable cooperation partners faster, both professionally and personally, to help them weather the crisis better. Last but not least, he says, one can initiate urgently needed business deals, perhaps not as extensive as usual, but small orders often enough turn into large ones in the medium term.
Trade fairs offer just as great a benefit to visitors in the current situation. The AUMA Chairman: “Tradeisitors can personally negotiate with potential new suppliers at an early stage, experience technology and design innovations earlier than others. And they may find suggestions on how retailer can inspire hesitant consumers”.
Incidentally, according to AUMA, the German trade fair organizers have developed exemplary concepts for the health protection of participants in coordination with the health authorities. Participation in a trade fair can be compared with everyday situations in traffic, trade or leisure. Travel conditions have also improved considerably since the beginning of July. International air traffic has increased significantly and it is now possible to enter Germany from the Schengen states and several other countries. These countries account for approximately 70% of the usual volume of foreign visitors at German trade fairs.