eroFame is officially in the works! Planning for the event began in early June and it was announced that the convention is scheduled for November 3 to 5, 2021. How was the response to that news? And what will eroFame look like considering that coronavirus is still affecting our daily lives? These and more questions are answered in our EAN interview with Wieland Hofmeister, head of Mediatainment Productions GmbH and host of eroFame, as well as Kim Grundstedt, a new member of team eroFame who serves as project lead for the trade convention.
On June 3, you officially entered the planning phase for eroFame 2021 – how was the response within the industry?
Wieland Hofmeister: A lot of people had already booked a stand last year when we were still hoping that maybe there could be an eroFame 2020, but of course, we had to scrap those plans. Well, and all of these companies renewed their commitment for this year – which is absolutely incredible, and we would like to thank each and every one of these industry members for the trust they put in our show. It also feels like proof that people still want a real, in-the-flesh trade show, where you can meet and talk to business partners and peers in person.
Kim Grundstedt: The response has been awesome. Many exhibitors have been waiting for this news for a long time, and they immediately booked a stand for eroFame 2021. Some exhibitors even want bigger stands, and many plan to go all out on their presentations.
Slowly but surely, we are getting closer to normal life again, but many experts warn that the virus is far from beaten and that there might be a new wave of infections. What makes you hopeful that eroFame can take place this year in its tried and true format?
Wieland Hofmeister: Well, if we lose our positive attitude, we might just as well call it a day and lock ourselves in again. But that’s simply not us. We are confident that eroFame will take place this year – maybe not exactly the same way as usual, but it will take place. As a result, we are highly motivated. You are right, COVID will be part of our lives for a while longer, but we will get used to living with the virus and to acting accordingly. We can’t remain locked down forever. Life – our private lives as well as business life – has to go on at some point, and as long as we are ready to make certain compromises, we can do it.
There have been some changes in the eroFame team going into this comeback year. For instance, Kim Grundstedt has taken over as the new project lead for the show. How did that come about?
Wieland Hofmeister: The 2020 show was cancelled due to coronavirus. As a result of the economic situation, we had no other choice but to part ways with the previous team, whose sole focus had been eroFame. The uncertainties of the global crisis left us with no alternatives. It was an emotionally stressful situation for everybody involved. Only when the possibility of an eroFame in 2021 started becoming more tangible did we start looking for new people for our team, and we were fortunate enough to find a talented and experienced project leader in Kim Grundstedt.
Kim Grundstedt and eroFame – why is that a match made in heaven?
Kim Grundstedt: Well, for one, I am an event manager by trade – I got my diploma in the United States -, and I am really looking forward to this new challenge. I am going to do the best I can as project lead for eroFame. I am a team player, always keeping the focus on our customers and on providing the best-possible service. I am quick to familiarise myself with new fields and new assignments, and I have made it my personal goal to keep the success story of eroFame going together with the entire team.
What should the industry members know about Kim Grundstedt, the private person?
Kim Grundstedt: I am married and have a 3-year old daughter. We live in a house we built in beautiful Uetze near Hanover. I love sports and taking on the world. In summer, I like to play football; in winter, I go skiing. A hobby of mine that some people might find unusual is probably skydiving; I have been a member of a skydiving club since 2004.
Let’s talk about this year’s show. eroFame 2021 will take place in early November and not in early October as was the case before the hiatus. Why did you decide on a later date?
Kim Grundstedt: Right now, every additional day gets us closer to normal life, meaning that every additional day also improves the chances of eroFame taking place. So, we basically built in a four-week safety buffer to make sure the trade show happens.
eroFame lowered the prices for stand space this year. Is this a direct response to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis?
Kim Grundstedt: Basically, yes. There are several offers and options we had in previous years that we had to drop this year for hygiene reasons, so that lowered the cost on our end, and we decided to pass these savings on to the exhibitors in full. Additionally, we offer a so-called Corona Discount Box to companies that have been struggling due to the pandemic – it is basically a complete stand for exhibitors who don’t have much money to spend on a trade show right now.
Even in November, certain hygiene and safety measures will most likely still be in place. It is obviously too early to tell what these regulations are going to look like, but could you maybe tell us about your ideas for hygiene and safety concepts for eroFame 2021?
Kim Grundstedt: The safety and wellbeing of the participants is paramount! Therefore, we will strive to make eroFame 2021 as safe as it can be. That is our main objective now as we plan the show, and it will be the main objective when it finally comes to organising the show. To attend eroFame, people will either have to have proof of vaccination or immunisation, or they will have to do a rapid test – we will offer those tests at the entrance of Hall 27 on the fairgrounds. Obviously, we will adhere to any regulations that are in place at the time and in addition, we will make the aisles between the stands wider so you can maintain a safe distance as you wander the hall. As for other concrete measures, we will abide by the authorities’ safety regulations.
Is it true that there will be no eroFame Oktoberfest this year? Or is it still too early to make a decision about that?
Wieland Hofmeister: Sadly, we have to confirm that the ever-popular eroFame Oktoberfest will not take place this year due to all the aforementioned factors. So we’ll have to wait until 2022 for that eroFame tradition to return. But we will offer exhibitors the opportunity to have little get-togethers at their stands on the evening of eroFame Thursday – the fair hall will remain open on that evening. We already know that several exhibitors are busy making plans for that day, so we are confident that there will be a bit of partying at eroFame this year.
Seeing how there will probably still be corona-related restrictions in November, isn’t the eroFame team afraid that many potential visitors will shy away from visiting Hanover because they think it is too much of a hassle?
Wieland Hofmeister: I think the exhibitors know that, right now, nobody can tell how many visitors will ultimately be at eroFame 2021 – or how many visitors we can even admit. Obviously, that creates a sense of uncertainty, and some may indeed wonder how lucrative it will be to take part in the show. The fact that we already have so many exhibitors who have committed to eroFame 2021 shows that they are willing to take a risk on a post-corona trade show, and we commend them for it. We hope that the professional trade members will also be ready to brave the unusual circumstances and visit eroFame this year, after all it is still one of the most important events for this industry, nationally and globally. By the way, the final decision on this year’s eroFame will be made on August 31. We are confident that we can have a real eroFame, but if predictions don’t hold, we also have a plan B: a fully digital trade show this fall.
Due to the corona crisis, a large part of what we do in this industry has switched to digital, in terms of work processes but also in terms of presentation. Some even argue we don’t need regular trade shows anymore. Will eroFame 2021 be able to refute such statements?
Wieland Hofmeister: Whatever people say, there is no real alternative to a personal conversation. That is what I believe and what many others believe as well. Of course, digital means of communication have helped us get through the tough times of the pandemic – we have basically made a virtue out of necessity. However, a trade show offers the unique opportunity to have business conversations with many, many potential business partners, all in one place and over a short period of time. You can’t do business more efficiently, and you can’t have more fun doing it. This is a tremendous advantage, not just for the exhibitors but for the visitors as well, and that will never change. People like to mingle, and as far as I’m concerned that is a good thing.