With just two weeks until IMEX in Frankfurt, over 2,800 buyers from across the world – spanning agencies, corporates, independents and associations – are busy building their show schedules and making appointments to meet and do business with an international roster of suppliers for the first time in three years.
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has chosen Bangkok as the host city of its annual general meeting next year. The 62nd ICCA Congress will be held from November 12-15, 2023.
The 2022 UFI European Conference took place over the course of three days, putting the spotlight on important industry topics and challenges faced by exhibition and event industry professionals.
The UFI board of directors has today elected Geoff Dickinson as UFI president for the 2023-24 period.
Christian Mutschlechner, the former CEO of the Vienna Convention Bureau and ICCA President, has joined the board of jwc in Germany as of March 1st, 2022.
UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has named the winners of this year’s UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL), following expert deliberation by a jury of exhibitions industry leaders.
Forty-three MICE entrepreneurs from 15 markets, who visited Thailand as part of Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)’s first familiarisation trip after a two-year pause, expressed their confidence in Thailand and the seven-day trip produced 57 leads with a business value estimated at 1,900 million baht.
Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) has announced that 40% of construction work for the biggest exhibition hall in the Middle East and North Africa has been completed.
A temporary emergency shelter for war refugees from Ukraine is being set up at the Nuremberg Exhibition Center.
Organised by the German trade show company fairtrade, the 7th edition takes place from 22 to 24 March 2022 at the Landmark Centre in Lagos.
Thailand is chosen to host the International Horticultural Expo 2026 in Udon Thani, a northeastern province. It will be the first landmark global event in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has released the latest edition of its flagship Global Barometer research, which takes the pulse of the industry.
Numbers released by the IMEX Group reflect the strong demand for the global community to get back to business, with a truly international spread of participants confirmed for IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place 31 May – 2 June.
UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has today announced an adapted format for its Asia-Pacific Conference 2022.
The revamped Queen Sirikit National Convention Center includes a new retail mall “BALM” developed under the concept of ‘Bangkok’s Active Lifestyle Mall’ to attract and serve health and fitness enthusiasts, urban workers and families with a variety of over 100 leading retail brands, restaurants and amenities.
UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has today announced the location of its next European Conference, which will take place, in-person, in Poznan, Poland, from 4-6 May.
The trade show pairing has been rescheduled in close consultation with exhibitors.
Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) is gratified to assist the Malaysian Society of Colorectal Surgeons (MSCRS) in winning the bid to host the 20th Congress of Asia Pacific Federation of Coloproctology & 14th Asian Society of Stoma Rehabilitation Congress in March 2025.
The change allows the team to stage the 20th anniversary of its trade show from Tuesday 31 May – Thursday 02 June, giving the global meetings, incentive travel and events industry an additional five weeks to prepare.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
A discussion paper written by Ton Otten, Director International, Jaarbeurs VNU
In 2019 I
read an article from the McKinsey Global Institute about Europe’s innovation challenge
and the need to change the rules of the game [i].
The learnings I took from this article and the post-COVID challenges for the
exhibition industry inspired me to make a bicycle trip this summer from
Switzerland to the Netherlands alongside the borders of the river Rhine. This
area is one of Europe’s most important economic regions and the home ground of numerous
leading exhibition companies. The result of the trip is this discussion paper, which
suggests undiscovered paths to strengthen our competitive edge in the digital
field. Not by trying to play catch-up while hindered by a one-dimensional view
on data, fragmentation and lack of scale, but by changing the game to build on
Collaboration the main success driver
Europe has a history of collaboration across borders and connecting clusters of successful industries. One of the backbones of the European economy is the river Rhine, which flows through the most highly-developed industrial areas of Europe. The geographical location and natural conditions made the development of one of Europe’s most important economic regions possible. In 2019, the population of the Rhine corridor[ii], 12.1 % of the EC and Switzerland, contributed for 17.5 % of the GDP.[iii]
Small, medium-sized and big international companies shaped the Rhine economy, facilitated by governments, institutions, universities, and cross-border business networks to stimulate innovation, partnerships, entrepreneurship, and trade. Collaboration is one of the main success drivers of the Rhine economy, and investors, corporates, and SMEs were always aware of the fact that they needed to share expertise and work as partners to realize the region’s full economic potential. So far, the exhibition organizers were acting in contrast and underestimated the added value of ‘Rhine’ principles as a strategic asset!
The pink elephant in the room
The Rhine river corridor, including the tributaries, is the home ground of Europe’s large-scaled exhibition centers, with 6 out of the 11 venues exploiting more than 100,000 sqm and reported a Euro 2.4 billion revenue in the pre-COVID year 2019. Frankfurt, Cologne and Dusseldorf are ahead of the pack, contributing 65 % of the revenue in 2019, and belonging to the five biggest venues in Europe. The revenue growth of the Rhine corridor exhibition centers was during the timeframe 2010 to 2019 3.5 % per annum, which was 30 % above the national GDP growth of 2.7 %. Despite this good performance, the pink elephant has been in the room a long time! The second half of past decade, 2015-2019, the economy accelerated, and the national GDP grew with 3.4 % per annum. At the same time the exhibition operators in the Rhine corridor were losing ground. The revenue was still growing but ended on 3.6 %, which was only 8 % above GDP level!
past decades most of the venues expanded their business successfully, managed
to recover from the financial crisis and outperformed in 2019. The revenue growth
was generally the result of the increasing volume of their cash-cows,
geo-cloning of brands into new geographical areas and M&A activities. Like
the automobile industry the ‘bigger=better’ principle dominated most of the
decisions about the allocation of talent, resources, budgets, and other assets,
mainly to support the cash-cows. Of course, it was not only tweaking the
business, but lots of new product launches of the past decade are already
forgotten and those who are still battling to move to the next better quadrant the
BCG matrix are not the game-changers we need.
Digitalization the game-changer
innovation is more than the replacement of a brochure by a cool looking website
and digitalization is more than the automation of daily routines. During the
century of mechanization and automation businesses big industries were focused
on volume and efficiency and the value-chains were dominated by conglomerates
and shareholders principles. The historical barriers for innovative start-ups disappeared
when we entered the digitalization area, the moment that capital was nearly for
free and investors were looking for new ways to make a good return on their
Digitalization has emerged as a game-changer, like the automobile industry faced when Tesla proved that software is the motor of the value chain instead of the car manufacturing. From a customer perspective, the product quality and functionality at the moment of buying is going to be less dominant. But more important are going to be the software and the infrastructure to receive continuously, in a high frequency, new services and therefore new features. Services and features which are based on the end-user data, collected on a daily and global base.
Digitalization as the enabler for a continuous up-stream of data and down-stream of services sounds like a perfect match to accelerate the ecosystem and to maximize added value. For some tech-companies’ already reality but for most SMEs, including the exhibition operators who were never really at the forefront of technology, a dream to work on. Tech companies continue to push their business models into more industries to leverage their network scale to expand into new technologies such as artificial intelligence. “Data access is as critical to ensure that new ecosystems can thrive. In fact, the value of a network is increasing at the square of its size; finding ways to achieve more access to data to boost size thus has a disproportionately large effect” (McKinsey, October 2019).
Exhibitors understand the value of sharing of customers with their competitors because it is an effective and less costly method to get in touch with existing and new buyers. You must give something to gain more! So far discussions about data in our industry were dominated by the point of view that we shouldn’t share our data, which is in contrast with the idea we are selling to our customers! It’s interesting to see that collaboration principle is out of scope when we are talking about digitalization and data, one of the most strategic aspects for the future of our business. This subject needs a broader and more deeper discussion, supported by an analysis of what we should arrange and organize in common, to take advantage of GDP growth and gain leverage.
The exhibition industry has the ability to scale digital innovation, but we need to orientate ourselves on examples that are already working instead of walking the learning curve from scratch. “Examples set by the European Automotive and Telecoms Alliance, which includes telecom operators, vendors, car and truck manufacturers, and suppliers, may be only the beginning, as competitors in the automobile industry combine their research efforts and service offerings to achieve more scale in customer and data access. Such efforts in other sectors could enable small and medium-sized organizers, entrepreneurial companies and attract start-ups to pilot innovation at a larger scale within our supply chains through platforms to play a key role in generating radical innovation” (McKinsey, October 2019).
The roadmap for the digitalization
Denying our common interest, in the area we are facing, is maybe one of the biggest threats to put the exhibition industry at a structural disadvantage. To strengthen our competitive edge, not by trying to play catch-up while being hindered by fragmentation and lack of scale, but by changing the game and build on our strengths and jump on glaringly obvious opportunities. We could rethink data and user access to level the playing field for innovative companies vis-à-vis global-scale data platforms and connect data pools. We could aim to enable secure access for innovators to anonymize data pools they do not own and create scale around common standards.
This discussion paper doesn’t want to give an opinion about what’s best for our industry but to push on the awareness button. A team of business leaders supported by a mixture of external experts needs to work on a roadmap for the digital future of our industry.
[i] McKinsey Global Institute: Innovation in Europe, October 2019 ttps://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/innovation/reviving%20innovation%20in%20europe/mgi-innovation-in-europe-discussion-paper-oct2019-vf.ashx
[ii] The Rhine corridor includes the
regions North-West Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Rhineland-Pfalz,
Saarland, Nord-Rhein-Westfalen, East Netherland, West Netherland and the following 11
exhibition venues: Zurich, Basel, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf,
Essen, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam.
[iii] Source Eurostat and Federal Statistical Office Switzerland
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