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˅ Exhibition Overview ˅

Press releases

New Sector Trends and Innovation Topics at BOE

Final Report of BOE INTERNATIONAL for the Year 2020

BOE INTERNATIONAL has shown a continuous positive development: The international trade show for experience marketing delighted more than 11,000 trade visitors and 625 exhibitors this year. All major players and renowned companies in the event  scene let themselves be inspired by innovative solutions covering the Technology topic and gained valuable information from highly topical lectures: “BOE covered the trends of the dynamic market development,“ said Sabine Loos, CEO of Westfalenhallen Unternehmensgruppe GmbH, who was pleased about the positive development of the trade show: “As a central meeting place, it showcased the trends and new products for the Live Communications sector at the beginning of the business year.”

With five occupied halls at the Dortmund Exhibition Centre and numerous events at the Convention Centre, BOE INTERNATIONAL (BOE), the international trade show for experience marketing, was the most important meeting place for representatives of the event organisation, event equipment and stand construction segments again on 15 and 16 January 2020.  This year’s exhibition topic, Technology, attracted more than 11,000 visitors and 625 exhibitors and ensured a continued positive development. “BOE offers a high-quality accompanying programme and a wide range of exhibitors,” said Sabine Loos. “The trade show has enjoyed continuous advancement and gained increasing international importance in recent years. Tradespeople, experts and visitors can meet here – nowhere else can as many business contacts be made as here.”

The high attraction was also reflected by the fact that about 20 per cent of the visitors travelled more than 100 kilometres and another 29 per cent of the visitors travelled even more than 300 kilometres to get to the trade show. Guests included visitors from all 16 German states. The foreign visitors predominantly came from The Netherlands, Austria, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Slovakia, Portugal, Czechia, Italy, Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some guests even travelled from the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Thailand to specifically visit the trade show. A high internationality was also noticeable on the exhibitor side: This year’s BOE exhibitors came from a total of 15 countries, among them The Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Austria, Italy, the USA and the United Arab Emirates.

The second edition of the International Festival of Brand Experience (BrandEx), which took place the day before the trade show, also contributed to the success. The Forum initiated by BlachReport, FAMAB, Studieninstitut für Kommunikation GmbH and Messe Dortmund GmbH and aimed at event managers, creatives and young talents from the trade show, architecture and live communication segments had ‘passion’ as motto this year. Besides lectures given by top-class speakers, the most creative live-communication projects in the ‘Event’, ‘Architecture’, ‘Crossmedia’, ‘Planning, Craft, Production’ and ‘Fresh’ categories received the coveted BrandEx Awards. During the award ceremony with more than 1,000 guests, 51 award winners were happy about their gold, silver or bronze trophies.  A further category will be added next year. It is called ‘Formats’ and focuses on innovative and creative event formats. (Please refer to the separately published press release for further information on the award winners.)

Jan Kalbfleisch, Managing Director of FAMAB-Kommunikationsverbands e.V., concluded: “We have the certainty that BOE lives up to its reputation of being the largest and most important trade show for live communications in that it networks vendors, service providers and customers and consolidates and presents new ideas and developments. What remains is the awareness that it was especially the close co-operation between BrandEx and BOE that produced an event which will continue to be important for the further development of our sector.” 

Sector Insights at BOE

New this year was the incorporation of the ‘mbt Meeting Place’, which had previously established itself as a separate trade show for the MICE and Business Travel segments in Munich. “The sector is advancing:  The interest in meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – abbreviated as MICE – strongly increased at BOE during the past few years.  It made sense to add the ‘mbt Meeting Place’ to the BOE offer,” explained Sabine Loos.  

The European sector survey initiated by LiveCom Alliance (LCA), one of BOE’s strategic co-operation partners, shows which other current trends and developments preoccupy the event sector. The survey was conducted by the R.I.F.E.L. Institute in eight European LCA member states with a total of 700 member agencies and thus indicates the major trends and economic drivers for live communications in the world’s largest Free Trade Area. Marten Schramm, founder and managing director of   LCA, presented the results exclusively at BOE. They indicate for example that the sustainability and skilled labour shortage topics might become the greatest challenges that will determine the future of the surveyed event agencies. The survey participants regard emotionalisation and digitalisation as being dominant trend topics. Sustainability also represents an all-embracing future trend. 

The creativity survey conducted by Studieninstitut für Kommunikation GmbH, BOE’s strategic education and training partner, also gives exciting insights into the sector. The sector survey asked 41 live communication companies about how important creativity is for success in the event sector. The result: More than 90 per cent of the survey participants deemed creativity to be relevant for success, more than 50% of the companies support their employees by providing further training in creativity seminars. In line with this result, Studieninstitut für Kommunikation GmbH offered BOE visitors expert panel discussions and workshops covering the ‘Creativity in Live Communications’ topic in the CAREER HUB area.

Better Service, More Sustainability

This year’s BOE programme was again planned in such a way that the visitors would see as many highlights as possible: For example, the trade show organisers again organised free-of-charge guided tours through the exhibition halls. Jointly with renowned sector experts, the participants visited selected exhibition stands and informed themselves about the services and products offered by those exhibitors. That easily and quickly gave them a comprehensive insight into current topics and trends of the event sector. The ESG stand, for example, was again a place to go during the guided tours and gave an insight this year into the policies of ESG and its suppliers on sustainability. “In summary, one can say that it was the right decision to make ESG Connect a part of BOE and that our participation resulted in a real added value for the entire sector,” said Silke Schulte, Managing Director of the ESG Purchasing and Service Association.

Furthermore, visitors could for the first time plan their trade show visit with the aid of a web app for mobile devices. The web app optimised for smartphones and tablets provided visitors with a dynamic hall map with note feature, the exhibitor list and other information on the trade show offer. The exhibition guests could also compile a list of lectures they wanted to attend. The app thus allowed every visitor to digitally plan his/her individual trade show experience. 

Besides digitalisation, sustainability is not only a trend that affects society as a whole but also played an important role at BOE this year. ‘FotoBoden’, a photo flooring by visuals united AG, which was extensively used at BOE was not simply disposed of afterwards, as done at many other trade shows, but instead collected and recycled by the company after the event. The vinyl flooring, which covered 1,400 square metres of exhibition space at BOE and weighed about 2 tons, was taken to the AgPR PVC Flooring Recycling Consortium for recycling. The project was initiated by the ESG Purchasing and Service Association, a major exhibitor at BOE.

Visitors Give BOE a ‘Good’ Rating again

The new services and ideas are also reflected in the BOE rating. The visitors’ satisfaction with this year’s edition of the trade show was again above-average. In a survey conducted by an independent exhibition market research institute, the visitors gave BOE a ‘good’ rating in 2020. The comprehensive accompanying programme at the six different forums and the exhibitors’ range of products and services covering the main topic of ‘Technology’ convinced the trade visitors. 

The trade show guests showed special interest in the event services, event equipment, event technology and event production, stand construction, entertainment and media, catering, locations, furniture rental and decoration segments.

The exhibitors could, as usual, welcome a multifaceted trade show audience for making contacts and starting a successful business year 2020.  The largest visitor groups this year included event organisers and agencies and trade visitors in the public sector and in the event equipment, hotel, catering and stand construction segments. Almost 82 per cent of visitors at this year’s BOE are involved in purchasing and procurement decisions of their companies in an advisory, co-deciding or decision-making capacity. The trade show thus attracted more decision-makers than in 2019. “BOE has been a firm date in our diary year in, year out. The high-quality visitors who visit our stand each year confirm our impression,” said Silke Hüsgen, Sales & Marketing Director at the ‘FotoBoden’ photo flooring company. Many visitors work in the Marketing, Top Management or Sales areas. The trade show guests themselves organise primarily conventions, conferences, corporate or public events, trade shows or exhibitions.

Almost 93 per cent of the visitors, i.e. an increase of four percent compared to last year, stated that they would come again next year. They can already save the date: In 2021, BOE INTERNATIONAL will take place on 20 und 21 January. The day before, i.e. on 19 January 2021, the BrandEx Festival will be going into its next round.

You will find further information on BOE INTERNATIONAL at www.boe-messe.de 

BOE INTERNATIONAL 2020 – Partner and Exhibitor Testimonials

Silke Schulte, Managing Director of the ESG Purchasing and Service Association

“ESG Connect at BOE INTERNATIONAL was again a complete success this year and that showed us that the co-operation with the Dortmund Exhibition Centre was the right decision to make. We are on the right track! The new location in Hall 5 reflects a quality marketplace for stand construction, event organisation and event equipment.  The joint stand of ESG and 40 of its suppliers contributed to that. Buyers and purchasing project managers in the sector gave a positive feedback on the quality and spatial concentration of the suppliers. The Technology & Scenography Forum with its expert lectures ‘from the sector for the sector’ was widely praised. ESG suppliers decisively benefited from the high number of visitors. Last but not least, the ESG stand was again a place to go during the Guided Tours and gave an insight this year into the policies of ESG and its suppliers on sustainability. In summary, one can say that it was the right decision to make ESG Connect a part of BOE and that our participation resulted in a real added value for the entire sector.”

Michael Hosang, Managing Director of Studieninstitut für Kommunikation GmbH

“Three literally eventful days. Top-class speakers and an ambitious conference and workshop format on one hand and the perfectly staged 100-minute Award Show on the other hand offered this year’s BrandEx Festival visitors an entertaining and passionate event day – about which we, as co-initiators of the Festival, are, of course, very pleased. A perfect run-up to the subsequent two-day BOE INTERNATIONAL trade show. As strategic education and training partner of BOE, we could shape the contents of the Career Hub for the fifth time and staff it with experts on the key topic: “Steering your career proactively for tomorrow’s business world”.  The entire activity area was very well attended and even jam-packed on the second day. Excellent panel discussions and lectures, numerous technical discussions with school leavers, graduates, interested people, speakers and visitors – we are satisfied.”

Colja M. Dams, Managing Director of VOK DAMS.Events

“Experiencing passion. How does a sector reinvent itself? And how does a trade show respond to social changes? We asked ourselves that back in January 2019. We got the answer now in 2020 if not before. With the BrandEx Festival, we are redefining live communication and making it future-proof. Messe Dortmund GmbH presented itself in the extended and new exhibition halls with a BOE that sets trends as an international trade show for experience marketing. That is unique in this combination. Worldwide. And it is exemplary for our customers who must adapt to new general conditions and disruptive changes. Solution approaches are being discussed and options are being demonstrated here as in a futurology laboratory. BOE und BrandEx jointly show what passion can do. Chapeau to the initiators and doers.”

Jan Kalbfleisch, Managing Director of the FAMAB Communication Association

“BOE 2020 is over. What remains are not only the memories of three exhausting and good days with many effective talks with new and existing contacts but also the certainty that BOE lives up to its reputation of being the largest and most important trade show for live communications in that it networks vendors, service providers and customers, and consolidates and presents new ideas and developments. What also remains is the awareness that it was especially the close co-operation between BrandEx and BOE that produced an event which will continue to be important for the further development of our sector. It will regrettably take almost one year until the Dortmund Exhibition Centre will again be the shining hub of live communications.”

Silke Hüsgen, Sales & Marketing Director at FotoBoden

“BOE has been a firm date in our diary year in, year out because this event is simply never boring. It is not without reason that we optimally fit into the concept with our product. We print a new creative floor design as visual highlight in Hall 4 each year. The high-quality visitors who visit our stand each year confirm our impression. One of the few trade shows where you can even close sales during its duration.”

Ulf Tassilo Münch, Organiser of the CULINARY STAGE

The BrandEx Festival and BOE bring together what belongs together. When key players meet here at the flagship trade once a year, the trends for the next few years are set.”.

Florian Gehrs, Corporate Communications, Party Rent Group

“BOE 2020 is THE flagship trade show par excellence. People expect us to be here, of course, and the networking is very important to us. All people are in one place here: Caterers, location providers, agencies, etc. The catchment area is also very large, and the combination with the BrandEx Festival makes BOE the capital of the sector.”

Karl-Hermann Hansen, Sales /Marketing / PR, Aventem

“It is very important to us to discuss new developments and ideas with our customers at such an innovative trade show. Not only are new customer relations established here but our regular customers also visit us on our stand to exchange information. We attracted more visitors this year than last year and new business was generated. You also find the right contact persons for new projects at BOE so that they can be speeded up. The personal contact and communications are very important.”

Maximilian Reisch, Top Management, RENT4EVENT

Combining a trade show with an award makes sense because all players are in one place here. They meet here at the most important trade show in a pleasant setting. The atmosphere and the mood of the people are positive, there are many visitors and it feels like a class reunion to me. The whole sector meets and exchanges information; the trade show attracts new customers and potential customers and is also used as a platform for existing customers. The decision to exhibit with a stand of this size was correct and BOE 2020 was also the kick-off of our 20th anniversary celebration.”

Hans Schriever, Top Management, DCP Media (NEXTLIVE)

“BOE is a must in the diary of the companies because the trade show is a cross section of the business activities in the sector and companies can find the social network and the expertise of the sector here in a condensed way. BOE is an exciting marketing and networking tool for us: We generally use digital channels to share our knowledge but BOE allows us to also share our knowledge live. North Rhine Westphalia is a very important market with a large catchment area for the event scene, and the Dortmund Exhibition Centre has become even more attractive with the new entrance portal.”

Alexander De Blaer, Sales Manager at Gahrens + Battermann GmbH & Co. KG

“BOE continues to be one of the beginning-of-the-year trade shows where B2B and B2C companies meet. The firm annual date allows customer relations to be established and maintained. It therefore has an effect over the entire year and is a set, mandatory date to demonstrate market presence. It is good for Dortmund to have such a large and leading trade show.”

Hermann Fürstenau, Managing Shareholder of Speakers Excellence Deutschland Holding

Besides the fact that BOE is the leading trade show for events, incentives and everything that has to do with conferences, it is also the guidepost for the year. We provide the speakers for the Digital Forum in Hall 7 and that is, of course, the optimum marketing strategy for us.   The trade show gives you the all-inclusive package with the whole portfolio of customers, collaborations, sponsorships, etc. The Exhibition Centre is large and can be easily reached.

Udo Dommermuth, Proprietor, mmc Audio Lighting Video

“The combination of performers and creatives make the BrandEx and BOE pair so unique. Artists, agencies, creatives, stand builders, engineers – it is the interplay that makes the trade show a success.  The trade show team of the Dortmund Exhibition Centre caters to our needs very well, and the direct communications without red tape and the co-operation, especially in the ‘Acts on Stage’ area are really pleasant. A central place where all the different segments are brought together for a constructive exchange is the key to success. Participation in BOE is very worthwhile for us because we can meet numerous customers, partners, service providers, etc. on a tight schedule within two days and still have much fun with adjacent exhibitors.”


Basic information on the trade show at a glance


BOE INTERNATIONAL – International Trade Show for Experience Marketing; including the BrandEx Festival


15 and 16 January 2020,

BrandEx: 14 January


Messe Dortmund GmbH

Occupied halls (incl. BrandEx Festival):

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Convention Centre


625 exhibitors from 15 countries

Partner associations:

FAMAB Kommunikationsverband e. V. (Fachlicher Träger) (Direct Business Communications Association as technical supporting organisation)

ESG Einkaufs- und Servicegesellschaft mbh (Purchasing and Service Association)

VDVO – Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e. V. (The Association of Event Organisers)

VPLT – Verband für Medien- und Veranstaltungstechnik (Association for Media and Event Technology)

bvvs – Bundesverband Veranstaltungssicherheit (Federal Association of Event Safety and Security)

degefest – Verband der Kongress- und Seminarwirtschaft (Conference and Seminar Business Association)

EVVC – Europäischer Verband der Veranstaltungszentren (European Association of Event Centres)

LiveCom Alliance

Topic areas:

Equipment, Architecture, Locations, Technology, Catering, Acts, Services, Career, MICE


Trade visitors from event agencies, associations / organisations and event services, hotels / catering, scenography, convention centres, exhibition centres, exhibitions, insurance companies / banks, tourism, automotive, pharmacy / medicine, film / radio / TV 


BrandEx Festival, Hall 3 (only on 14 January)


Workshop: Safety, London conference room, North Entrance


International Tech Pavilion, Hall 5

CULINARY STAGE and Catering Forum Europe, Hall 6





In the Convention Centre:


Networking event in the evening:

BOE Night in Hall 3 

Online information on the trade show:



Official hashtag #BOE20


Stand booking