On October 1, 2011, the Koelnmesse completed its executive team when Katharina C. Hamma, 45, assumed the post of chief operating officer (COO). Hamma is responsible for the operations of the entire trade fair program in Cologne, as well as for the company’s sales, communications and services. An experienced trade fair manager, she is the third member of Koelnmesse’s top management team, which includes Gerald Böse, president and chief executive officer, and Herbert Marner, chief financial officer.
We recently had an opportunity to interview Hamma and ask her about the biannual photokina trade fair that will take place September 18-23, 2012 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.
As the new COO of Koelnmesse, what are your goals for the next photokina?
KH: The success of photokina will be the result of good teamwork. For this reason, I, along with the entire team, would like to see that photokina continues to be the most successful global imaging trade fair, as it has been for many years. In this regard, photokina will have to bring together all the important target groups. These primarily include international specialized trade and professional users.
Our goal is to further extend the significance of photokina as the most important trade fair for the photo-imaging industry. Therefore, we will do everything we can to make photokina so attractive that it represents a must-see for each professional visitor. To do this we have to further develop our high service standards and provide international visitors the opportunity to make their trade fair visit as effective as possible.
Do you view the current European debt crises as a threat that could weaken your event?
Certainly the economic crises in Europe will not make it any easier for trade fairs, but photokina is a strong international event that has such a high user value for visitors from all over the world that the European dept crisis will have no influence. photokina has proven this time and again since 1950. The best example of this is adapting to the change from analog photography to the total digitalization of the industry—one of the greatest challenges that the imaging sector has had to overcome.
Moreover, the imaging sector is very strong despite the debt crises. Thus the worldwide photo and imaging market reported a sales volume of around 133 billion euros, according to initial calculations by the GfK Group—one of the largest market research companies in the world—which represents an increase of around 4% as compared to 2009.
Russia and Eastern Europe are expecting noticeable growth compared to the previous year for the entire photo and imaging market. For Germany, where the photo and imaging market has been extremely strong for years, growth of around 3% is being predicted by GfK. But photokina is not only dependent on the EU market, as a world-leading trade fair it has always served as a growth motor for the industry. This will be the case in 2012 as well.
Will there be conceptual changes at photokina 2012 compared to the previous event?
We have maintained the basic concept of the event but will cater to current market tendencies. Therefore, we will be including new offering areas to respond to new trends in the imaging market and to open up new segments for photokina. Thus at photokina, we will place increased emphasis on an important trend—that an increasing number of users not only take photos with their cameras but also shoot HD video. In order to move this segment into the spotlight for visitors, we are planning an informative promotional display area as a central starting point for specialist retailers and users.
Another important segment that has been a focal point at photokina for years is mobile imaging—photography with mobile telephones and smartphones. Supported by the triumphal procession of the likes of the iPhone, mobile imaging has become a massive market and an important area of photography. Of course, photokina will reflect this trend.
It is crucial that the new offering segments on view at photokina are not only geared toward end consumers but also show the specialized trade the many opportunities that these markets offer for increasing sales.
Why should U.S. photo dealers come to photokina?
photokina is the most important industry trade fair in the world. It is consciously geared toward all market participants, from trade and imaging professionals to end consumers. The trade fair’s offering is therefore extensive, and the contacts one makes at photokina are top-notch. And apart from important business transactions, the unique networking possibilities are of considerable value for future business development. The entire who’s who of the imaging industry will be in Cologne. You will not see that anywhere else in the world. It is the world’s leading trade fair for the photo-imaging industry, an international trend and networking platform that is absolutely unique throughout the world.
What is Koelnmesse doing to attract new exhibitors?
It is important to continually make clear the significance of photokina for the sector’s worldwide audience and to show potential exhibitors the advantages of participating in the trade fair. We rely on our professional team that always works closely together with our customers to convince them of the advantages of their participation and supports them at the trade fair. This helps them optimally reach their trade fair objectives.
How can people find out more about the show?
Whoever wants to learn more about the upcoming photokina can do so simply by visiting our website at photokina.com. You will find all the important information there, from the exhibitor database and the supporting program to transportation and accommodation offers. Those who subscribe to the e-mail newsletter will remain up to date at all times.
Of course you will find the latest photokina news on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and facebook.com/photokina is definitely worth having a look at.