To the summit by bike

To the summit by bike
New events at home and abroad, new halls, new boss: Down south, Messe Friedrichshafen is forging ahead with successful special-interest tradeshows.

Working where others spend their holidays: testing new bikes, trying out innovations and new products, talking shop, partying. Messe Friedrichshafen is holding a trial day for the industry's latest innovations out in the beautiful countryside one day ahead of its international bicycle fair Eurobike (August 30 to September 2). It is inviting the bicycle industry, specialist dealers and representatives from the media to its Demo Day (29 August) in Vorarlberg. In neighbouring Austria, just a forty-minute drive from the Friedrichshafen exhibition site, the trade fair specialists are fulfilling their clients long-held wish. The mountainous terrain provides ideal test conditions for bicycles and mountain bikes. The innovations test day is being scheduled for other reasons, too: to ease the time pressure by extending the duration of the fair. No fewer than a quarter of the exhibitors have requested this. They can now use the Demo Day for more extensive contacts with clients and the media. The Swabian organisers are not only presenting this mix of indoors and outdoors in Vorarlberg, but in the USA, too. Eurobike will be transported to the Sea Otter Classic Festival being staged this April in Monterey, California. It claims to be the biggest bike festival in the world. "We want to establish a symbiosis of trade fair and sports event taking place in the spring and launching us into the cycling season, to make contact with manufacturers, dealers, the media and consumers alike, says Klaus Wellmann, managing director of Messe Friedrichshafen. The future will show whether this festival is here to stay. "We definitely want a greater presence in the USA", adds joint CEO Rolf Mohne.
The organisers are also looking forward to the European trade show Outdoor which, like Eurobike, boasts a place in the world trade fair champions league. Surface area, visitor and exhibitor figures have been rising steadily for years. No wonder, Outdoor as a topic is seen as the most dynamic market in the sports equipment industry. No fewer than 15,500 trade fair visitors from 65 nations made it to Outdoor 2006 on Lake Constance.
The Friedrichshafen team is not perturbed by Adidas withdrawal from Outdoor (July 19 to 22): After all, this is not one of the big names in the mountaineering industry. The organisers are convinced that Outdoor concepts planned for the future - the idea is to embrace both leisure and fashion-orientated outdoor collections - will lure back the Herzogenaurach-based company. Wellmann: "More and more fashion houses are looking for ways of expanding their fashion ranges."
The Friedrichshafen organisers are taking their mountaineering trade fair abroad, too. Last year, Asia Outdoor was staged at the Nanjing exhibition location, a collaboration between Messe Friedrichshafen and exhibition site Nanjing in China. It is hoped that the Asian counterpart will set the tone for the outdoor sports sector in this important economy. As China is the main procurement source and manufacturer for the worldwide outdoor industry, the tradeshow organisers are supplementing Asia Outdoor with an Outdoor Sourcing Show for textile manufacturers and accessory suppliers.
Eurobike, Outdoor, Tuning World Bodensee and the guest event Fakuma: The success of this specialised trade fair policy has consequences. The only four-year-old, 68,000 m2 Friedrichshafen exhibition site is already proving to be too small, at least for the three international trade fairs. To keep these events, the local council (Friedrichshafen municipality is the principal shareholder) agreed in November to build two additional halls and a new entrance for EUR 50 million. The completion date is set for autumn 2009. Then Friedrichshafen will be able to boast a hall area of 85,000 m2 - about 50 % more than originally planned. Even while the site was being built, two more halls were added because trade fair organiser Paul E. Schall needed more space for Fakuma. 85,000 m2 - that is only 15 % less than the Messe Stuttgart site which opens its doors to the public this summer. What is more: A total surface area contained in twelve trade fair halls will put the exhibition site on the shores of Lake Constance among Germany's top 10. "With this decision we have established an economically and strategically important basis for securing the future of Eurobike and Outdoor", enthuses trade fair boss Rolf Mohne about the agreement to the exhibition site expansion plans. "It provides a firm foundation for continuing our successful work."
Work on the new halls is set to start in autumn 2007; the inauguration will take place one year later if all goes according to plan. The reason for this lively building activity on Lake Constance: The economic research institute Prognos rated the risk as "high" to "very high" that the three reference fairs Fakuma, Eurobike and Outdoor would leave if the Friedrichshafen site was not extended further.
Developments not only include new halls, but new projects, too: Everyone is waiting with bated breath for Creative Industries (March 29 to 31), a new opportunity for the creative sector (s. P. 44) to meet, which is expected to radiate beyond the three-country border region around Lake Constance. Messe Friedrichshafen and Festspielhaus Bregenz will be collaborating on this new event. It will be the first central event in the German-speaking world that offers the full range. In 2008, a Creative Industries Convention in Bregenz will be accompanied by a trade fair. The partners want to stimulate networking within the creative sectors, and not just around Lake Constance.
My Music is intended continue where Musikmesse Frankfurt stops. This will be a user-focused event and address all music lovers - from the brass band to the school orchestra. The Friedrichshafen organisers will be setting a new tone between October 11 and 14. What they are aiming to do is broaden the traditional trade fair concept. It's all about utility values and networks in the music industry. The focus will be on musical instruments, but products and services will also be presented.
The music fair also offers an opportunity to try out instruments; My Music will include a Shop 2010 for retailers, with specific examples of product presentation, shop installations and window design. The exhibition date in October should please retailers as an ideal time for orders.
Unfortunately, Cosmopharma scheduled for May and which was intended to blossom as a trade fair for complementary medicine and natural wellbeing, never left the planning stage: It was cancelled in January. The difficulties surrounding the aforementioned trade fair and the "unsatisfactory new business" are apparently the reason why Friedrichshafen has parted company with CEO Jürgen Schmid, whose contract the supervisory board failed to renew in December.
This of course means that Klaus Wellmann will be running Messe Friedrichshafen single-handedly from April 1 when he takes over from Rolf Mohne who retires in March. The two of them have jointly run business operations for nearly a year. This smooth handover is just what Rolf Mohne who has been largely responsible for the development of this trade fair company for the last 25 years wants. He was behind the successes of Eurobike and Outdoor and put the trade fair organiser back on course. Not only is he responsible for the new trade fair site, but his commitment has also doubled turnover from EUR 11.2 to EUR 21.4 million since the move to the new site in 2002.
Klaus Wellmann wants to continue Mohne's successful policy. The future sole managing director has set himself targets rather than visions: "That seems more realistic." For him, that means holding onto existing trade fairs and developing them further, maintaining good customer relations at home and abroad and, of course, looking out for new events. He is convinced that the increase in square metres will not make his team in Friedrichshafen arrogant. "We have learnt to listen, to implement what people tell us and to keep our promises". Wellmann: "We have shallow hierarchies, keep close contact with the client and can therefore respond quickly."

m+a report Nr.1 / 2007 vom 13.02.2007
m+a report vom 13. Februar 2007