Due to the involuntary hiatus in 2020, it’s been a while since eroFame was at the forefront of conversation in the erotic industry. Now, more and more people wonder: Is there going to be a trade convention this year, and what will it look like? The answers to these questions will be dictated by the way the coronavirus situation develops over the course of the next months. Right now, with vaccinations taking place all over the world, there is definitely reason to be hopeful. Wieland Hofmeister, head of Mediatainment Productions GmbH and organiser of eroFame, is confident that the show will be taking place in Hanover come fall. But even if COVID-19 throws a spanner in the works and we can’t have a trade fair in the traditional format, there are already ideas for an all-digital eroFame as we learn in our interview with Wieland.
The new year has begun the same way the last one ended, meaning we‘re still at the mercy of the pandemic. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as vaccinations have begun in earnest. Right now, what are the chances that eroFame will take place this fall?
Wieland Hofmeister: The fact that there is finally a big vaccination campaign to combat COVID-19 is some of the best news we’ve gotten in a long time. Like many others, we are impatiently waiting to return to a normal life and normal business. The shutdowns and the cancellation of eroFame 2020 have been gnawing at us. Many members of the team only worked reduced hours; others were put on furlough. That put an immense emotional strain on all of us.
And the economic damage created by the pandemic is no joke, either. I am sure many other trade show organisers have felt those effects as well. But today, I can say that we have the situation under control, and we are optimistic about the future. What I mean by that is, eroFame 2021 will take place – whatever the format.
Personally, I am confident that we’ll be able to host eroFame 2021 in its traditional form, a few concessions notwithstanding. By the time October rolls around, vaccinations should have reached a level where it’s safe for us to welcome our guests and enjoy a normal trade show.
When will the final decision be made? There can’t be too much time left before you have to start mapping out eroFame 2021 …
Wieland Hofmeister: Public life here in Germany will probably be limited until Easter. The worst-case scenario would be a continuation of the current lockdown until the end of March. I am confident that we can start preparing for eroFame 2021 in April. And since we had already started planning for eroFame 2020 last spring before everything was put on ice, we have kind of a head start in terms of hall planning, etc. Also, some exhibitors have already expressed their wish to book stands, so we have something to work with in that regard as well. I expect the final decision to be made before the end of April. By that time, we should have a much clearer idea of the trajectory of the pandemic, so we’ll be in a position to determine what eroFame 2021 will look like. If necessary, we can also wait a little longer. Of course, we’ll keep the exhibitors up to date on our decision making.
A lot can happen until October. How do you cope with this element of uncertainty while planning for the event and interacting with your potential exhibitors?
Wieland Hofmeister: If the coronavirus situation improves considerably over the course of the next two months, exhibitors should be able to book stands in May, and we’ll start planning the event together with them. The goal is to have eroFame take place in Hanover on October 06 to 08. We hope to be able to make a decision sooner, but the final deadline would probably be mid to late July. If the situation is still unfavourable then, we’ll have no other option but to cancel eroFame once more.
If eroFame 2021 takes place, it will have to reflect the ‘new normal’ – hygiene concepts, precautions, maybe having to wear masks or maintain a certain distance from one another … Won’t this take a big toll on the atmosphere of eroFame?
Wieland Hofmeister: We have all learned to accept these hygiene concepts in our daily lives. It is something we get used to more and more: Put on your mask, disinfect your hands, maintain a certain distance to those around you, have your body temperature checked. And soon we may get used to showing our vaccination card or whatever. Of course, these measures are not really conducive to a carefree trade show visit, but I think that an eroFame with these precautions would still be much better than having no eroFame 2021 at all. And I am confident that the participants of eroFame are ready to accept some compromises if that is the only way to have the event.
If the situation with corona does not develop the way we all hope it will, you could still go digital with eroFame. Is that an option you are considering?
Wieland Hofmeister: Well, there is no substitute for a real eroFame, with all the participants in the same place; after all, the personal contact and interactions are one of the biggest strong points of this show. But as we have learned throughout these past months, there are acceptable alternatives in the modern world of communication.
A digital eroFame would be a viable option, and we have already talked about this possibility internally. Maybe it is time to offer such a service anyway, whether there is an analogue, in-the-flesh event or not. For the future – after the pandemic – we could see having the actual eroFame in October, and then, in the spring, there could be a digital eroFame. So, as you can see, we try to keep up with the times.
Did last year’s absence weaken the position of eroFame in the international erotic industry? Or do you expect there to be all the more interest and support when the event returns?
Wieland Hofmeister: All trade shows in this industry were cancelled. Until this day, there is a vacuum when it comes to personal meetings. We are trapped in a bubble, and a lot of people find this to be a very frustrating situation. I am convinced, truly and fully convinced, that everybody will rush out to mingle and be social once this corona phase is contained – or better yet, once it has petered out. And I am sure an event such as ours could benefit from that. It is not like people have forgotten about eroFame; skipping last year was a bitter pill for all of our loyal exhibitors and visitors. We have been listening to the industry’s response, and the reaction was unambiguous: Everybody is looking forward to the day when eroFame returns – we ourselves can’t wait for it!
So, until we meet again in person, I’d like to say to all of you: Stay safe, remain confident, we look forward to seeing you!