Services innovation driven by EMECA Members - Special focus on Digital Business

Posted on Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Services innovation driven by EMECA Members - Special focus on Digital Business

Maria Martinez (IFEMA Madrid, Spain) new EMECA President 2015/2016

The economic environment remains challenging for the exhibition industry as growth in Europe is minimal while competition is raising both in Europe and internationally, the Members of EMECA, the European Major Exhibition Centres Association, stated during their General Assembly at Feira International de Lisboa (FIL) in Portugal on the 9th-10th October 2014.

In this general climate, the EMECA Members stressed the importance of new services and adapted offers – while operating on an even more efficiency- and customer-focused basis. EMECA venues will continue to invest funds and know-how into these innovative high-quality services. Next to enhanced or tailor-made classical services such as catering or stand construction, customers’ journey and lead generating services – face-to-face as well as digitally driven - are becoming increasingly common.

“Both fields are of major importance and future success factors in a sense that we strive to lead change in our industry, to be creative and venturous in testing and adapting the latest technical developments. At the same time we continuously adjust and improve our core offers to optimize the process of lead generation for both our customers groups, the exhibitors as well as the visitors. EMECA trade fairs generate a maximum of qualified contacts in a most favourable environment for the exhibitors and visitors, be it physically on our venues or beyond” explains Andreas Gruchow, EMECA President.

The continuous shift towards digitisation in business is echoed by the fact that the majority of EMECA members have raised the importance of Digital Business on their strategic agendas this year. In May 2014, EMECA has published a ‘Digital Declaration’, defining that Digital Business of Exhibition/Event Companies aims at increasing revenues by using or adopting digital technologies. In addition, the declaration states that the digitisation of the business environment might also result in decreasing costs or improving processes. EMECA members are taking the lead in implementing these technologies, investing more time and rapidly increasing resources in up to date digital initiatives by defining the “must have products” for exhibition companies as Digital Business Standards. These include mobile websites, migrating towards responsive websites, digital exhibitor data services, lead generation tools, and visitor registration services.

“The urgency to change is mainly driven from the industries we serve with trade shows. We feel that focussing on our customers’ journeys will allow our industry to tackle the upcoming changes to our advantage”, says Kai Hattendorf, Chair of the EMECA Digital Business Working Group, summing up the group’s findings.

Moreover, EMECA held elections to the Board: starting 2015, EMECA will be led by Maria Martinez (IFEMA Madrid, Spain) as the new President of the association. Maria Martinez – the first woman in this position in the 22 years history of EMECA – will hold a two-year mandate (2015-2016). Prior to her election as President, Maria Martinez has been an active member and an important voice of the EMECA Board as the EMECA Vice President Treasurer. EMECA’s current President Andreas Gruchow (Deutsche Messe Hanover, Germany), has been appointed as Vice President Treasurer, while Enrico Pazzali (Fiera Milano, Italy) and Wolfgang Marzin (Messe Frankfurt, Germany) will reprise their seats as Vice President Strategy, respectively Vice President Digital Business.  

Structure of the 2015 EMECA Board:

Maria Martinez (IFEMA Madrid) – President

Andreas Gruchow (Deutsche Messe) – Vice President Treasurer

David Boon (Brussels Expo) – Vice President EU Relations

Wolfgang Marzin (Messe Frankfurt) – Vice President Digital Business

Claude Membrez (Geneva Palexpo) – Vice President Infrastructure

Peter Ottmann (NürnbergMesse) – Vice President Communication

Enrico Pazzali (Fiera Milano) – Vice President Strategy

Ettore Riello (Verona Fiere) – Vice President Membership

Barbara Weizsäcker (Brussels) – Secretary General



The 22 EMECA venues organize over 2,100 exhibitions a year with more than 410,000 exhibitors and 40 million visitors on a gross rented display area of over 37 million square meters. According to their own estimates, the exhibiting companies generate a turnover of some 800 billion Euros through exhibitions.