Face-to-Face Report : March 2011
CEIR Releases 2010 Exhibition Industry Census
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released the 2010 CEIR Exhibition Industry Census report, revealing that, during the past decade, the number of events as compared to the 2000 Census has remained relatively unchanged and reinforcing the belief that the exhibition industry is resilient even during times of uncertainty and downturn. The knowledge-based research also found that as a result of new construction and building renovations, exhibit space has increased which has resulted in the redistribution of events and broader possibilities for prime destinations to host key buyer/seller exhibitions.
CEIR Chairperson Carrie Freeman Parsons said, "We are pleased to publish the 2010 Exhibition Industry Census, which will be an essential and long-term guide for civic and business leaders as well as exhibition industry professionals to use when assessing the marketplace and planning events. The rich data that is found in the 2010 Census is pivotal in understanding the shifts in facility locations over the past decade and serves as a key indicator as we focus on the next five years and beyond."
Several leading industry companies contributed their databases to the Census, which were then carefully reviewed to eliminate duplication and ensure complete representation of the North American exhibition industry, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. From this point, the final analysis of rankings, breakdowns, subtotals and totals was performed.
CEIR President and CEO Douglas L. Ducate, CEM, CMP, said, "When we began the process of analyzing the past decade, we did not know what to expect. We were emerging from the Great Recession, had seen several quarters of decline followed by consecutive quarters of recovery, and then even periods of growth over the past 10 years. Once we had the data and were able to carefully review it, we were very pleased to see that despite the peaks and valleys, the exhibition industry was adaptable to unexpected changes, and this even further confirmed the value of face-to-face events."
Customized details, analysis of industry shifts, potential implications and customized reports are available at www.ceir.org, where professionals can mine in-depth, exhibition data by city/region, industry sector, size and more and compile to best fit their own needs.
Exhibition Industry Commits to Viable Sustainable Development Practices
Eric Everard, president of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, addressed the issue of sustainability from the perspectives of destination, venue, organizer, service provider and client and urged the exhibition industry to meet this common challenge in MEETINGS:review, a global network of web TV, news and online marketplace for the meetings industry.
Speaking at the UFI Focus Meeting on Sustainable Development hosted by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in Bangkok in February, Everard reminded the 60 meeting delegates that “we must now join our collective efforts using best industry practices to ensure that our exhibition business is a leading light for exhibitors and buyers to see that we are a wholly sustainable business.”
Everard stressed that there are significant economic and human benefits to be gained from a sustainable approach to exhibitions. “While benefits may take time to materialize, UFI and its 550 members in 84 countries are working closely with international organizations to establish common standards for improvement,” he said.
During this second UFI Focus Meeting on Sustainable Development, speakers and delegates shared insights and information on current global initiatives with particular attention to developments in Thailand, India and China.
The event was organized in compliance with guidelines established by the Green Meetings Thailand program. Akapol Sorasuchart, president of the TCEB, said, “As the official organization responsible for Thailand’s MICE industry, TCEB has recognized the significance of sustainable development. International delegates today care about whether destinations support sustainable environmental efforts, and TCEB needs to lead Thailand in that direction."
Meanwhile, Michael Duck, chair of UFI’s Committee on Sustainable Development and moderator of the meeting, noted: “The consensus among delegates is that the exhibition industry must work closely with local and regional authorities to balance long-term sustainable development requirements with short-term business imperatives. It is only through a long-term commitment to sustainable environmental objectives now that the exhibition industry will share in the benefits of a healthy business environment in the future. The reality is that exhibition organizers, venue operators and exhibitors must cooperate closely as we gain a better understanding of workable and effective environmental parameters and their implications for the future sustainability of the industry as a whole.”
Beating Your Real Trade Show Competition
At trade shows, you participate in a wonder of free enterprise: competing firms agree to present themselves side-by-side, allowing potential buyers simultaneous access to a multitude of choices. That requires a willingness to face your competition head-on in the exhibition hall. Yet, you have much more competition for attendees’ attention than merely your fellow exhibitors. Here are seven competitors you must beat to fully engage your clients and prospects at trade shows, according to Mike Thimmesch, director of industry relations for Skyline Exhibits.
Your Industry Competitors
While you expect to compete with other companies in your industry, your competitors can actually be helping you, too. Their marketing efforts lure more prospects into the show hall, expanding the potential universe of buyers for your product category. Some confident exhibitors even seek a booth space close to their bigger competitors to draft off their booth traffic. To win these head-to-head match ups, make sure your trade show booth graphics, promotions, experiences and booth staffers clearly articulate what makes you better. Not sure why? Ask your newer customers and best sales people why you’re winning sales now.
For years, industry guru Marc Goldberg has been warning exhibitors that trade show attendees suffer from “time poverty.” Time-pressed attendees are less likely to visit every aisle in the show hall. Combat this by: getting booth space in the highest traffic sections of the show hall, usually in the center and to the right of the main entrance; reaching out to attendees before the show to set appointments; teaching booth staffers to quickly qualify and release unqualified booth visitors; and offering prizes daily in your booth that qualified prospects will want.
Even when they’re at the show, attendees are still distracted by their urgent issues from work. To gain their full attention, bring new products and hold engaging demonstrations in your trade show exhibit that attendees can’t experience in their office. This insidious competitor can also distract your booth staff, so impress upon your staff the considerable marketing investment the show is for your company, and its potentially huge marketing value – depending on the level of their efforts.
It’s no coincidence that Las Vegas and Orlando are the top two U.S. trade show cities. Their year-round warm weather and fun atmosphere offer compelling reasons for attendees to visit. Other top cities, such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, are destinations worthy of a vacation in their own right. Consider making the venue city your ally, by hosting a hospitality event for top buyers that embodies the local sights. Whether it’s deep-sea fishing in Miami, a show in Las Vegas or New York, or golf in Orlando, enlist, rather than compete, with the show’s host city’s allure.
The Conference Sessions
I can’t count how many times a trade show attendee told me they couldn’t stop, or else couldn’t stay long in our booth, because they were rushing to an educational session. And that’s even at shows where exhibit hours run unopposed to sessions, because attendees still need time to walk from the show hall to meeting rooms. It’s even harder when a show keeps the exhibit hall open during sessions. So fight fire with fire. Attendees come to the show to learn; offer them valuable new research reports, or host your own educational presentations in your trade show displays.
Even while attending trade shows, your prospects are enticed to consume other forms of media, be it from their smartphone, e-mail or laptop. So launch an integrated marketing campaign during the show, reminding them via e-mail, social media and show-specific advertising, why they should visit you in your booth. That way, when they peruse other media, you redirect them back to your presence at the show.
Trade show attendees are people first and buyers second. While away from home they miss their families. That’s why some exhibitors provide giveaways that are specifically meant for their attendee’s kids, rather than attendees themselves. These exhibitors get valuable at-show attention that lets them start a meaningful conversation, even if after the show their logo ends up in a toy box.
Now that you know who your true trade show competitors really are, you can formulate strategies that garner more attention from your clients and prospects and triumph on the trade show floor.
How Planners Respond to Crisis During a Meeting
Worst-case scenarios are all too common in the meetings world. A recent Meetings&Conventions survey revealed that 58% of respondents experienced crises during events they planned. The most prevalent problem, cited by 53%, was medical emergencies, followed by natural disasters (20%), violent crime/assault (14%), death of an attendee (13%) and fire at the venue (13%). While 42% of planners have a general crisis plan in place for meetings, just 18% create such plans tailored to each major event.
For more information, read the magazine’s cover feature “Crisis Mode."
Top 10 Jobs Supported by Meetings
Meetings activity directly supported 1.7 million U.S. jobs, 1,128,700 of them in the meetings and tourism industry, according to The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, a Convention Industry Council study released in late February.
The top 10 industries in which jobs are directly supported by the meetings industry are:
- Food and beverage: 478,000 jobs
- Accommodation: 334,000 jobs
- Recreation and entertainment: 94,600 jobs
- Meeting organizers: 64,200 jobs
- Air transportation: 59,700 jobs
- Retail: 49,100 jobs
- Urban transit: 35,400 jobs
- Meeting venues: 31,000 jobs
- Car rentals: 27,700 jobs
- Other transportation: 19,800 jobs
For the purposes of this study, PwC used the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s definition of a meeting - lasting a minimum of four hours, at least 10 participants and held in a contracted venue within the United States.
The survey was based on primary and secondary research. The primary research was based on surveys sent to 33,000 meeting organizers, venue managers, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and exhibitors, in which 3,510 were returned for a response rate of about 11%. The delegate information was based on 2,250 surveys distributed to members of existing survey panels.
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