It's that time of the year again (yes, holiday season, but no, we're not talking about the three-course-meal you are preparing for Christmas now), when bloggers around the globe sit down to write a blog to let the world know about their personal highlights of the year. And YES, we’re happy to provide exactly such a piece for the event and exhibition industry.
All jokes aside, I would like to look at the industry from a slightly different angle. 2019 will be especially important for venues and organizers that are looking at building a solid digital strategy in order to stay competitive.
1) Because products in exhibition sales are changing.
Not only the way they are sold, but also the services that clients ask for and the corresponding pricing structure. As exhibition companies move away from selling stand packages and spaces by square meter, the question arises how pricing should be defined and which criteria for exhibition space should be applied in terms of quality and quantity.
2) Because digitization changes our working environment.
It creates new possibilities for the way we work, including working hours, availability, communication and cooperation within teams and across organizations. Online communication tools and platforms allow for more flexibility in terms of time and location, but they can also boost productivity and creativity. Digital portals make communication with clients easier and more customer-friendly. Thanks to real-time data, operational processes can be significantly accelerated. Altogether, an organization’s efficiency can be significantly improved thanks to digitized processes.
3) Because technology changes education.
Self-education, online courses and community-based knowledge sharing have never been more popular and easier to access. The power of online communities will further grow in the year to come and empower even more professionals around the world. As digitization further facilitates automation of routine tasks, the industry needs to raise the awareness for new job formats and continuing education as the increasing usage of technology also changes classic job roles and demands different skills. As a result, well-accessible education is becoming even more relevant.
4) Because Artificial Intelligence changes the future of sales.
As AI continues to become better and more accurate, it will be increasingly useful to sales teams and assist them to maximize the potential of their CRM data. At the same time, there will be a bigger focus on the human being and humanness. Technology will provide additional value, but it will never replace emotions and soft skills such as empathy or creativity. AI can in fact automate routine tasks to make our jobs less time-consuming. The human contribution to a job is therefore becoming even more meaningful, while technology and AI enable people to do more of the things they enjoy doing.
5) Because we need to do a lot more to ensure equal opportunities for women and men and make education available to everyone.
The number of women working in the event and exhibition industry is astonishing, especially in event management, sales and operations, but at the same time it is shocking to see only few women are in leadership positions. Companies will have to offer better conditions for families to ensure both men and women can find a balance between their jobs and their family lives. The so-called work-life-balance needs to become more than an empty notion on a company’s career page. There need to be more visible actions such as flexible working times, home office days and integrated day-care-centers.
6) Because not everything is digital.
With everyone talking about digital and technology making us more efficient, I think it is just as important to talk about the ethical values that organizations represent. The event and exhibition industry is characterized by a rich diversity, and it unites many individuals with different genders, skills and qualifications; furthermore, it is an international industry with people from all over the world. The importance of career changers willing to adopt new skills will be more significant to the industry. Diversity is therefore a value that event and exhibition organizations of all sizes should embrace while giving everyone the same possibilities.
These are the topics that I consider to be important in 2019. There are of course more trends to look at and I’m sure other technology consultants and event professionals are focusing on other topics.
Which trends or topic do you consider as worth being discussed? I’d be happy to read your feedback, thoughts and comments.
Creative Christmas Brainstorming at Ungerboeck EMEA: Lisa Placa, Vera Böck, Silke Hoersch and Holger Friesz