Interview Digital Business

Posted on Thursday 18th July 2013

Barbara Millucci interviews Kai Hattendorf on Digital Business, Corriere della Sera/Corriere Economia, July 15, 2013

EMECA: Digital Business

EMECA conducted a survey about the relevance of digital business for their Members’ activities. Can you tell us something more?

EMECA found a major shift in strategic priorities concerning future business potentials for tradeshow organizers and venues – towards more digital products and services. Asked about the relevance of ‘digital business’ for their activities today, the vast majority of EMECA’s members stated that within the next three years, digital business will be ‘very relevant’ for them.

If you talk to European industry leaders about this, you hear statements like “This is the most important topic for the future”, “Digital will change the face of our industry more than globalization”, or “We expect Digital Business to provide a significant share in our turnover”. If you look at their companies’ activities in this area, you’re also beginning to see this change taking shape. 

How new technologies have changed the participation to an exhibition.

Generally speaking, most business processes will become digital. And the digital conversion of conducting business accelerates as one global business grows.

We know from the EMECA members that more than 90% of visitors at globally leading B2B fairs carry at least one smartphone while they are doing business at a trade show. They use them for search, and service functions. For instance, at Messe Frankfurt, we counted more than one million search requests for exhibitors or products within some weeks after we launched a new, improved search functionality earlier this year. 

Do you have some examples of new tools for the digital system of fairs?

Smartphone apps for shows, online versions of exhibitor catalogues and online advertising on show websites are by now on offer (almost) everywhere. However, more complex digital products like business matching tools, specific online campaigning, and CRM based services are not yet widely available through the trade show organizers and venues. EMECA expects these offers to grow within the next years.

In Europe, who is the most technological fair and why?

Most digital initiatives have so far been driven by customer requests rather than by strategic initiatives within the companies. However, as especially the German trade fairs in Frankfurt and Hanover and also Italy’s Milano and Bologna have set up separate business divisions to strategically develop their digital potentials, more and more European organizers/venues are looking into monetizing this new business. EMECA has created a “Digital Business Working Group” to track the digital evolution of the industry. 

Kai Hattendorf, Chair of EMECA Digital Business Working Group and Vice-President Digital Business, Corporate Communications at Messe Frankfurt GmbH, was interviewed by Barbara Millucci, Corriere della Sera/Corriere Economia.

Press and media contact:
Barbara Weizsäcker
Tel.: +32 25 35 72 50 

July 18, 2013