Missed much by the whole industry, Heimtextil Frankfurt will make a come back during its regular dates next year in January. Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt, was asked questions about the forthcoming event. The full text of the interview follows:
From 11 to 14 January 2022, the Heimtextil trade fair will once again be held live – for the first time since the beginning of the corona pandemic. Why are you so confident that a large proportion of regular exhibitors and visitors will make the journey to Frankfurt?
Olaf Schmidt: “To date, over 1,800 companies from 64 countries have registered as exhibitors for Heimtextil 2022. Against the background of the current highly heterogenous international situation, this is quite remarkable and, above all, a big vote of confidence in our fair. Moreover, great interest in the next physical edition is being shown not only by exhibitors but also by visitors, 93 percent of whom say they are interested in or are firmly planning to come to Frankfurt am Main for Heimtextil 2022. This is the result of a recent poll among Heimtextil visitors.”
Will Heimtextil have to be held primarily online in future?
Olaf Schmidt: “No. Heimtextil thrives on haptic experiences and the personal exchange of information. Networking, making contact with new or existing business partners, gathering information about new products, news from the sector – for all of these reasons, Heimtextil visitors prefer to attend the fair in person. This was the unequivocal conclusion to be drawn from the visitor poll conducted in June 2021.
Around half the visitors who indicated they will probably not come to the next Heimtextil, primarily because they have to travel from outside Europe, said they would like to take advantage of the digital services offered by Heimtextil. Particularly popular in this connection are videos on demand for the time after the fair. Around 30 percent of visitors said they would be interested in this service.
Among the exhibitors, a good 40 percent are interested in making appointments for live chats, which will be possible via the Heimtextil ‘Connect’ app in 2022. And, with Nextrade, we are supplementing the physical fair with an opportunity for participants to network digitally. So, as you can see, we have an attractive range of digital services to complement the physical fair.”
For many Heimtextil guests, the comprehensive programme of events is a great source of inspiration and information. What form will the programme take in the future? Online or on-site?
Olaf Schmidt: “Our customer poll produced a clear vote in favour of the programme of events and, therefore, content on-site, i.e., at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre. 44 percent of visitors are in favour of this. In the case of the Heimtextil Trends, many non-European visitors would also like to use an online service and we are taking account of this wish with our digital Future Materials Library. Additionally, with the aid of videos on demand and podcast tours of the fair, we aim to ensure that at least some of the inspiration is captured digitally and can be experienced after the fair.”