Headquartered in Germany, the Cologne trade fair company was established in 1922 through the initiative of the city’s then-mayor and later German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. In 1924, the first spring trade fair was successfully conducted in newly-built halls in the Deutz district on the right bank of the River Rhine. Today, the Koelnmesse Group is a legally and economically independent business enterprise with around 700 employees all over the world. A broad network of 11 subsidiaries and representative offices in more than 80 countries is available to serve exhibitors, visitors and the media. The Cologne exhibition centre is the fourth largest in the world. Mr Gerald Böse (47), CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH since March 1, 2008, has dedicated his entire career to the Trade Fair Business. After gaining his degree in business administration, Mr Böse worked at Messe München for four years before moving to the IGEDO fashion fairs in Düsseldorf in 1992. In his role as a managing director, he assumed responsibility for the company’s internationalisation and sales activities as well as corporate planning in 1995. Beginning in 1999 he built up the New Media department at IGEDO, which opened up new business areas for the company with the founding of the media trade fair OMD in 2000. In early 2006 he was named Executive Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress- GmbH and of the Neue Messe Karlsruhe. In a one to one with Face2Face team, Mr Gerald Bose talks about current movements in textile trade fairs industry world over.
It’s a great moment for Face2Face to have this one to one with Koelnmesse once again, Mr Bose! In these three years since our previous talk, industry and fibre2fashion has grown manifolds. How is Koelnmesse doing?
Koelnmesse is one of the world’s biggest trade fair organisers. Our unique selling points are our flexibility, strength of service, very wide-ranging international mix, successful trading and communications platforms, a closely knit network of international branches and one of the world's most modern trade fair grounds. We set out every day to add to these strengths.
We are also highly innovative when it comes to the consistent development of our events. We adapt exhibitor and visitor concepts, structure and calendar, fringe programme and PR activities to the needs of the market and our customers from around the world on an ongoing basis. We never stop adding to our portfolio and, with 77 trade fairs and exhibitions, 2009 is the busiest year yet in the 85-year history of Koelnmesse. Besides the leading international trade fairs in Cologne, our 30 overseas events are door-openers for our customers to the growth markets of the global economy. In short, Koelnmesse is well equipped to face the challenges of the international trade fair business.
‘…2009 is the busiest year yet in the 85-year history of Koelnmesse’ -Interesting! Then, how about the upshots of economic turmoil?
We do not see ourselves confronted by a general crisis in the trade fair sector – neither in the industry as a whole nor in Cologne. On the contrary: surveys confirm that trade fairs are actually growing in importance compared to other marketing and communication channels.
That said, the global financial and economic crisis is impacting individual sectors, which inevitably affects the events associated with them. They are up against a highly competitive international trade fair market which, especially in Germany and Europe, remains highly dispersed. In the medium and long term, only top-notch events at good quality trade fair locations will hold their own on the market.
In this respect, Koelnmesse, and Germany’s trade fair “world champion” are in an excellent position. Like no others, German trade fairs represent event expertise and industry know-how. The crisis is an outstanding opportunity for us to demonstrate this virtuosity to all customers.
We appreciate that spirit. So, what has/will help your group to win over the situation?
The effects of the economic and financial crisis on trade fairs in some industries has been evident since the beginning of 2009 and will undoubtedly still be felt up to mid-2010. And yet Koelnmesse’s entire portfolio has developed positively. Also and especially in times of crisis, it is clear that trade fairs work. Across the board, our customers have ended Koelnmesse events in excellent spirits and in some cases with orders at very healthy levels. Our leading international trade fairs have provided the impulse and direction for the industries attending and resulted in good business.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.