10th October 2009
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
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