25th January 2007

New Year, New Idea

John Spain offers ten ideas for the industry to make 2007 a happy one

1 Stop beating ourselves up about the decline in visitor numbers. Although these have seen a worrying decline in recent years there are nevertheless plenty of show that continue to grow and are examples to the rest of the industry. Maybe that’s because they have…

2 …continued to focus on delivering the right event for the industry it works for. These successful shows are constantly talking to their customers to ask what they want from the event. We must give visitors and exhibitors what they want, not what we think they’ll want

3 Talk to each other. People say that consumer and trade shows are two different things. Surely B2B exhibitors and visitors are human beings as well? Why do we have the ‘wow factor’ at consumer shows but not trade shows?

4 Develop more green initiatives. The waste created by the industry may not be huge compared to others but we can all do a lot more to help the planet

5 Support industry events. Whatever we may think of Confex or the other ‘event’ shows, they are actually about promoting our industry to a wider community. It is in all our interests to develop this community as much as possible

6 Work even harder at educating exhibitors. There are still too many exhibitors who exhibit badly and let down themselves and, very often, may other people at the show. It is difficult but they need to be coerced into listening to advice, after all, it can only benefit them in the long run

7 Stop fleecing the punters. There were several high-profile instances last year of venues and organisers slapping stealth taxes on their customers. These unashamed revenue generators are so transparent and only give us a bad name. Car park charging needs to be examined too

8 Decide once and for all if we are in the events or exhibition industry. Events is rapidly becoming the sexy term but do we lose the word ‘exhibition’ at our peril?

9 Visit more shows. Exhibition people spend their lives telling customers how great exhibitions are but, strangely, don’t get along to many themselves

10 Keep reading TSNN UK and Events Review. To keep in the loop, make sure you read your copy and watch the interviews