In which direction is digitization heading in the trade fair industry?

There is no question that digital extensions of trade shows are needed. For me, however, the question is in which "direction" the events should be extended: horizontally or vertically.

At the moment, there is a lot of discussion about digitization in the trade show industry and a lot of new things are being tried out. There is no question that digital expansions of trade shows are needed. For me, however, the question is in which "direction" the events should be expanded: horizontally or vertically.

What do I mean by that? For me, a vertical extension of a trade show is a "simultaneous" extension, i.e. a digital visit should also be possible at the same time as the physical visit. Or even just a digital visit. Based on Corona, it is comprehensible that many projects are currently about this kind of extension. For globally oriented world-leading trade shows, this may also be an interesting perspective in the medium term.

For most trade shows, however, I think a horizontal expansion is much more exciting. The aim here is to address the needs of visitors and exhibitors before and after their visit. The digital elements therefore come into play less during the event and more before and after it.

The distinction between horizontal and vertical expansion may sound like splitting hairs at first. In my eyes, however, it is not, since it leads to a fundamentally different vision and thus also to fundamentally different (technical) solutions.

This spring I had the opportunity to explain my thoughts (and thus the thoughts behind Conteo as a horizontal extension of trade shows) in various articles and posts. If you are interested in the topic, I would of course appreciate your feedback on this:

Guest article "Not virtual or hybrid: trade fairs must serve the buying behavior of their visitors" in the book "The future of trade fairs, congresses and events". 

In this guest article, I try to show that we don't need virtual or hybrid trade shows per se, but that organizers need to serve the current buying behavior of their visitors. This is neither strictly online nor offline, but both. To address this, organizers need to cleverly combine physical and digital elements - where the digital elements (in my opinion) need to function differently than a virtual replica of a trade show.

You can order the book here

Interview "You don't go out for a digital beer".

Why virtual trade fairs do not work and what organizers can offer their exhibitors instead - I was allowed to discuss this and much more in an interview with Loric Lehmann from

You will find the interview here


Interview "No 6 hours in front of the PC"

The interview with Urs Seiler from on the launch of the first digital event based on the Conteo platform technology. Or why I doubt that people visit a virtual trade fair for 6 hours.

You will find the interview here.