Hamburg gearing up for OMR Festival

Record visitor numbers may literally bring down the house, says Philipp Westermeyer
17 May 2022
Philipp Westermeyer

Hamburg is set to become a hotspot of marketing and digitalization when the OMR festival gets underway from May 17-18. Hundreds of events on ten stages in six exhibition halls will be complemented by side events all over the city. One hall alone has been set aside for some 8,000 staff with massage, catering and a tattoo artist on offer as well. During an interview with Hamburg News, Philipp Westermeyer, founder of OMR, gives insight into last-minute preparations and on dealing with the fear of missing out. 

Hamburg News: After zapping through an agenda of some 500 exhibitors, over 800 speakers and 23 masterclasses, delegates will definitely need a guide. FOMO is in high season. People can only attend a fraction of the events. How are you supposed to keep your nerve and get through it?

Philipp Westermeyer: Yes, I know the feeling. We have put together a wide-ranging programme and everything has grown in size. The conference tickets are sold out and we are expecting up to 70,000 delegates. Tickets for the exhibition are still available, but we are also noticing the shortage of hotel rooms. We are hearing from people who are driving all the way to the Baltic Sea and  Luneburg to stay there for the duration of the festival.

Hamburg News: The OMR festival counts among Europe’s largest. Company bosses and industry experts as well as newcomers will be taking to the stage. Celebrities such as director Quentin Tarantino and actor Ashton Kutcher will talk about their digital experiences. More space has been set aside for fintechs and mobility this year. Why are you highlighting them?

Westermeyer: These are the fastest growing sectors and they are undergoing all kinds of change at the moment with the most upheaval in the fintech sector. The mobility sector is also changing because a lot is happening there as well. Parts of the digital economy are also exciting.


OMR festival 2019
© Julian Huke Photography/OMR
OMR Festival 2019

Hamburg News: Hamburg is very well positioned in both sectors, for instance, with the international Blockchance Conference.

Westermeyer: They go very well together. We are fully convinced by Hamburg as a location anyway.

Hamburg News: The overarching theme of sustainability does not feature prominently on your agenda. 

Westermeyer: Sustainability is almost omnipresent, even if it is not labelled as such. It cannot be separated as it is an integral part.

Hamburg News: What has changed on the heels of the pandemic? 

Westermeyer: Many digital offers have become standard and we deal with them as a matter of course. There is also perhaps a new understanding that politics and politicians are really decisive and can make a difference. And, in my view, perhaps we have become a little bit more grateful for the wonderful everyday life that many people are experiencing in an entirely new manner. Not everything can be taken for granted.

Hamburg News: And will there be parties after all the work? 

Westermeyer: Yes, the music acts will start at 6 pm on both days. This year, Kraftklub, Zoe Wees, RIN, Oli. P and Älice will be performing live on stage. Let's hope the halls are still standing afterwards. 

We hope so too, Philipp. Many thanks for the rousing talk. 

Interview by Karolin Köcher.



Focus on fintechs and mobility 

The Finance Forward Conference Stage revolves around fintech topics such as embedded banking, crypto, payment and the digital transformation of the financial sector. Meet exciting visionaries and industry stakeholders. Challenge their ideas in panels, fireside chats and discussions.


Future Moves – New Mobility Summit

On May 17, the stage will become a platform for international speakers who will outline how they are transforming travel.

200 delegates at first OMR 

The first "Online Marketing Rockstars", which has been renamed OMR Festival, was held in 2011 and attracted a mere 200 delegates then. The event has since grown into a festival cum trade fair and conference with entertainment as well as music and was attended by some 60,000 delegates in 2019. Not surprisingly, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the festival in both 2020 and 2021. This year, OMR is expecting up to 70,000 delegates.

Startup-Unit at OMR

Hamburg Invest‘s Startup Unit offers prospective entrepreneurs and founders all kinds of information on founding a company. This main point of contact advises about financing, key events and networks in Hamburg. This year, the Startup Unit is joining forces with the Dealcode and Blockchance start-ups and can be found in Booth A4 F08 in the main exhibition space from 9 am on May 17 and 18. All those interested can request an appointment via the OMR exhibitor profile.