The MCH Group is picking up speed again

With large-scale events permitted in Switzerland, the MCH Group is now in a position to gradually ramp up its business activity again and is hoping for a return to normal in 2022. It has drawn up a convincing strategic framework and a clear roadmap for this. Various strategic initiatives in all the different business areas have either been implemented or are currently under development.

Over the past two years, the MCH Group has built up a strong foundation for a successful turnaround and prosperous further development. In 2019, the group defined the future strategic direction it would be taking, developing its classic event business into future-orientated community platforms with physical, hybrid and digital formats, offering holistic experience marketing solutions worldwide and increasing the occupancy of its own infrastructures in Basel and Zurich. The capital increase, the entry of the new anchor shareholder Lupa Systems and the renewal of the Board of Directors have meant that the capital structure, the shareholder base and the management have all been strengthened.

Over the past few months, the management and the Board of Directors have conducted a review of the strategy. This has confirmed that the network of the three business units – Community Platforms, Experience Marketing and Venues in Basel and Zurich – constitute a unique asset with major synergy and development potential. The strategic direction has thus been confirmed and further sharpened through prioritised strategic initiatives in all the business units.

Convincing strategic framework

“We have a focused growth strategy with promising initiatives and clear plans in all our business units”, says Beat Zwahlen, CEO of the MCH Group. “We are convinced that this will enable us to achieve our ambitious goals and steer our company on the path to success for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

The MCH Group’s strategy is based on thematic areas – so-called ecosystems – such as art, watches/jewellery/gems or built environment. The aim is to create unique added value for the communities in these ecosystems with various physical, hybrid and digital formats and platforms. “We want to offer the selected communities innovative 24/7/365 experience marketing as well as transaction solutions,” explains Beat Zwahlen. “In addition to the short-term safeguarding of the business in the course of the expected upturn, the strategic focus is therefore on geographic expansion, digital transformation, innovative offerings and a group-wide leveraging of our brands, competencies and capabilities.”

Geographic expansion, digital transformation, innovative offerings

Numerous initiatives have already been implemented in 2020 and the first half of 2021. Art Basel has staged eight editions of its Online Viewing Rooms so far. The successful Art Basel in Hong Kong last May was the first hybrid Art Basel Show with a direct link between the physical events and the extended digital offers and content. Further examples of the approach that has been adopted are initiatives such as the Swissbau Innovation Lab community platform, the expansion of the group’s portfolio with the Digital Festival and HackZurich, the new concept for Baselworld and numerous hybrid and digital projects in the Live Marketing Solutions field.

A look forward to the autumn events

“The status of the preparations for Art Basel in Basel this September is highly gratifying,” explains Beat Zwahlen. “We are in close contact with our customers, partners and also the public authorities, who are energetically supporting the successful staging of Art Basel. The art world and also the Basel region can look forward to a true highlight.” The Art Basel team will be providing information on the list of galleries, the artistic highlights, the supporting programmes and digital activities over the course of the summer.

There are, however, also industries for which it is too early to stage a large-scale event in autumn 2021. The hospitality sector, for instance, has not yet recovered from the consequences of the pandemic, which has had a major impact on it. In consultation with the Advisory Board and the exhibitors, the MCH Group has thus taken the decision to cancel Igeho 2021 and other parallel events. Alongside preparations for the 2023 edition, the Igeho team is now focusing on drawing up and elaborating concepts for additional live formats in the coming year and on developing a digital networking platform for the industry.