Guest events as an economic factor


Messe Stuttgart’s relocation to the Filder has not only increased the company’s own revenue, but also greatly benefits other businesses

In 2017, Messe Stuttgart organised a total of 57 trade fairs on its grounds at Stuttgart Airport. Of these, 22 were what are known as guest exhibitions, in contrast to the company’s 35 own fairs. In addition to these 22 guest exhibitions, around 100 other guest events are held each year. These include congresses, company events, shareholder meetings, award ceremonies and sports and music events.

“The distinction is not immediately apparent to visitors and other outsiders. After all, both types of event take place on Messe Stuttgart’s grounds,” says Stefan Lohnert, Vice President Guest Events at Messe Stuttgart. But there is a big difference between the two. “As the owner of the trade grounds, we organise our own fairs in conjunction with partners such as associations or other organisations. This means we act as organisers, are responsible for the content of the fair and bear the entrepreneurial risk,” explains Lohnert. And he continues: “Guest fairs, on the other hand, are held by organisers that do not have their own exhibition grounds or would like to move into an additional location. They rent only the required space in the exhibition halls or the necessary rooms in the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart. In addition, they purchase services such as booth construction, event technology and the like from us.”

A healthy mix ensures business success

On average, guest events occupy 40% of the space at the exhibition grounds and the ICS. In 2017, because of an unusually high number of guest events, the figure was almost 50%. This is a mixture that has paid off for Messe Stuttgart. “We have consciously striven to achieve this mix because it is ideal for healthy trade fair operations. Sales from guest events are an improtant pillar on the credit side for us. In this case, the entrepreneurial risk is borne by the external organiser. Thanks to our location in Baden-Württemberg, the most prosperous high-tech region in Europe, many guest events from this sector, such as Automotive Testing Expo, Motek, Control, Blechexpo or Composites Europe, have bought into Messe Stuttgart. This has enabled us to achieve our goal of becoming Germany’s most important high-tech trade fair location. And it also clearly shows that, rather than competing with our own fairs, guest events ideally complement the portfolio at the trade fair grounds,” says Lohnert, outlining the advantages from the company’s point of view. Messe Stuttgart’s own exhibition AMB, international exhibition for metal working, focuses on metal machining. By contrast, Blechexpo, which is organised by P.E. Schall, is devoted to the process chain for cold working of sheet metal.

The City of Stuttgart benefits via indirect profitability

Indirect profitability means that it is not just Messe Stuttgart itself that benefits from guest events, but also the city of Stuttgart and the surrounding area. However, because the figures reflect all events, a clear distinction cannot be drawn between guest events and Messe Stuttgart’s own fairs. As Armin Dellnitz, Managing Director of Stuttgart-Marketing and Regio Stuttgart Marketing- und Tourismus GmbH, puts it: “Providers of tourist services in the Stuttgart region also benefit from the trade fairs and their visitors. Overall, some €5 billion, or 42%, of the Stuttgart region’s total tourism revenue goes to the retail trade, 38% to the hospitality industry and 20% to the service sector. After all, our business guests use large parts of the tourist infrastructure. In addition to the hotel business, culinary offerings are in high demand. And if guests still have time to spare during their business trip, there are also opportunities for shopping as well as cultural and leisure activities.”

Direct investments in the hotel infrastructure in Leinfelden-Echterdingen

The city of Leinfelden-Echterdingen, which adjoins the exhibition grounds, also benefits. Since Messe Stuttgart moved to its current location in the Filder in 2007, the city has considerably increased its number of hotel beds and significantly improved utilisation of existing capacities. The number of overnight stays rose from 151,391 in 2007 to 532,256 in 2017. Since 2008, five new hotels have been built: a Park Hotel, an Ibis Hotel, a Holiday Inn Express, a Dorint Hotel and a Moxy Hotel. The Mövenpick Airport Hotel is currently building another hotel directly on the Messepiazza. Scheduled to open in 2019, it will have 326 additional rooms. Sabine Friedrich of Stadtmarketing Leinfelden-Echterdingen is pleased by these developments: “The choice of hotels in our city ranges from 4-star-plus to 3-star, 2-star-superior to small private hotels and guesthouses that offer similarly good facilities. The growing number of hotel guests has even enabled innovative local retailers to develop new business models. “One men’s outfitter, for example, displays a selection of its products in a showcase at the Mövenpick Airport Hotel and, in case of emergency, offers to come to the customer’s hotel with a selection of shirts and ties. It seems to be worthwhile, even if the service is not used often. Most customers end up buying more than just a shirt,” says Friedrich, who has first-hand experience of this. Messe Stuttgart also has an impact on the taxi industry, which regularly has a higher passenger rate during trade fairs. Stuttgart Airport also benefits from international events, which increase the number of passengers, especially outside the holiday season, when trade fairs usually take place. And this effect is also felt by the restaurants near the airport. 

Messe Stuttgart regards the various conference rooms of different sizes in the new Mövenpick Hotel, right next door to the ICS, not as competition, but as an enhancement. “If the Stuttgart Airport campus establishes itself as an ideal location for many events, all the players located here will ultimately benefit,” states Kromer. “Together we create an ideal environment, and the customer decides what suits them best,” is the Messe Stuttgart President’s philosophy.


GV_18_PM10_Wirtschaftsfaktor_Bild_1 (Chart): Figures for arrivals and overnight stays in Leinfelden-Echterdingen clearly show that the number of visitors staying overnight has risen sharply since Messe Stuttgart opened its doors at the new location in June 2007. The only slight dip was during the economic crisis of 2009 (picture credits: State Statistical Office Baden-Württemberg/Stuttgart-Marketing).

GV_18_PM10_Wirtschaftsfaktor_ Bild_2 (Blechexpo): In 2007, Blechexpo, in conjunction with Schweisstec, was the first guest event at the new Messe Stuttgart grounds and is still held there today. The entire process chain for cold working of sheet metal is the focus at Blechexpo (photo credits: P.E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG).

GV_18_PM10_Wirtschaftsfaktor_Bild_3 (AMB): The AMB international exhibition for metalworking showcases metal cutting, including peripheral processes. The event is clearly distinguished from Blechexpo, ensuring a perfect balance when it comes to metal working at Messe Stuttgart (photo credits: Messe Stuttgart)


About the ICS of Messe Stuttgart:
Ease of access, size and versatility: That’s what sets Messe Stuttgart apart. With total earnings of € 131 million and a profit of € 17 million, Messe Stuttgart is one of Germany's leading trade fair companies. Every year over 22,500 exhibitors present their products and services to up to 1.2 million visitors on a hall area of 120,000 square metres, on an outdoor area of 40,000 square metres and in around 33 rooms that offer flexible use in the adjoining ICS (International Congress Center Stuttgart). The location of the sustainably constructed trade fair and congress centre alongside Stuttgart Airport, with its direct links to the A 8 motorway and public transport offers perfect conditions for getting to and from the site. The ICS offers space for up to 10,000 visitors. Messe Stuttgart and the ICS are internationally acclaimed locations for top-class trade fairs, congresses and conferences, as well as corporate functions and events of all kinds.

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