The Post-Event Pulse: 81st UFI Congress - Fit to Compete

The 81st UFI Congress took place last week from October 29 until November 1 in Bogota (Colombia), and now it is time to reflect. Over 300 industry leaders from all around the world were gathered for a 3-day review of the state of the exhibition industry, hosted by the regional industry association (AFIDA) and Corferias, Colombia’s largest exhibition organization.

The Ungerboeck team who attended the congress was impressed by the great organization of the congress presenting an exquisite mix of content paired with superb options for networking and business exchange. We were especially happy to see things run as smoothly as Ungerboeck supports UFI’s event organization since June 2014 as UFI’s dedicated software partner.

Fit to compete

As every year the congress provided a wonderful platform for discussion and expert insights all along the overall theme of this year’s congress: Fit to Compete. A great line-up of speakers were discussing the role of the exhibition industry within the marketing mix, trends for the future, new markets, new structures, new products and new revenue opportunities as well as insight from the Latin American exhibition experience and how this can be applied at a global level.

Renaud Hamaide, outgoing UFI president used the congress to promote the need for global and regional balance in delivering leading exhibitions around the world. He said: “In the years ahead, exhibitions will have to provide services and programs which justify significant venue investment, support sustainability and create digital opportunities to satisfy the next generation of clients and employees. UFI will continue to support members as they meet the business challenges of managing year-round communities.”

Competing in the digital marketplace

Among all of the interesting presentations one remarkable presentation was held by Jochen Witt, President and CEO of jwc Exhibition Consultants. In his Global Industry Review he presented an analysis of a survey that jwc has conducted asking what people in our industry consider important for being competitive.

Some highlights of his findings are: Human resources, the right products/offering and branding of shows are considered to be most relevant for the competitiveness of the exhibition industry. While events as face-to-face marketing medium will continue to play a key role in the marketing mix it is critical to think about a reposition of such as it competes in today’s digital marketplace. According to Witt providing digital value is really the greatest challenge for our industry. That includes the definition of “the what and how of creating online communities and getting future sustainable revenue streams from these activities”

Did you attend the 81st UFI Congress? What do you think about the trends and developments that were presented during the congress? We’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation with Ungerboeck on LinkedIn or Twitter, or reach out to us with an email:

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