10th October 2009

Global Event Summit Reveals Recovery Strategies for Exhibition Organisers

As the exhibition industry adapts to an altered economic landscape, organisers are impatient to step up their commercial activity and move into new markets.

As the exhibition industry adapts to an

altered economic landscape, organisers are impatient to step up their

commercial activity and move into new markets. 

This was one of the trends that emerged from a series of  ‘Unconference’ discussions, held as part of the

Global Event Summit on

1-3 September at The Grove.

Attended by over a hundred board-level

executives from many of the world’s most prominent exhibition organising

companies and venues, the Global Event Summit was designed to stimulate global

mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and geo-cloning activities.

Using voting keypads to indicate their

commercial plans, 22% of those present said they expected to sell an exhibition

event during the next 24 months.  At the

same time, 41% expected to buy an exhibition or event in the same period.  69% of those present were expecting to launch

an exhibition in the next 24 months and 72% were planning to launch events in

new geographical territories.  India, China

and Brazil

were cited as the top emerging destinations.

Commenting on the overall mood of the

Global Event Summit, event organiser Trevor Foley said: “The atmosphere was

very upbeat.   While statements about

economic recovery are still cautious, there was a very real sense that the time

for stagnation and inactivity is over. 

People are impatient now to move forward.”

Audience engagement specialist Crystal

Interactive facilitated the Unconference, held on the afternoon of 2

September.  Sidestepping the traditional

presentation and speaker model, the Unconference format gave delegates equal

opportunities to speak and exchange information on collectively-selected topics

exploring the next chapter for event industry globalisation.

Delegates elected to hold discussions

around the three strongest themes that had emerged from the question: ‘What are

the barriers to achieving the next level of globalisation?’  The themes were: managing cultural differences

when doing business internationally; developing and retaining staff and management

teams of the right quality (together with a discussion of whether to source

local staff or ’parachute-in expats); and managing the visitor and exhibitor experience

when venue, infrastructure and service quality vary so greatly across the globe.

There were further signs of the blurring of

demarcation lines between organisers and venues – as more exhibition venues said

they were considering launching their own events to fill unbooked space.  

Commenting on this trend Alastair Gornall,

Chief Executive of Reed Exhibitions UK said: “In many markets there is an over capacity of

exhibition space and clearly the halls won’t all sit back and leave it empty.

 I anticipate that in the next 24 months some halls, both here and

elsewhere in the world, will launch more of their own shows and some of them

could easily be in competition with existing business – which will not be