Opti gears up for “business-boosting” comeback

Nicky Collinson
Editor, Dispensing Optics

Registration is now open for Opti 2022, with organisers readying themselves for a “business-boosting” comeback for the profession and industry.

Bettina Reiter, Opti exhibition director

In a recent interview, Bettina Reiter, Opti exhibition director, along with Klaus Plaschka, managing director of GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen, reveal why they believe trade fairs will be more important than ever in the future.

The organisers also discuss and what’s in store for Opti 2022, to be held in Munich from 14-16 January, and address the question of whether trade fairs and exhibitions have a future by taking a look at Opti 2032.

Responding to the impact of the pandemic on the industry, Klaus Plaschka says: “I am both optimistic and firmly convinced that we can all learn a great deal from coping with this crisis – despite all the hazards and restrictions. In spite of the great and ongoing digital (r)evolution, what we are left with is the longing to go to a café, a concert or a stadium to meet each other in person. In other words, the longing for real people and real experiences is something that cannot be satisfied digitally – this is something else we have seen during the long ‘forgoing’.

“This is also true for visiting a trade fair,” continues Klaus, “because it is clear that the world of professionals thrives on intensive interaction – as do we as humans – namely from events that stimulate all our senses. It continues to be vitally important that suppliers, providers and users meet in person…Handling and testing the products is another significant factor driving the impulse to buy and is something that cannot be permanently presented digitally.”

While Opti is optimistically organised for the return of a live event next January, with new measures such as the integration of Covid test results or vaccination certificates, should it unexpectedly prove impossible to proceed – then a Plan B will be set in motion in plenty of time, promises Bettina.

Meanwhile Plan A live Opti 2022 will be smaller than in past years, as Bettina Reiter explains: “…we would be ignoring reality if we were to base our design and layout for Opti 2022 on the figures for the previous two years, when for the first time we occupied six exhibition halls…Our primary objective is to finally bring the industry together again on the unique platform that is Opti. We will be hosting a trade fair that has a ‘community feeling’ for all participants.”

New for 2022 will be more digital components, both before, during and after the show, as well as new ‘matchmaking’ tools for visitors and exhibitors.

On the question of what Opti will look like in 10 years’ time, Klaus responds: “…just as it was 1,000 years ago, in 10 years’ time the main need that people will want a trade fair to satisfy is that of having conversations with each other at the same physical location. However, two aspects will be different to the current situation, namely that both matchmaking and discussion preparation will be made much easier by a whole host of digital tools, with very greatly individualised personal needs being optimally catered for as a result.”

In conclusion, Klaus asserts: “..the key objective will always be: to bring people together.”

Read the interview in full, and discover more about the upcoming show, on the Opti website.