IEN Europe: What digital services are you offering to exhibitors and visitors to benefit from HM20, even in times of corona?
O. Ogbukagu: The primary digital service for exhibitors and visitors is the online product and company search at www.hannovermesse.com. It is an efficient way for visitors to identify the relevant products and solutions and then contact the corresponding provider. For exhibitors, it provides a 24/7 virtual showcase for their goods and services.
IEN Europe: You have launched the hashtags #HM20 and #WHATWEWOULDHAVESHOWN to digitally revive HM on social media. What does it mean? What’s the objective of this action?
O. Ogbukagu: The objective is to increase awareness of the search tool and database I mentioned in the answer to your first question. Even though Hannover Messe cannot take place this year, we want to keep alive the spirit of the event digitally. Currently, our website hosts the profiles of more than 4,000 exhibiting companies, more than 10,000 of their products and services as well as 400 product premieres and more than 100 R&D projects.
IEN Europe: How are companies and visitors responding to these digital initiatives?
O. Ogbukagu: So many customers and partners are responding that it is almost overwhelming. The unfortunate but necessary cancellation of Hannover Messe is not only a huge business loss for all participants, but also a very emotional one because it has never happened before now.
IEN Europe: Do you think that digital networking will be more important also after this health crisis?
O. Ogbukagu: We are already seeing how quickly people have adapted to digital solutions such as mobile office, teleconferencing, web meetups, etc. At the same time, I think this crisis is emphasizing how important personal contact is. Most of us can hardly wait to be back in the office, working together to organize a fantastic Hannover Messe next year.
IEN Europe: What have you learned from this experience? How could the world of trade events benefit from this historical moment to gain momentum for the future?
O. Ogbukagu: According to many experts, this crisis could last up to two years, so I think the event industry is currently just trying to stabilize itself. In Germany, most companies do not even know when their employees can return to the office. The first lesson learned is that that we have to be prepared for similar force majeure events in the future.
IEN Europe: Hannover Messe will finally take place next year, from April 12 to 16. What will be the main highlights? Could you give us a preview?
O. Ogbukagu: For 2021, we will have the same lead theme, Industrial Transformation. We will also have a similar exhibition program, but as far as special events, conferences, forums etc., it is too early to say.
Hannover Messe will come back next year from April 12 to 16, 2021!