September 29 2020

Best Practice: Restarting Business Events in Germany

The meetings destination Germany is in the middle of its restart. In compliance with hygiene and safety regulations and with a variety of new ideas and concepts, business events are taking place again in many places. Depending on the federal state and whether the event takes place indoors or outdoors, meetings, conferences and congresses can be held with several hundred, sometimes up to 1,000 people. Trade fairs are back as well. We have put together some best practices of recent or soon-to-happen trade fairs and business events in Germany.

Messe München successfully staged its first guest events

© SMX 2020

Messe München started off with its first two guest events in early September: The Search Marketing Expo SMX at ICM - International Congress Center Munich and the FABRIC DAYS at MOC Veranstaltungscenter München. The organizers of SMX, Germany's largest search marketing conference, used the technology provided by ICM and ran SMX on September 1st and 2nd as a hybrid event for the very first time. The organizer left it up to the guests to choose whether they wanted to participate in person or virtually. Attendees on site committed themselves to comply with the comprehensive hygiene and safety measures that were developed in cooperation with Messe München. FABRIC DAYS, a trade fair for the textile industry, took place from September 1st to 3rd on the premises of the MOC Veranstaltungscenter München as an analogous format in compliance with hygiene and safety regulations.

Hybrid annual conference in the Congress Center Leipzig early September

© Leipziger Messe

In early September, the German Society of Phlebology (DGP) met at Congress Center Leipzig (CCL), a venue of the Leipziger Messe. Thanks to generous room concepts, extensive hygiene and safety measures and possibility of virtual attendance, DGP was able to welcome about 800 colleagues to its annual meeting: 600 participants on site and another 200 guests from all over the world in the livestream. The video of the event, produced by CCL, shows that one highlight for many participants of the congress was the personal encounter. Daniel Metzler, who was responsible for implementing the congress with his event management agency wikonect, concludes: "Everything seems impossible until someone just does it".

Mainz Congress - Hybrid concept for IT congress JAX in Mainz

© mainzplus CITYMARKETING

New times call for new formats: At the international IT congress JAX, which took place in Mainz from September 7th to 11th, a total of 300 participants spread over four venues: Rheingoldhalle, Jockel-Fuchs-Saal as a mobile building, Kurfürstliches Schloss and the Hilton Hotel. JAX - the largest independent conference for Java, architecture and software innovation - has been meeting in Mainz for the last twelve years. However, this year only 300 attendees could be admitted on site instead of the usual 2,000. Additional participants were digitally connected to the event. All participants could make their choice before the event: either attend the congress live on site or join online. The Corona-compliant setup in the four locations included keeping a safe distance to other guests, wearing masks, meeting appropriate hygiene standards, and following a certain route guidance.

Estrel Berlin - 1,000 guests from all over the world hosted Corona-compliant

© Estrel Berlin

In conjunction with the ABB FIA Formula E Championship series, the Estrel Berlin demonstrated what Corona-compliant hospitality can look like for over 1,000 guests from all over the world. Between 5th and 13th of August 2020, the 24 drivers of the racing series completed a total of six races on the grounds of the former Berlin-Tempelhof airport and were accommodated at the Estrel with their teams during this time. The Estrel’s team, together with the organizer, devised solutions enabling the complex logistics of the project. The sheer number of guests and variety of their places of origin meant that each person would have to first undergo a mandatory corona test before check-in. After the test, each guest was required to remain in their hotel room for 24 hours until the result was available. One of the official requirements for the approval of the event was that the approximately 1,000 guests were allowed only to be on the grounds of the Tempelhofer Feld or at the hotel. For the Estrel team, this meant serving the guests not only breakfast but also dinner, Corona-compliant, in its various restaurants and bars. To minimize contact between individuals, four fixed groups were created with the aim that they should intersect as infrequently as possible during their entire stay within the hotel.

Hypermotion 2020 will be Messe Frankfurt's first hybrid event

© Messe Frankfurt Exhibition; Pietro Sutera

Hypermotion takes place from November 10th to 12th, 2020 - on site in Frankfurt and simultaneously in virtual space. In a mix of trade fair, conferences, tech talks and start-up pitches, Hypermotion brings together all modes of transport to develop new business models for traffic, transportation, infrastructure, mobility, and logistics. All contents will be streamed live, and selected sessions will also be made available after the event. One of the top speakers is whistleblower Edward Snowden, sharing his insights on "Data protection in mobility and logistics after the corona virus". A survey tool will allow participants to actively participate in discussions and Q&A sessions. A newly integrated matchmaking software based on artificial intelligence will facilitate participants’ networking.  Participants will also be given the opportunity to use one-on-one video calls and arrange face-to-face meetings with companies and business partners in the virtual space.

UPDATE of October 13th 2020: ReiseLust and CARAVAN of Messe Bremen are postponed to 2021 due to recent regional developments in connection with the corona pandemic

© CARAVAN Bremen

MESSE BREMEN will also be back with a number of trade shows until the end of this year: From November 6th to 8th 2020, for example the venue opens its doors for the travel exhibitions ReiseLust and CARAVAN Bremen. The cities’ authorities have given the go-ahead for the hygiene concept developed by the organization teams, which includes wider aisles, among other things.

Restarting business events under conditions of the “new now”

The examples presented above demonstrate how business events and trade fairs can be realized successfully and safely in Germany even in times of a global pandemic. As participants’ safety is the top priority, all events are planned and implemented in close cooperation with public authorities, partners and customers – complying with high hygiene and safety standards is a given. In addition, some of these best practice examples showcase how combining face-to-face events and virtual participation in hybrid formats provides ample opportunity to involve a larger, more international audience. Meetings made in Germany thus connect the world and position Germany as a conference and congress destination "at the heart of future events”.