Dr. Christian Göke (COO of Messe Berlin)




Here is a candid conversation with the COO of Messe Berlin, Dr. Christian Göke,  where he talks about technological advancements in the industry, power of online media, ITB Berlin, future prospects and much more.






Conversation
TTW – How was 2012 for Messe Berlin?

Dr. Christian Göke : 2012 was a very successful year for Messe Berlin. We recorded a turnover of 245 million euros, the highest figure in the company’s history.Our top five trade fairs, the International Green Week, Fruit Logistica, ITB Berlin, IFA and InnoTrans have strengthened their position as market leaders.

In September, the launch of ExpoCenter Airport next door to BER, the capital’s future airport, was very well received. The International Air Show ILA 2012 was the inaugural event.This multi-purpose venue for trade fairs and events complements ExpoCenter City, situated next to the Berlin Radio Tower. Comprising three permanent display halls covering 21,000 square metres and temporary halls on an area of 55,000 square metres, it offers space for additional trade fairs and product presentations.Improvements are currently being made to the infrastructure of the grounds, with construction of passageways connecting halls as well as transport links under way.

 

 

TTW – How is it geared up for this years ITB Berlin?

Dr. Christian Göke : The countdown to ITB has begun and we can already summarise of the mood ahead of the show.Despite the difficult economic situation ITB Berlin is still a place where the global trade industry can do good business.This year it has registered high demand from emerging destinations such as Asia, the Middle East and South America, and the growth of popular markets such as travel technology and gay & lesbian travel.

Travel Technology in Halls 6.1, 8.1 and 10.1 is already booked up.Newcomers and regular exhibitors in the Mobile Travel and Social Media sections are presenting their innovations and new products in Hall 7.1c.At this year’s eTravelWorld experts are again debating industry topics from a variety of angles. Among the subjects are ”The opportunities and risks of the social web for the travel industry“ and ”More efficient travel using eTravel, navigation and mobile travel guides.“Due to the high number of bookings hotel portals are also exhibiting in Hall 25.

The focus is on Indonesia, the partner country of ITB Berlin,which is occupying a much larger display area and is represented in Hall 4.1, where visitors can also watch colourful stage events.Hall 5.2b is fully occupied with India’s displaysso that exhibitors from India are now also moving into Hall 5.2a.Good news from South America as well: all of its nations are represented at the travel trade show.Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have already booked their places at the world’s largest travel trade show.

 

TTW: What were the key challenges faced by you during the inception of Messe Berlin?

Dr. Christian Göke : Trade fair shows in Berlin started back in 1822. Sadly, we don’t exactly know the challenges people were facing at that time. If you are interested in MesseBerlins history please visit our website: http://www.messe-berlin.de/en/Company/Geschichte/.

TTW: Today, Social Media is a tool used by everyone – How does Messe Berlin take advantage of this strong weapon termed as ‘Social Media’?

Dr. Christian Göke : Messe Berlin does not have an overall social media strategy. Rather, we evaluate the special need of every trade fair and its industry individually.

Since 2009 ITB Berlin has been a successful active member of a number of social networking sites. It launched the ITB Press Network on Xing and the ITB Press Newsroom on LinkedIn with the aim of keeping journalists, bloggers and industry experts updated on trade fair developments and tourism trends. ITB Berlin also uses Twitter and Facebook to communicate information on the lively activities of this sector. Videos about ITB Berlin and its exhibitors can also be watched on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/ITBBerlin. In mid-February ITB Berlin will be launching a social media newsroom with news on these activities that will also gather other useful information for bloggers and journalists.
The ITB Mobile Guide, a free app, always has the latest updates for visitors to ITB Berlin. It has all the details about ITB Berlin such as the ITB Berlin Convention programme, a list of events with press conferences, presentations and receptions, plus an exhibitor search tool and a map of the grounds featuring the layout of all the halls. After the show closes the ITB Mobile Guide has information for users on the quickest way to the city centre and tips on Berlin nightlife.

Social networking is an important topic for exhibitors as well. ITB Berlin’s matchmaking event for bloggers and exhibitors is a free service whose aim is to help their interactive marketing of destinations and products. There are also numerous other events enabling exhibitors and trade visitors to get in touch with international travel bloggers.

TTW: How do you think technological advancements helped the tourism industry over these years?

Dr. Christian Göke : Technological progress has decisively changed the way the tourism industry works. Not only has it become easier for customers to book their trips, but thanks to the internet pricing and providers’ services have also become transparent. Social networking sites have fundamentally changed the way products are marketed. Customers rely on friends’ recommendations on Facebook or on travel bloggers’ reports.

In the travel industry genuine product innovations are becoming more and more difficult to find.By contrast, innovative technology and processing is becoming increasingly important. In 2011, ITB Berlin launched the eTravel World, a new market segment focusing on topical subjects such as mobile computing, mobile enterprise, mobile augmented reality, as well as their use of and interaction with social media.

 

TTW: Do you think online media has an upper edge to the print media or do you believe nothing can match the strength of the print media?

Dr. Christian Göke : Online and social media are fast growing areas and influencing the media in general for sure. But the fast pace nature of online media also increases the demand for profound research that only quality print media can offer.

TTW: Which countries / regions would you primarily like to expand Messe Berlin’s business to?

Dr. Christian Göke : With the ITB Asia in Singapore and the ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA in Hong Kong the Messe Berlin has two very successful trade fairs abroad. Both trade fairs were able to strengthen their position as leaders in Asia. Further, Hong Kong and Singapore are the most interesting meeting points for business in Asia. Therefore, we are currently not planning to expand in another country.

TTW: What are primary advantages of you being located in the German capital?

Dr. Christian Göke : Berlin is located right in the middle of Europe – that is a huge advantage for Messe Berlin. Besides, Berlin is simply the place to be! The city is incredible attractive for young, open-minded and well educated people from all over the world. It is multicultural and the only real metropolis in Germany.

TTW: How is Messe Berlin sketched for the year 2013?

Dr. Christian Göke : Messe Berlin has a sound basis for this year and we are very pleased with our progress so far. The great results of our first major trade fairs PANORAMA, International Green Week and Fruit Logistica at the beginning of this year are good reason for us to be optimistic.

Currently, work on the shell of the German capital’s new venue for trade fairs, conferences and events, CityCube Berlin, is now well under way. While work continues apace at the building site of the CityCube Berlin, we are very happy that the calendar of events at the new trade fair and conference venue is gradually filling up. The opening of the CityCube Berlin is scheduled for early in 2014.

In September 2012 the launch of ExpoCenter Airport next door to BER, the capital’s future airport, was very well received. This multi-purpose venue for trade fairs and events complements ExpoCenter City, situated next to the Berlin Radio Tower. Comprising three permanent display halls covering 21,000 square metres and temporary halls on an area of 55,000 square metres, it offers space for additional trade fairs and product presentations. Improvements are currently being made to the infrastructure of the grounds, with construction of passageways connecting halls as well as transport links under way. Besides ILA and PANORAMA, the fashion show, new events have also booked this venue.

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