Visiting CeBIT, the annual European technology show was always a great, fun experience, especially if you treat it like a short, (paid by the company) vacation. You could always see, new gadgets that bring back the small kid in you. It used to take place in the German city of Hannover, where thousands of people visited it every year.
Unfortunately in 2019, the show was cancelled, after 33 years in a row. What was supposed to be a game-changer in 2018, turned out to be a flawed experiment. The successful halls will be added to the Hannover Messe show, held in April every year.
What Went Wrong?
The official explanation is “declining number of exhibitors and visitors.” To really know the underlying causes of this, one has to dig deeper. Probably the concept was too wide, and trying to make lots of people happy at the same time, and losing focus on the business visitor, and not taking proper care of him/her. This type of visitor will come back, if you give them the right level of importance.
What is Needed to Revive CeBIT
Although most probably it won’t come back in the near future, until the managers really figure out what has happened, I am optimistic. I’m sure that the city of Hannover needs activity, and job-creation, in the cold-winter month of March, which is where the show belonged. Reving it, requires considerable joint effort from the government, city council, organizers, and exhibitors. The main reason, is that they need to convince exhibitors, and visitors, that the show will be profitable. For that, costs have to be driven down. Organizers need to talk to exhibitors and see what their problems were, and why they decided not to go back again. Otherwise, people go to other shows, instead, like IFA-Berlin (September), or Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, held in February). Here’s a list of what needs to be done:
- Exhibitors Cost: The cost of exhibiting has to be lower, a lot lower. Most startups, and small companies can’t afford the asking prices. Chinese companies who spend 20,000 euros to send just 2 people, and don’t get any leads, never go back.
- Exhibitor Visibility: The organizers need to help them get traffic, especially if they set their booth up in what was previously considered a cold low-traffic area. Free professionally-made online videos about the products, with a professional TV production team would definitely help. The media rarely shows exhibitors that aren’t well known and big. This is where the organizers need to focus, and help the little ones, come up.
- Hotels: Whether the show is going to be successsful, or not, hotel managers always have wanted to charge very high “show” prices. If the show is going to come back, there have to be special deals for business visitors, at least the first couple of years. Being able to pay 300 euros a night is not affordable for everyone.
- Public transport: All of a sudden, since a few years back, the Cebit entrance ticket didn’t include free transportation. Did the city council get greedy?
- Business Visitors vs. end users: It’s either one, or the other. The business visitor needs to be able to walk down the hall corridors without traffic jams.
- Experiments: If you’re going to do experiments, do them right. A couple of years back, there was another show, within CeBIT, called PSI, organized by Reed Exhibitions. It was just one hall, and is a show on promotional products. If the CeBIT ticket would have allowed visitors to enter this hall, both shows would have been more successful. Unfortunately, you had to pay separately, and most people never visited the PSI trade show. A combined ticket to both shows would have been excellent value for visitors.
Forget Everything You Know About CeBIT: 2018 Will Be a Game-Changer (or at least they thought it was going to be)
CeBIT tried re-inventing itself for 2018. They have had to do that many, many times, since the first show, which was held in 1970. The date was moved from cold March to spring June. There was a major concept change that scared off business visitors and exhibitors. It became focused towards digital and social media, and internet, with dozens of conferences, “Ted-talk” style, and lots of activities for the younger generation.
Who this Website is For
I’ve accepted that the show has been cancelled, and will keep this website active until I see what happens. There may be surprises with Mobile World Congress, if they move it from Barcelona. Any takers? Hannover?
This website was for anyone wanting to make money by marketing technology products or services in Europe (or nearby), especially for the first time international business-person who visits the show.
Business Visitors: If you’re visiting CeBIT, in this website, you will find tips for taking advantage of your visit, and how to plan it properly. There are thousands of exhibitors, and you need to decide which one will be really interesting for you.
Exhibitors: If you’re an exhibitor, you can enter the European market and meet purchasing managers from many different countries, all in one place, if you can get them to notice your products and booth. Choosing the location is one of the most important decisions for you.
Cebit 2017 Highlights Video
Reasons Why Visiting CeBIT was a Great Idea
First of all, the general economic situation in Europe is starting to look very good, and recession-hit economies are starting to recover faster than expected. This means there will be additional opportunities to market your products, and if you have run out of ideas of what products to buy or sell, visiting this IT show will give you a new perspective of what is really going on.