Messukeskus Helsinki is Finland’s largest event organizer, offering facilities for summits, festivals and trade shows. The premises host about 100 trade fair events and about 1 000 meetings and congress each year. Approximately 1.1 million visitors visit the Expo and Convention Centre every year.
The coronavirus has had a significant impact on Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s operations this year, as all events for more than 500 people have had to be postponed to next year. However, various events for 100 people have been taking place and they have been organized with a strong focus on customers’ and personnel’s health and safety.
Maria Mroue, Marketing and Communications Director of Messukeskus says:“The situation is challenging, but we are lucky that our facilities have originally been designed for big events. Spacious and high facilities make it easier for us to maintain safety clearances and a higher level of hygiene during events. We also have a very efficient ventilation system that does not recirculate air.”
In addition to safety clearances and hygiene instructions, Messukeskus has put a lot of effort in digital guidance during COVID-19 pandemic. Their Digital Signage system includes 85 displays that are located both in and outside of the Expo and Convention Centre.
Maria Mroue continues:“Digital Signage is an excellent platform for guiding people, as human attention is quite naturally drawn to the content that is moving on the screens. With the displays, we are able to give our visitors concrete operating instructions and we can also explain why it is important to take care of safety. The digital displays also make it easy for us to remind our customers about the use of a hand disinfectant, for example. We want to increase people’s sense of security, which includes not only our own actions but also how to take others into consideration.”
The corona time has also forced Messukeskus to think new ways of organizing fairs and events. A good example of this is the Helsinki Book Fair that will take place as an online event at the end of October.
Maria Mroue´s conclusion“Instead of paralysing, we wanted to challenge ourselves already at the early stages of the pandemic to think about how we could implement our events in a new and creative way. For example, with the Helsinki Book Fair, the focus of the event has traditionally been on the program and on writer interviews on stages. Instead of physical event we will bring all this online this year and hope that it will reach bigger audiences this way as well.”