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Messe exhibition show floor
Insights
Article
3 Min Read

How The Digital Age Benefits Exhibition Corporations

In this blog article, we will shed light on today's strategies of exhibition corporations and further elaborate on the benefits of digital with regards to their business goals.

The Digitization Of The Exhibition Industry

Despite the massive impact of technology and digital on the economy, trade shows still are one of the most important instruments in B2B marketing and communication. As a result, the exhibition industry has a major impact on the world's economy as it further grows and undergoes a continuous development.

According to UFI's 23rd Global Exhibition Barometer, many regions report gross turnover increases for the two halves of 2019 and the first half of 2020. Exhibition corporations play a major role in international trade show management as they incorporate two key areas in their business: the venue hosting the event and the organizer's role.

As the digitization of the exhibition industry is further progressing, a lot of companies try to figure out how well-elaborated digitalized processes can be beneficial to their business.

Strategy

Most successful exhibition corporations work on long-term, market-oriented strategies and ideal trade fair dates to create successful exhibition concepts.

However, the power of “digital” has become a vital strategic component of any exhibition business: UFI’s recent Global Exhibition Report stated that many companies in the exhibition industry are now digitizing themselves:

  • Globally, 48% stated that they have changed internal processes and workflows to be more digital
  • The most advanced exhibition markets here are Australia (55%), China (56%), India (55%), South Africa (53%) and the UK (91%)

Working with digital processes allows for

  • significant time gains thanks to less manual data-entry,
  • improved communication and collaboration,
  • and less frustrations among teams.

“Chief Digital Officer” is a job role no one would have come up with 20 years ago. Nowadays, it is a common and highly strategic role within exhibition corporations. “Digital” is now becoming an important part of company strategy as internal processes are being redefined and workflows are becoming digital.

According to UFI, 18% have created a designated function (like a Chief Digital Officer) in the upper/top management – led here by Germany (50%), Indonesia (30%), Mexico (33%), and Russia (54%).

Collaboration

Successful collaboration in the exhibition industry requires a constant exchange of information between organizers, exhibitors and visitors. Fruitful collaboration may also require exhibition corporations to keep an eye on recent market developments, trends and challenges, such as technological progress, or even the impact of worldwide politics.

Collaboration and communication can be facilitated by the usage of a central event venue management platform allowing for digital processes, online communication tools and the creation of collaboration portals that allow for efficient and easy exchange of information. This may include a minimization of emails being sent, hence reducing a constant back and forth of messages and streamlining the dialogue between an organizer and the venue, or the communication between the venue and third-party service providers.

Service & Customer Centricity

Every exhibition corporation wants their customers to be satisfied with the overall event experience, both visitors and exhibitors.

Service excellence is a must, but it comes in different shapes and sizes:

  • Friendly and competent staff members across all touch points of the exhibition journey
  • Venue-to-exhibitor-relationship: convention sales managers, account managers, event managers
  • Venue-to-visitor-relationship: event staff and temporary stand staff

The importance of Human Resources has become more visible in the exhibition industry: Being customer-centric requires exhibition corporations to invest in good employees as well as their development and well-being. Solid human resource strategies have become increasingly important to exhibition corporation managers. UFI introduced an “HR Award” and a “HR Forum” to stress the importance of this topic and facilitate productive discussions around human resources in the international exhibition industry.

Internationalization

Exporting knowledge and expertise on a global level is a common practice in the exhibition industry. German exhibition corporations are known to develop successful long-term strategies and are considered as key players in the international exhibition industry as they successfully transfer their knowledge and market approach to other regions.

German trade fairs are also very attractive for exhibiting companies on a worldwide level: According to German exhibition association AUMA, almost 60% of the approximately 180,000 exhibitors a year come from abroad, and one-third of these from countries outside Europe. Of the 10 million visitors each year, nearly 30% come from abroad.

KEY FACTS & IDEAS

How has the global exhibition industry been performing in 2019?

According to UFI, the Global Association Of The Exhibition Industry, many regions across the globe increased their gross turnover in 2019.

How can collaboration be facilitated with technology?

A central event venue management platform with online real-time data can increase an organization's efficiency in communication, thus reducing emails and outdated documents being sent between departments and parties.