The first intimate contact with a city tends to occur at the station. The city’s name or label often catches the eyes there at once. On the platform of the Gottingen railway station, hanging a stop plate with blue bottom and white character -- “Gottingen - die Stadt, die Wissen Schafft” (Goettingen is city creating knowledge). The passed Sinology master Ji Xianlin had studied in this famous campus city for a decade. Similarly, some stops of German cities read “City of Exhibition" (Messestadt), such as Frankfurt, Hannover, etc. It seems that “exhibition” is the characteristic information that these cities are most eager to send to the visitors.
Actually, there are many German cities are titled as “City of Exhibition”, such as, from north to south, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Hannover, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, etc. Many of them are the places where famous international exhibitions are held. According to the German Exhibition Economy Federation (AUMA) statistics, in 2014, Germany held 330 registered exhibitions of all kinds, with a total exhibition area of 8,300,000 square meters, attracting 232,000 exhibitors and 15,600,000 visitors. Among them, there were 176 national and international exhibitions, attracting nearly 180,000 exhibitors and 9,700,000 visitors. In addition, last year, German exhibition industry revenues amounted to 3.5 billion Euros and reached a new record. The popularity is very important for the exhibitions in particular and the organizers are very willing to emphasize the increase in the number of exhibitors and visitors. But it is no wonder that it is only the number up. The attractiveness behind Germany exhibitions is their knack and various knacks constitute Germany exhibitions’ unique attractiveness and competitiveness.
Knack 1: It is its profession. According to AUMA statistics, last year, among the 176 international and national exhibitions held in Germany, there were 104 professional investment goods exhibitions, 44 professional consumer goods exhibitions (both of these two kinds of exhibitions accounts for more than 84.1%), 19 general public exhibitions and 9 service industry exhibitions. Obviously, most of Germany’s large exhibitions were professional, targeted and some even with a focus on a segment field.
Since they were professional exhibitions, professional things should be done in a professional way and at professional places. For example, few car models can be seen in Frankfurt auto show. German exhibitors said: “If the cars are beautiful enough, car models are not needed? Cars should be the only focus at auto shows.”
Based on the professional spirits, the opening degree of German exhibitions is high. No matter top luxury cars in Frankfurt Auto Shows, or large combine harvesters in Hanover International Agricultural Machinery Exhibitions, all the audiences can contact with all the exhibits at zero distance. The scene of sitting into the cockpit, feeling the technical details, while having a few of words with the exhibitors, can be seen everywhere.
The reason why Germany exhibitions are so professional is that it is closely related to its strong industry associations who are usually the core organizers of exhibitions. For example, the organizer of the Frankfurt Auto Show is German Association of the Automotive Industry. The organizers of Hanover International Agricultural Machinery Exhibitions are German Agricultural Society and Association of German Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing Industry. The exhibition companies are responsible for specific operations and governments are seldom involved in it.
Knack 2: It is innovation. The attractions of the exhibitions lie in “new”, including new products, new technologies, new ideas, etc. This year’s Frankfurt Auto Show exhibited more than 200 global debut products. In Hanover International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition, people could see 49 products that won innovation awards.
Based on industrial innovation strength, in some international professional exhibitions, the German industrial showed their intents of leading global industrial development. They not only showed new technologies, but also organized a lot of open discussions. And many discussions were held in the exhibition halls. For example, this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show focused on two big trends of the future development of the automotive industry -- new energy vehicles and smart transportation. This year’s Hanover International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition focused on “Precision Agriculture”. Both of them are the world’s top professional exhibitions. Some exhibitors said that Germany exhibitions often had high technical thresholds and they were more like a strong-to-strong dialogue platform.
Knack 3: It is inclusiveness. Generally, even professional exhibitions are often arranged on public open days, when Germany exhibitions usually arrange some activities to promote science and technology, especially for children. For example, the children above 3 years old can attend “Juvenile Club” activities of Hanover International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition. And Frankfurt Auto Show arranges “Children’s Theater”.
For German adults, even non-professionals, visiting professional exhibitions is also like a kind of leisure and socializing and the exhibition logistics service safeguards people’s social space. In fact, by improving inclusiveness, Germany exhibitions try their best to keep professional qualities, while trying to attract more public. Indeed, for exhibitions, the more lively the better.