2 years ago the year 2020 was promising to be an interesting year for trade fairs.
Over the last 2 years nobody would have expected such serious disruptions due to Covid-19.
The established Exhibitions, Platformer Days and Apex announced in autumn 2018 that in 2020 they would be presenting themselves either at a new or back at the original location.
While the Platformer Days opted to move from Hohenroda to the Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre, those responsible for the Apex Exhibition decided to return to the beautiful town of Maastricht, true to the motto "back to the roots". The main reason with both, being the lack of space, prompting the organizers to change locations. In the meantime, Maastricht has invested heavily in the Exhibition Centre and extended outdoor areas are available to manufacturers.
So, naturally there was a high level of anticipation for both trade fairs.
But back to the present.
The 2020 Exhibition year started with one of the highlights - the Conexpo.
Although Covid-19 was spreading throughout Europe and Italy was already in a kind of lockdown, on the Robert Koch Institute Website, things looked quite manageable in relation to Corona for the USA. I remember very well that Las Vegas had not one single case in the statistics when I got on the plane.
Nevertheless, the first companies started pulling out of the Exhibition at short notice. Certainly not an easy decision to make, because weeks and days beforehand, the booths were set up and with a high logistical effort, equipment was brought to the venue. Not forgetting the long-term planning that such a large and important trade fair requires. Larger stands that could not be dismantled were occupied by external stand personnel in order to protect their own staff from possible infection.
Other manufacturers drastically reduced their stand personnel to a minimum at short notice. Many appointments that had already been made beforehand did not come about because the people did not arrive.
Both the trade fair organizers and the exhibiting companies did everything possible to ensure the best possible hygiene. Small bottles of sanitizer was probably the most popular give away at the fair, which was distributed to existing and prospective customers. Additional disinfectant was available at each booth.
It was already clear in advance that a "no handshake" policy would apply at the fair. Some people wore buttons on their jackets and shirts with an inscription that was also intended to remind them of the policy.
It is obviously difficult for many people to avoid the handshakes that have been practiced since childhood. But necessity is the mother of invention - as an alternative to shaking hands, a wide variety of alternatives are now seen as substitutes, ranging from Elbow-Check to Ghetto-Fist to Foot-Shake to greet loyal and old companions.
Corona was the hot topic at the fair and yet very good conversations with customers took place and some deals were closed.
As the Corona numbers in the USA continued to rise, the shock news came on Wednesday evening - the US President announced that an entry ban into the USA would come into force as early as that coming Friday.
Many, therefore decided at short notice to leave Conexpo the very next day.
There were too many concerns that there would be no flights back to Europe. Especially since the first media reports had mentioned that it would also be impossible to leave the country from Friday onwards - this false report was corrected over the course of Wednesday evening.
The Exhibition management made in the meantime the decission to close on Friday evening, one day earlier than planned.
Back at the office in Germany, the next fairs were on the agenda. Although the first exhibitions were already starting to postpone, such as SAMOTER or Smopyc, which were to follow soon after Conexpo, there was still an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year. Who could have guessed that such a small virus could cause such serious setbacks? At the airport and on the plane back from Conexpo, many people felt that we would only be temporarily slowing down.
So, the last details for the Apex in June were discussed. Finally, we planned to present some new and further developments and Apex is one of the fairs where we like to present new products.
However, the number of people infected with Covid-19 in Europe was steadily rising.
Apex and the Interschutz organizers then announced that they would be postponing their respective trade fairs, as the situation could not be assessed.
All at once, September, which was already a full month anyway, become a trade fair month
Fixed and traditional events in September include the Platformer Days and the JDL in France. Furthermore, the Innovation Days for powered access technology, also take place in Fulda. Now other trade fairs have been added, such as Apex, Smopyc or Bauma CTT Russia with their alternative dates. An overlapping of dates was therefore unavoidable.
The decision on which trade fair to attend was taken away only a short time later.
The Innovation Days in Fulda decided in April to postpone the event until next year.
Shortly afterwards, it was announced that Apex would not take place until June 2021 and Bauma ctt Russia also decided not to hold the fair until May 2021.
The Platformer Days and Smopyc also decided to postpone their events again until next year.
From a once packed schedule in September, as of date, only the JDL will be taking place from 09-11 September in France.
Samoter declared in the meantime, that the scheduled exhibition in October is now postponed again until an March 2021.
Bauma China at the end of November this year will be the final event.
Let us all look forward together to an exciting trade fair year 2021!
Because one thing is certain - MOBA will present a multitude of innovative products at the Apex.
This much can be revealed: The subject of safety is close to our hearts!
And the first official surprise for the 2021 exhibition year reached the industry a few days ago. The Innovation Days will now be taking place on the vacated area of the Hotelpark Hohenroda.