Insight // Editorial
Welcome to the Annual Report 2020 of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH
Welcome to Hamburg Messe und Congress!
“We are optimists!” – this is the title of our Annual Report 2020, in spite of historically poor revenue and earnings for the year and a halt of events reaching well into the year 2021. There is one primary reason for this: the past year, which was dominated by the coronavirus, made it clear how strongly people crave personal interactions, mutual experiences, and just being together with others. So today, we are convinced that the trade fair and congress sector will surely come out of the pandemic having undergone change, but with an even stronger core.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all our colleagues – who have been primarily working remotely for more than a year; who have dealt with all cost-saving measures, from standstills to short-time work, without complaint; and who plan, prepare, and replan events with the same dedication, despite knowing that there is no guarantee that the events will take place. As the management of Hamburg Messe und Congress (HMC), we are also happy that our employees have not had to deal with severe COVID-19 illnesses thanks to their careful and responsible behavior.
In 2020, HMC was given positive news about its future operation of the TV Tower, which we will return to its former glory as an attractive place and tourist magnet of the Hanseatic city in collaboration with our partners from OMR Festival and the project developer Home United. The PHOTOPHIA Hamburg festival will be an additional attraction, with its premiere planned for September 2021. Its novelty lies in that the entire city will become the backdrop for photos and videos of professionals and hobby photographers alike, thus making the city a part of the festival itself.
We took it as significant recognition of our concept and the individual strength of HMC that we were included in the final three cities, from among the seven worthy applicants, in the selection process for hosting a future iteration of IAA MOBILITY. The Hamburg concept received high praise, but it also featured some parts that radically broke with the traditions of the IAA.
Another novelty was that, due to the pandemic, our three leading trade fairs WindEnergy Hamburg, SMM, and INTERNORGA were successfully carried out in digital formats. An impressive recording and broadcast studio was set up in one of our exhibition halls specifically for this purpose, the main goal being to be able to offer the respective industries something even during the coronavirus pandemic and to remain in contact with them. Digitization – despite being given a major boost from the pandemic – is no new topic when it comes to trade fairs and congresses, especially with regard to keeping in touch with target groups year-round. The event formats of the future will surely become more hybrid, more varied, and more interactive.
For more than 650 years, trade fairs and congresses have undergone successful further development in Hamburg. Since its founding, HMC has stood for networking and innovation, and we are working hard during this time with fewer events to prepare ourselves even better for the digital future. We will continue to expand and complement our core competence of organizing and realizing physical events with the increasingly important digital offers.
Nevertheless, we look forward to conference halls filled to capacity and busy exhibition halls in the future. As a long-standing partner to industries, it is important to us to support – to the best of our abilities – the many sectors that place their trust in us in their return to normalcy. As a host, we are happy to already welcome our visitors and exhibitors today – gastronomy, many service providers, the hotel industry, and retailers in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg benefit greatly from these guests. The close relationship with many sectors of the city is very important to us, so we are also a little bit proud that our halls are currently home to the vaccination center.
How the trade fair and congress business will develop in the near future now depends heavily on the future progression of the coronavirus pandemic. We sincerely hope that we will be able to realize in-person events once again in the second half of 2021. A reliable revenue forecast is not possible under these circumstances, because we are still “flying blind,” but we would be capable of realizing events with excellent hygiene concepts at a moment’s notice. We do not expect a normalization of business operations until 2023.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to our ownership and the Supervisory Board for the productive partnership as well as their support during these exceptional times.
To you, dear Readers, we wish the best of health.
President and CEO
Insight // Key Figures
2020: A Year of Exceptions
* External event
** Digital WindEnergy Hamburg 2020