The EEAA (Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia) Leaders Forum, held recently on Queensland’s Gold Coast, explored the impact of new technologies on the exhibition sector and how this will affect the evolution of the industry in the next 10 years.
Forty industry leaders took the opportunity to examine the exhibition sector’s recent performance and collaborate on future directions. Participants included CEOs and general managers from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin convention centers; leading organizers Reed Exhibitions, Diversified, ETF and AEC; and major suppliers including Moreton Hire, InfoSalons, Agility and ExpoNet.
Despite technology innovations and the explosion of social media, the industry leaders unanimously agreed that exhibitions will remain relevant and powerful, as the only marketing channel to offer a flexible face-to-face buying experience.
“However, exhibitions will still need to deliver an outstanding experience for their stakeholders – and utilizing technology and personal portable devices to complement the offering will be a key success driver,” said Joyce DiMascio, general manager, EEAA. “For every show, every exhibition, every event it is crucial that organizers, suppliers and venues collaborate to create experiences that drive exhibitor participation and visitor attendance. The exhibition must be delivered as an experience that can’t be experienced elsewhere – especially online.”
Exhibitions also proved to be resilient during the recent global financial downturn. While many marketing budgets were cut, research from CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) showed companies recognized that exhibitions remained a cost-effective way of reaching key decision-makers.
“Our challenge will be to continue to provide a compelling story to encourage exhibition participation by communicating the benefits of exhibitions as an integral part of any marketing plan – and a unique way of reaching a qualified target audience,” DiMascio said.