This year’s Automechanika Frankfurt, which had already been postponed from 2019, will become a ‘Digital Plus’ event, with the physical show pushed back again to 2022.
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the peak of a third-wave in Germany, questions were raised at the start of the year about the viability of big events in the country during 2021. Therefore, Automechanika will now offer participants the opportunity to network digitally, reducing trade fair preparations to a minimum.
The physical event will now take place at Messe Frankfurt on September 13th-17th next year.
The new concept offers companies a range of presentation formats from which to choose, as well as various networking lounges where in-person business encounters can take place in accordance with the applicable coronavirus protection measures. Companies that are unable to travel to Frankfurt due to travel restrictions can present their products on a digital platform, where they will also be able to meet and network with visitors digitally.
As there may be travel restrictions in place during September, this means businesses can still take part in the event and reach out to a global audience, even if they, or said audience, are not there in person. Exhibitors can live stream their latest products and innovation, while the opportunities are present for ‘digital matchmaking’, live chats and 1:1 video calls. Videos and presentations will also be hosted on the event’s website for viewing at a later date.
“As a result of the continuing difficulties posed by the pandemic, we will not be able to satisfy our customers’ expectations for a leading international trade fair this September,” commented Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. “Not only does the event require official approvals, but it also has to be possible to travel internationally. Yet this does not change the automotive industry’s need for a platform where they can do business this year – and our customers and industry associations agree.”
Automechanika Frankfurt is not the only big automotive event due to take place in Germany this year. The IAA motor show is scheduled to begin life at its new home in Munich during September.
While there has been no word on whether it will take place, organisers are rumoured to be considering a similar ‘hybrid’ event, with a small physical and large digital presence. With COVID-19 reaching the peak of a third-wave of infections across the continent, it is unlikely any large events will take place this year.
Shows could look to follow the path that CES 2021 took. The big consumer electronics show went ‘online only’ this year, with digital presentations and Q&A sessions held virtually. However, while providing some interesting information, much was missed, as exhibitors who did not have presentations about new products and services were hidden away in a smaller section of the site.
Online events offer much in terms of practicality – no travel and timings to suit you. However, they also offer a blinkered approach, with the ability to see interesting items as you browse exhibition halls lost. It will therefore be another strange year for aftermarket events on the continent this year.