What can visitors expect at Bauma 2022?

By Lucy Barnard15 June 2022

With just a few months to go until Bauma 2022, Lucy Barnard looks at how the world’s largest trade show is set to emerge from the pandemic and what visitors can expect to see on the stands this year

In Munich they call it a Zeltstadt, a ‘city’ of huge white marquees erected in the parking lot of the Neu Messe München convention centre, where in just four months’ time, the world’s largest trade show will be taking place.

Certainly, for the organisers and exhibitors at Bauma 2022, set to to be held between 24 and 30 October this year, the tents, currently housing Ukranian refugees, are the latest physical reminder of how much the world has changed since the shutters were pulled down on the last show in April 2019.

A woman poses in the wheel of a display machine at Bauma 2019. Photo: Reuters

With major gatherings around the world banned at the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Neu Messe München showground has spent much of the last three years pressed into emergency use, first as Munich’s major Covid vaccination centre and then as the city’s main hub to receive and house refugees arriving from Ukraine, with two of the exhibition halls packed with camp beds and echoing to the sounds of small children playing, until the end of May.

Now, with trade fair visitors again thronging through the halls and with the tent city due to be dismantled by mid-July, attention is turning to the world’s largest trade fair. Construction Europe caught up with exhibitors from Tadano, Peri, Hyundai, Zeppelin and CNH to find out their plans for Bauma 2022.

Viewed by many OEMs as a vital sales tool, a platform to display new products, and a way to connect with existing clients, exhibitors have traditionally spent thousands of euros not just on hiring exhibition space and filling it with huge corporate stands but also on lavish hospitality for clients and putting up teams of staff in hotels for the week. Yet this year, Bauma’s organisers and participants are still trying to get a feel for how the show will emerge from the pandemic.

In April 2021, Messe München, the show’s organiser, took the decision to delay Bauma 2022 by six months from its usual spring date until October, in the hope that by then the pandemic and its associated travel chaos would have been well and truly over and the world would have returned to a promised “new normal.”

Bauma sold out

So far, that decision appears to have paid off, with Messe München proudly announcing that the 2022 show has yet again sold out, booking 200,000 m2 of indoor space and 400,000 m2 outdoor to more than 3,000 exhibitors from around 60 countries.

“The overall fairground will have the same measures as last time. So, we are really happy with those numbers,” Nicole Schmitt, exhibition director for Bauma, told Construction Europe. “All in all, we can observe an increase in travel worldwide again. Hence, one thing seems to be clear: people are eager to meet in person again and trade shows are a great platform to do so.”

But, with Messe München ceasing all marketing and sales activities involving Russian and Belarusian exhibitors and visitors and cancelling exhibitor contracts with them, the Chinese government putting in place strict limits to outbound travel by its citizens, and a significant number of exhibitors using the pandemic as a time to take stock and re-think their approach to marketing and overseas travel, Bauma 2022 looks set to be, in some ways, a different sort of show.

Back in 2019, 627,603 visitors flocked to the exhibition – the biggest number in the show’s 65-year history – while 3,684 exhibitors rented a record 614,000 m2 of floor space. Moreover, the show saw the highest number of international participants ever, with 41% of visitors, more than 250,000 people, attending the show from abroad. That year, Chinese companies alone took 401 stands – around a tenth of the total - while China accounted for more than 5,500 visitors.

“To predict a visitor number at the moment is just not applicable,” Schmitt says. “We assume that from China and Russia we will not be seeing visitors due to the given circumstances. All other countries will surely be represented again.”

As a comparison, Schmitt points out that IFAT, the water and sewage trade fair which took place at the venue at the end of May under welcomed 2,984 exhibitors from 59 countries and 119,000 visitors from 155 countries - slightly down on the numbers from the last time the show was held in 2018 but not catastrophically so.

Yet it is not the absentees from China and Russia who are causing Schmitt and her colleagues concern but rather those closer to home who have decided not to take part this year after using the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink the way they communicate with customers and colleagues.

Already some manufacturers including Volvo Construction Equipment, JLG Industries and Metso Outotec have announced that they will not be participating in the show this year as corporates seek to navigate a post-pandemic world in which working from home via Zoom and Microsoft Teams has become the norm, and where managers are under increasing pressure to justify the carbon cost of business travel as well as the marketing budgets required to exhibit at Bauma.

Federico Bullo, head of Europe, construction equipment at CNH Industrial

American-Italian conglomerate CNH Industrial which manufactures construction equipment under the Case Construction and New Holland Construction brands is one of the companies which has decided to miss Bauma this year in response to changes in customer behaviour following the pandemic and a move to online equipment launches over the last two years.

“CASE’s European marketing strategy responds to the changes that customer behaviour has encountered during the pandemic,” says Federico Bullo, head of Europe, construction equipment at CNH Industrial. “During the pandemic, we accelerated digital tools to accommodate social distancing and to find new ways of doing business and stay close to our customers.” 

Nonetheless, Bullo adds that the company has not reached a settled view about attending other major exhibitions.  “We are not completely excluding any participation in global fairs like Bauma in the future,” he adds.

Significantly, Schmitt says that unlike previous Messe München events such as ExpoReal - which was held last October as a two-day hybrid summit - Bauma will not be adapting its format to include an option for companies to participate in an online-only capacity.

“Bauma will look almost the same as in 2019,” Schmitt says. “It will be an onsite and live event only. Many of our customers have reflected to us that a hybrid event is not an option for them. They want to meet in person and their clients want to see and feel the products live.”

Yet CNH’s strategy is far from the norm amongst OEMs.

Liebherr to showcase 70 exhibits at Bauma

German equipment manufacturer Liebherr, traditionally one of Bauma’s biggest exhibitors, says that this year it plans to increase the number of its exhibits - from 60 to 70 - in its 14,500 sq m outdoor stand.

The company says that it plans to enhance the visitor experience this year by demonstrating the machines in live shows several times a day and offering “insights and outlooks on future-oriented services and solutions,” including a major focus on reducing carbon emissions.

Moreover, Liebherr says that its hospitality offering at the show remains just as much a key part of the show as ever before.

“Even though the rules for face-to-face meetings and live events have now been significantly eased, the health and safety of visitors and employees remain Liebherr’s top priority,” a company spokesman told Construction Europe. “The postponement of Bauma from spring to autumn 2022 has increased the likelihood that Liebherr will once again be able to welcome and advise as many of its national and international customers as possible in person in an informal and safe atmosphere.”

Japanese crane manufacturer Tadano is taking the opposite approach, revamping its booth to make it larger than ever in an attempt to showcase how it has changed since it acquired the Demag mobile crane business from Terex in 2019.

Tadano booth to be larger than ever

“Since Bauma 2019, Tadano went through a transformational process and a lot has changed,” says Sven Ebinger, vice president for marketing at Tadano’s European and Pan-American operations. “Bauma will be the first time visitors from around the globe will be able to see and experience that change.”

According to Ebinger, as well as its traditional focus on new products, Tadano’s stand this year will focus on the company’s services, digital solutions and commitment to the environment. 

“Of course, we live in a new world since the COVID-19 crisis, but we know that the Bauma teams will do their utmost to ensure that safety and hygiene conditions are maximised,” Ebinger adds. “We want to be as optimistic as possible, Bauma is still the major trade fair in the world crane industry, and we hope that the attendance will be as high as possible.”

Hyundai Construction Equipment’s European division says it is going even further, increasing stand space by 30% and doubling its customer hospitality and internal areas in order to entertain customers and showcase its new technology.

Hyundai to focus on future tech 

“Future technology will be the central focus across the stand,” says Hubertus Münster, sales and marketing director Europe at Hyundai CE. “Central to the display will be a Technology Zone.

“This will include dedicated areas to showcase our Hi-Site planning and surveying connected technology, Hi-Assist 2D and 3D machine guidance and control, Hi-Detect intelligent operative safety systems and Hi-Care telematic machine monitoring and fleet management technology. Customers will have the opportunity experience and interact with each.”

Münster adds that in a break from previous years, Hyundai will entertain customers and dealers entirely at its stand throughout the show and the company is encouraging its dealers to “take ownership” of the customer experience while demonstrating its electric machinery and a preview of the company’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered wheeled excavator.

“As the global equipment market continues to thrive, Bauma 2022 promises to be the biggest construction machinery exhibition in the world this year,” Münster adds. “While the core audience may be from Europe, we expect to see visitors and exhibitors from across every territory.”

Ilka Kallin, head of marketing at Zeppelin Baumaschinen

One of the stands which will be most closely monitored by visitors this year is that of Zeppelin Baumaschinen, Caterpillar’s dealer in Germany and some other European territories.

The company, which usually shares a stand with the US manufacturing giant, will this year take on sole responsibility for promoting Cat products at the show after Cat confirmed in August last year that it would not be taking its own stand this year.

As a result, Zeppelin is promising to make its stand bigger and better than before, with a huge display of more than 50 machines, representing a cross section of its Cat portfolio, including compacting machines for landscaping, construction machines, mining vehicles and demolition and recycling machines.

“We have a clear concept and a uniform design that runs like a red thread and that you can even tell from the little things”, says Ilka Kallin, head of marketing at Zeppelin Baumaschinen. “We are trying to give our trade fair appearance a line and a structure and want to create a connecting bracket.

“We consciously pay attention to a visible division between individual areas. Each machine stands for itself but is also part of an overall picture.”

She says that sustainability will be a key theme on the company’s stand this year with a major focus on Zeppelin’s machine repair and rebuild capabilities.

But Kallin says it is the stand’s other major focus – new technology - where Zeppelin believes that it can add the most value; by providing experts on the stand who can explain exactly how new digital features can make customers’ lives easier. The company plans to again offer customers frequent tours of its stand.

“At the trade fair, our exhibits are always looked after by our specialist employees from the respective departments, such as product management or the Service Technology Training department, who specifically respond to visitors’ questions,” she says.

“Digital technology can make a significant contribution here and sometimes make seemingly abstract construction machine technologies come alive. Animations or virtual representations can support this. These create entertainment value, and this in turn feeds the interest in taking a closer look at a product – perhaps also from a different perspective – and delving deeper into the subject.”

Peri invests in exhibition hall

German formwork and scaffolding specialist Peri is another major firm which has decided to invest heavily in Bauma this year. The company has rented an entire exhibition hall, comprising more than 4,200 square meters, to display its new products and will also be running a series of presentations including live demonstrations of its 3D printing technology. And, in the evenings too, Peri plans to put on an equally lavish hospitality programme, hosting more than 700 visitors each night at its ‘Peri Alm’ and entertaining them with traditional Bavarian food and music.

“It is really hard to predict visitor levels for Bauma this year. Nobody knows how things will develop. Nobody knows how the corona situation will be or what the impact of war in Ukraine will have,” says Markus Woehl, Peri’s head of communications. “But the trade fair company expects a total of 450,000 to 500,000 international visitors during the seven days of the fair. One thing is clear, we would like to welcome as many of them as possible to our Peri booth.”

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