The future is hybrid
The interzum team has a clear goal: to create tomorrow’s living spaces together at interzum from 4 to 7 May 2021. The challenge facing them is the dynamic development of the coronavirus pandemic and its repercussions for market participants. Their response to it is equally clear: The world’s leading trade fair for furniture production and interior construction will develop spaces for the future – on-site and online.
The preparations for interzum 2021 are entering the next phase right on schedule. Even though the total registrations for interzum are on target, for the interzum team, it is currently a case of continuing to rigorously refine the event’s concept while responding agilely and dynamically to both positive and negative changes. “We are constantly facing new challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Matthias Pollmann, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse. “On one hand, the development of the pandemic will ultimately determine how interzum presents itself, although we can already say that the look and feel of the next edition of the trade fair will be very different from the last interzum – we have to be honest about that. On the other hand, the development of a coronavirus vaccine is advancing rapidly, and many scientists reckon that we could have a vaccine by as early as the start of the year, which would certainly have a lasting positive impact on the situation,” says Pollmann, commenting on the current level of registrations. “Even though experiencing a trade fair in person is and will continue to be something special and an essential element of the event, developments over the last few weeks and in particular recent feedback from our clients have shown that we have to think hybrid,” he adds.
The strategic focus of interzum@home is on increasing digital reach. Digital components are the logical extension of the physical showcase in the trade fair halls. “This will enable our trade fairs to extend their reach beyond in-person attendees and make contact with a global audience. Broadly speaking, knowledge and content are the focus online, while experience and the social aspect are the priorities at the venue in Cologne, but the boundaries and links between them are naturally always fluid. And networking is the connecting element between offline and online,” says Maik Fischer, Director of interzum, outlining the event’s concept. He emphasises one point: “However, it does require willingness on the part of our clients to rethink trade fairs.” With this expansion of interzum into the digital sphere, Koelnmesse is very much on trend. A significant 82 per cent of exhibitors expect to see a push towards hybrid trade fairs and digital elements according to the Global Exhibition Barometer, published by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
The community platform – networking made easy
As digital exhibitors, interzum@home participants will have the opportunity to showcase their products with visual and textual information in their exclusive showrooms and to raise their company’s profile further, for instance by embedding video content. Exhibitors will be able to present content on trends, innovations, products and their businesses to a relevant audience on digital stages or in workshops, while special networking features in the form of chats, videotelephony and digital meetings will allow them to forge deeper relationships.
Building new contacts through digital networking
An important goal of the new platform is to foster digital networking. interzum@home offers diverse options for selecting new and existing contacts, connecting with them and thereby developing new target groups. The new Discovery Graph is an opportunity for users to network in the true sense of the term: The tool visualises all the participants and their connections to each other, enabling users to establish connections with interesting contacts with a targeted approach. In addition, various filters can be used to find relevant contacts among both visitors and exhibitors. Focused chats and specific appointment and contact enquiries are a means for users to hold one-on-one conversations or to invite selected groups to exchange ideas. To complement direct communication with visitors, interzum@home offers exhibitors a unique approach for generating leads: They can select specific visitor data in their exhibitor profile. The exhibitor’s sales team, for instance, can then approach all the visitors that have viewed the company’s profile on interzum@home. With these possibilities, networking is easier than ever before, and its reach unparalleled.
The future is hybrid
Hybrid events will stream the action at the trade fair venue around the world in online-friendly formats, enriching the industry event with additional digital offerings and extended availability online. The template for success that trade fairs have always followed is being expanded, not replaced. The action at the trade fair venue will continue to be the cornerstone of the event and creates pull as a temporary meeting place for entire industries. In keeping with the guiding idea behind interzum, the trade fair will come together with the industry in May next year to create tomorrow’s living spaces, on-site and online.Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Furniture, Interiors and Design: Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of furnishing, living and lifestyle. At the trade fair hub of Cologne, the leading international fair imm cologne as well as the trade fair formats of LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, interzum and Kind + Jugend rank among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the upholstered and case furniture segment, the kitchen industry, the office furniture sector and outdoor living as well as the innovations of the furniture supply industry. Over the last few years, Koelnmesse has specifically added international fairs in the most important fast-expanding markets to its portfolio. These include idd Shanghai, interzum bogotá in Bogotá, interzum guangzhou in Guangzhou and Pueri Expo in Sao Paulo. With ambista, the online portal for the interiors business, Koelnmesse offers direct access to products, contacts, expertise and events relevant to the industry all year round.