The biennial trade fair Interzum Cologne was a virtual event this year, held May 4-7. Fair organizer Koelnmesse deemed Interzum @home 2021 a major success and an enormously valuable educational experience on how to conduct a successful digital event.
“Even without physical meetings, the first digital edition of Interzum @home offered a truly authentic trade fair experience,” a Koelnmesse news release said. “On average, every minute of the fair generated a lead.”
The fair engaged more than 10,000 participants from 132 countries on its virtual platform and boasted 142 exhibitors from 24 countries. The four-day show generated 80,000 chat conversations and audio/video calls, and 10,000 leads. In addition, at least 230 digital events with a total of 4,240 minutes of content were hosted by exhibitors, attracting about 100,000 visits from 132 countries.
The show was conducted in English and included digital stages for exhibitors, educational sessions on sustainability topics and other subjects, as well as trend and design presentations. The event also included the Interzum awards, which had their own viewing area.
Sustainability was a central focus, and mattress recycling was on the agenda. Ryan Trainer, president of the International Sleep Products Association, and Mike Gallagher, a research consultant representing the Mattress Recycling Council, presented on “U.S. Mattress Recycling and Research Activities,” an educational session and overview of the MRC’s work. Trainer also joined a panel of international association executives discussing the future of sleep products sustainability and the circular economy in “The Magic Circle — Mattress Markets in Motion” session.
The next fair slated for May 2023 will be an in-person event but a hybrid one, making use of many of this year’s virtual elements.
“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,” said Oliver Frese, Koelnmesse chief operating officer. “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 socializing 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.”