Return as soon as possible: Koelnmesse set to...
Return as soon as possible

Koelnmesse set to restart after a difficult year

Photo: Koelnmesse

As soon as it gets approval from the authorities, Koelnmesse wants to host events at its exhibition site in Cologne as quickly as possible. IDS, the International Dental Show (September 22 to 25), will be the first, followed by the food fair Anuga (October 9 to 13). The ban on events has driven Koelnmesse to the limits of resilience. For the exhibition company, the inability to do business has resulted in a slump in sales and sizeable losses for the years 2020 and 2021.

The economic losses resulting from the pandemic are serious: Sales for 2020 amounted to EUR 94.3 million, resulting in a net loss of EUR 109.6 million. In the record year 2019, Koelnmesse generated sales of EUR 413 million and turned a profit of more than EUR 30 million. For 2021, the executives forecast sales considerably short of EUR 200 million and another a three-figure net loss.

The belief in the future remains unbroken, says Gerald Böse, chairman of the board of management of Koelnmesse. "The crisis drives us. It has ignited our creativity, motivated us to come up with new ideas, and accelerated digital developments." In terms of digital technology, the pandemic had put Koelnmesse where it did not expect to be for another three or four years. Within a very short time, the company had generated and implemented digital exhibition concepts and business models and developed hybrid formats and year-round concepts.
„The crisis drives has accelerated digital developments.“
Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse
Oliver Frese, who as chief operating officer is responsible for portfolio development at Koelnmesse, sees significant changes in the structure of the events: "In recent months, we have been even more dedicated than ever to developing hybrid and digital trade show experiences all the way through to a year-round online presence for our trade fair brands. Our digital events have set standards in their respective sectors and made us a true digital trade fair pioneer. Turnover generated with digital components currently still lags behind that of physical trade fairs. Which is why the company is actively working to "develop even more profitable digital services for our customers in the future." The events starting in September, including IDS and Anuga, are planned as hybrid formats. Frese: "Even if the first on-site trade fairs do not have the same dimensions and level of global internationality as in the past, the main thing is that we return to the scene as soon as possible! Our digital offerings will compensate for a lot in terms of reach."