Study: The future of the trade fair is... physical!

Physical trade shows have gone through a period of enormous challenges. What does their future look like? A new study has now investigated that.

Image: Koelnmesse / Orgatec.

What does the future of the trade fair look like? What goals do exhibitors pursue with trade show participation? And how can the trade fair teams best support their exhibitors in optimally designing their trade fair experience? Koelnmesse addressed these and other questions about the future of the trade fair in a science project in cooperation with the University of Münster. The results show: The physical trade fair format is still desired by exhibitors.

Opportunity for 365-day platforms

"The current crises have presented the trade show business model with enormous challenges. We are called upon to permanently prove the effectiveness of the trade show format in practice with creative solutions," says Cologne's head of trade shows, Gerald Böse. As part of the dissertation by Victoria Kramer, a doctoral student at the Institute of Marketing under the supervision of Professor Dr. Manfred Krafft, the acceptance of digital trade show formats developed in times of pandemic was investigated.

At the same time, the possibilities for the joint development of new formats in the exchange between trade fair companies and exhibitors were explored. The evaluation of extensive surveys shows that companies consider parallel physical and digital events to be very complex. Instead, the digital formats tested in recent years are seen as an opportunity for 365-day platforms. The following applies: Both the physical events and the digital offerings, which are independent of time, require a clear industry focus.

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