In 2019, the OMR Festival will move from its usual weekend slot in late February and March to midweek in early May. After we officially communicated the new dates via the usual channels, we received several enquiries as to why we selected the new dates. Because of that and a very unfortunate timing conflict, we decided to explain what went into our decision.
Our original plan was to stay the course and put on OMR19 in March. That slot, however, would have put us in direct conflict with Carnival—which is a very big deal in several regions in Germany, including business-savvy Cologne. That conflict gave numerous exhibitors pause, as it would have put them in a very difficult spot. So, we came to the realization that it was best to find another date between March and May. Besides the fact that mid-February in Hamburg doesn’t boast the greatest weather for such an event, the month was out as the Hamburg exhibition center was fully booked with all sorts of events that have been in place for years.
No real options
Generally speaking, trade fair organizers think very far in advance, thus making it difficult for new fairs to establish themselves. Any exhibition hall manager who receives a call from someone enquiring about open slots immediately thinks they are dealing with an absolute beginner if they don’t mean March 2019. To call us beginners is not entirely wrong—maybe not an absolute beginner, but still. We took a look at the availability in April: two weeks are taken up by Easter—slim pickings the rest of the month. In May, Hamburg plays host to the city fest known as the Hafengeburtstag (Harbor Birthday) and then there is the Hamburg Marathon. Not exactly ideal competition.
Against the backdrop of what we need in the way of capacities (that we need more than half of everything the Hamburg Exhibition center has to offer in 2019), we really had no choice. We even gave up our beloved Thursday and Friday slot and are now moving to Tuesday and Wednesday. On the whole, it was not an easy decision to make. We are now in direct competition with another German digital trade fair, as re:publica will take place at the same time next year. We reached out to them recently to inform them of the situation—we didn’t actively seek out the date and would have preferred to avoid the conflict.
Talks for 2020 underway
At OMR, we are trying to make the best out of the situation and are looking for opportunities, mutually relevant topics, etc., where partnering up would provide a benefit to the digital industry and beyond. If that means pooling our resources to get a-list international speakers, who wouldn’t just come for a single event, or whatever. Early days. If nothing else, we are working on avoiding the conflict in 2020.