Exhibitors back the return of trade shows

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With trade shows around the world cancelled for the past 18 months, German trade fair giant Messe Frankfurt says an overwhelming number of exhibitors are itching to get back to them. Its latest customer survey found that 97 per cent of companies want to continue participating in trade fairs.

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Known as the Customer Care Campaign (CCC), the survey was first conducted in autumn 2020 and then repeated in spring 2021.

Companies expressed clear approval of the additional digital benefits offered by hybrid trade fair formats during the pandemic in particular. However, the survey revealed that people want – and need – in-person trade fairs.

Wolfgang Marzin, president and chief executive officer of Messe Frankfurt, shared his interpretation of the findings, saying: “This is a clear vote of confidence for in-person events. Only three per cent of respondents wanted to see events move entirely online. In fact, 67 per cent of our customers would like events to take place solely in person, with another 30 per cent expressing a preference for hybrid formats. In total, 97 per cent of our customers remain convinced that in-person events are an essential component of trade fairs.”

The response rate was also impressive, with some 59,000 companies taking part in the survey.

In person trade expos have been off the agenda since March last year, with a host print trade shows, including drupa and PacPrint, cancelled or postponed. They are now starting up again, in a limited way, Labeexpo Americas will run, but at about half its normal size. Fespa will run in October, again a slimmed down version.

Next year should see the widespread return of the trade show. The big German Messe Centres have been hard hit, and will have suffered virtually no income for two years.

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