On the fourth of December 2019, the first Munich edition of the LOCATIONS trade fair will take place at the Motorworld. Of course, AirLST will be part of it, and we are looking forward to a meeting with old acquaintances and new contacts. Beforehand we interviewed Martin Stegmann, Director of Sales and Marketing at LOCATIONS, who gave us an insight into the profile of the fair, new developments, and this year's motto "More experience, more network, more knowledge."
The LOCATIONS fair has been around for over ten years now. In your opinion, what has most lastingly changed the event industry during this time?
The event industry is characterized by constant change due to general and particular influencing factors and needs. In this process, not all changes have the same impact on the industry. After all, the MICE market has very different facets and serves in different areas.
New technologies certainly played a significant role in the event industry over the last ten years. In addition to the classics, such as mobile applications, technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality emerged recently. In some cases, however, we are still in a phase of experiment and implementation today and thus are subject to the improvement of event management processes. The offer is available, but everyone must use the most appropriate for himself. Today, organizers have more tools at their disposal, and in these past years, artificial intelligence has also made it possible to focus more on event automation. The analysis of participant data has become more and more relevant. With the possibility of collecting substantial data from participants, the security of personal data through technical procedures becomes very urgent.
Last but not least, and according to the global discourse, we have discovered sustainability for the event industry and heralded processes of change in recent years. But we still have a lot to change and rethink.
The LOCATIONS fair concentrates on regions: Central Germany, Rhine-Neckar, Stuttgart, Rhine-Ruhr, Rhine-Main, and now Munich. Do you observe different trends in different areas? To what extent is the event business regional?
Think global, act locally. The event business is only regional, not only in terms of sustainability. Each region impresses with its independent characteristics that event managers can make use of. That's especially true in the MICE sector. We live from regional diversity. Even if markets appear to be thematically the same, each region requires its specialty, identity, and culture. Perhaps there are no significant different industry trends, but they are implemented differently in each area.
What expectations do you have regarding the new fair in Munich?
With the LOCATIONS Region Munich, LOCATIONS offers a new, target-oriented, and optimized platform. In the future, it will complement the market in the meetings and congress sector by target- and solution orientation with a high standard of quality. Based on the successful concept of our regional fairs, we also want to adapt the range of products and topics to new local markets and include other metropolitan regions in the LOCATIONS network. Our focus is on the regional diversity of the Bavarian market. We want to enhance the demands in a meaningful way and give new impulses so that a new local offer and thus a market place for event planners and event professionals in Bavaria becomes a profit for all involved.
This year the fair got a new concept; the slogan is "more experience, more network, more knowledge." Do organizers have to focus on the experience, on direct and personal contact, today? Is this the antithesis to the digital world, or can it not be separated at all? And what role does knowledge play in the event industry?
In addition to the exhibition and extended networking opportunities, the sophisticated supporting program of all LOCATIONS trade fairs offers exciting keynotes, workshops, and learning laboratories on current industry topics from the fields of event management, live communication, and experience marketing.
With the slogan "More experience, more network, more knowledge," emotional event entertainment will be presented to trade fair visitors, and MICE trends will be brought to life with all the senses. Thus the fair is an inspiring market place and a place for the exchange of expertise. No other event can reach so many regional venues at once, collect information, and answer questions as LOCATIONS. Our local trade fair concept has proved its worth. Of course, direct contact with the supplier and with each other is what counts here. That's why human interaction and personal communication play a vital role. This indeed does not correspond to virtual space and is contrary to digital events.
In my opinion, however, the digitization process cannot be separated from live communication. It supports our interactions, for example, in networking, the dissemination of information, etc., but nothing more. An event will always stand for a real encounter. And that offers the possibility of emotional information transfer and stands for dialogue. Visiting a trade fair is an experience. The visitor expects a different form of information than he or she would expect from the Internet. And that is why human experience must be the focus of attention - on a particular event. The visitor becomes a participant.
Thank you very much for this great insights and evaluations. We are looking forward to a prosperous and successful fair.