ISH to be a ‘hybrid’ event following covid criticism

ISH, Europe’s biggest bathroom trade event, will go ahead in March 2021 but supplemented with an extensive digital presence.

Organiser Messe Frankfurt describes this as a ‘hybrid’ event, developed because ‘extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures’.

The move follows a period of scrutiny for the show – which will be held at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre from March 22 to 26 next year – after one of its biggest supporters Grohe pulled out of the event citing concerns about social distancing plans.

In an unprecedented statement, Grohe said the covid-19 plans put forward by the show Messe Frankfurt were ‘unsatisfactory for the brand’.

However, speaking exclusively to kbbreview, Iris Jeglitza-Moshage, chief of communications, at Messe Frankfurt, insisted that its plans do protect the safety of exhibitors and visitors and meet all official guidelines.

And Messe Frankfurt’s president and CEO Wolfgang Marzin wrote an open letter to ISH exhibitors and the industry asking for support and making the case for the role of big exhibitions.

Hansgrohe then pledged its continuing commitment to the event

The move to extend the show into a ‘hybrid’ is clearly one designed to reassure exhibitors that not only are all physical precautions being taken but also that a virtual audience will be catered for. However it does hint that it may be something that brands will need to pay for at future events.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measure,” a Messe Frankfurt statement said. “Accordingly, the ISH management has decided to supplement the ISH trade fair with an extensive digital programme, which means ISH 2021 will combine the best of two worlds.

“Besides the event at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, exhibitors and visitors will benefit from new digital features that promote the interaction of all participants and ensure maximum coverage.”

The supplementary digital programme includes the new ISH ‘digital extended’ technology which allows an exhibitors profile to be transmitted directly to the virtual space of the fair.

This allows for ‘matchmaking’ of visitors and exhibitors to generate leads. It also includes live interaction elements for video calls, as well as the integration of live streaming straight from the exhibition stand.

“Messe Frankfurt is offering ISH 2021 exhibitors the ISH ‘digital extended’ supplementary format free of charge as an introductory offer,” the statement says.

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