interzum @home 2021 drew to a close on Friday, 7 May 2021, with excellent overall results. For four whole days, interzum proved that its digital edition, interzum @home, can also present relevant issues emotionally and provide a whole industry with fresh, creative inspiration. Global megatrends such as digitalisation, individualisation, mobility and urbanisation were reflected in the presentations by the exhibiting companies. But the focus this year was on sustainability. In total, more than 10,000 participants from 132 countries were active on the platform. “The last few days have shown how creatively the industry approaches new challenges. It has been a tremendous experience. But for me, it was also an impressive demonstration of the relevance and attractiveness of the interzum brand on the international stage. Like many other trade fairs, we have however seen that face-to-face contact is immensely important, which is why I view interzum @home 2021 as a successful case study for interzum’s future hybrid orientation. I am firmly convinced that interzum 2023 will naturally have a strong physical presence here in Cologne, but its attractive digital offerings will make it even more valuable for all participants. Whether an event is purely digital or in person, my conclusion is that it is vital to have a strong trade fair with a global appeal in the right place at the right time – and interzum is such an event,” says Oliver Frese, COO of Koelnmesse.
At the heart of the event from the outset were networking, knowledge exchanges, high-quality content, an extensive event programme and the latest solutions and product innovations from the 142 participating companies from 24 countries. With this line-up of exhibitors, this year’s digital edition of interzum was very international. One of the new platform’s key elements was networking opportunities, and the participants used its diverse features for a lively exchange on all four days of the trade fair. There were over 80,000 chat conversations and audio/video calls in total. During the 5,760 minutes of interzum @home, more than 10,000 leads were generated, which amounts to more than one lead per minute. A considerable 3.5 terabytes of video raw material had been produced in studio recordings for interzum @home. No less than 230 digital events with a total of 4,240 minutes of content were hosted, attracting about 100,000 visits from 132 countries. With this audience, interzum @home demonstrated the trade fair’s continued strong international reach on the visitor side as well. The highly international nature of the digital edition was largely the result of the communication strategy employed by interzum, which adapted to the novel circumstances this year. Focusing on a broad, well-coordinated digital advertising campaign gave the event a high profile, generated extensive reach and attracted a large number of top-level decision-makers from the furniture and interiors industry.
The future is hybrid
In interzum @home, Koelnmesse has created an innovative format through which the exhibiting companies were able to demonstrate the state of the art in the industry. On the whole, exhibitors agreed that a digital trade fair cannot replace an in-person interzum event in Cologne. “For us at Koelnmesse, and also for exhibitors, the last four days represented a steep learning curve,” says Oliver Frese. “A number of key points emerged,” explains the Chief Operating Officer. Firstly, user access to the platform must be as easy and convenient as possible; secondly, exciting, well-edited content, thorough preparation, good presentation and active lead management always prevailed. That means we’ve learned even more about the features and topics our visitors are interested in, in particular about which content on interzum @home’s interactive Showfloor and which parts of streams kept particularly large numbers of viewers absorbed. This kind of analysis is very important for us and our exhibitors. We will now compare our experiences with those of the exhibitors in order to further develop our digital platform together, because we believe the trade fair concept of the future will be hybrid,” says Frese. At interzum 2023, digital components will represent a logical extension to physical presence in the trade fair halls. In the future, the focus will be on knowledge and content in the online space, and experiences and socialising at the venue, but always with fluid transitions between the two – with networking as the connecting element, which is possible both online and offline, and which will always be important.