Organisers of Expo Real have said they are transforming this year's trade show into the Expo Real Hybrid Summit, a two-day 'safe conference and networking event' to be held on 14 and 15 October.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Messe München said the coronavirus crisis had hit the world economy hard and also affected real estate and finance.
'Is this a reason to stop looking forward? Not at all. This is why we have decided to transform this year’s #EXPOREAL2020.'
The organiser said it was skipping the regular trade fair to bring a 'safe conference and networking event' over two days on 14 and 15 October.
Expo Real Hybrid Summit will provide a 'top-level conference programme' and 'exclusive social distancing networking event' at the usual International Congress Center Munich and Hall B0.
The number of participants is estimated at 5,000 due to current Covid-19 regulations and expected permissions, while the conference programme can be watched online. Also, exhibitors will be able to showcase their stands using the fair's newly developed Smart Spaces of 9 to 24 m², said Messe München.
The company added more information would follow in the days to come. 'One thing though is for sure: this is a step in a new direction. Tailored to the post-corona world, where the real and the digital world will grow together. We are excited to walk this new path with you,' the organiser said.
As previously reported, a string of large agents have said they will not attend Expo on health and safety grounds.
Messe München has permission to stage a large event following the Bavarian state government's announcement it would allow trade fairs to take place in the German region from 1 September.
Its commercial response has included offering exhibitors a 20% discount.
The trade fair group said the decision to develop a hybrid event format was made at the most recent advisory board meeting. Industry representatives on the board include the City of Munich, Union Investment Real Estate, Deka Immobilien Investment, Aengevelt, the German Council of Shopping Centers and the ZIA and IVD associations, who all signalled their support for the new format.
'They spontaneously agreed to participate,' said Messe München, noting that the 'unanimous tenor' of those discussions was: 'We have to send a signal that the industry will continue.'
Klaus Dittrich, CEO of Messe München, welcomed the advisory board's unanimous vote: 'The brave are breaking new ground with the Expo Real Hybrid Summit. The innovative format is an answer to the very special challenges that we have to address in the face of the corona pandemic. We are giving the industry an adequate platform for exchanging information, discussing current issues and stimulating their business again, all in accordance with applicable hygiene and protection regulations.'
The content of the conference programme has yet to be worked out. However, it is clear that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be the central theme. Key questions will be what Covid-19 means for real estate and investments in Germany and other markets, and how the crisis affects different asset classes.
Another likely topic is what the digitisation surge triggered by Covid-19 means for the industry.
Those not present on site in Munich will be offered online streaming from the conference sessions. Messe München said: 'In this way, they can participate virtually in conferences and also exchange ideas with speakers and other participants. The integration of international networks is also planned. Expo Real partners, for example in Great Britain, the US or France, can be integrated online into the Hybrid Summit on current country-specific topics.'