How healthy is the exhibition industry?


Posted by

Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

I am looking forward to attending this year’s Congress in Bogota, Columbia. It will be my fifth Congress. One of the highlights for me has always been Jochen Witt’s overview of the exhibition industry.  I am not usually a fan of a presentation that includes lots of statistics, but Jochen’s presentation style and passion have kept me glued to each of his sessions year after year. I spoke to Jochen about this year’s remarks. Here is what he told me:

Barry:

How has the state of the exhibition business changed from last year?

Jochen:

Even though growth seems to have been slightly below expectations, our industry once again has proved to be very resilient in a rather volatile environment.

Barry:

What is your prediction for the future?

Jochen:

Unfortunately I don’t see the global economy becoming more stable in the next year. The European financial crisis is far from being over and new crisis spots in Ukraine, Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and North and Central Africa have emerged.  Thus two of the largest impediments to growth, loss of confidence and freedom of travel are very much affected. There was a recent article in the Financial Times titled “The world is marching back from globalization”. While I find this title somewhat exaggerated, it shows at least the volatility we have ahead of us.

Barry:

What factors should the industry be monitoring?

Jochen:

The overarching theme of the UFI Congress in Bogota is “Fit to Compete”. Interestingly, this theme can reference our industry as a whole or all those companies, organizers, venue owners/managers or service providers, which are active in our industry. In preparation for the Congress we at JWC have discussed what topics may be considered most important to being “Fit to Compete” and we came up with a list of eight factors or focus areas. Those factors are:

  1. Branding (of companies/shows),
  2. HR;
  3. Costs,
  4. IT,
  5. M&A,
  6. Processes and Organization,
  7. Pricing,
  8. Products and Offerings.

Of course it can be argued whether other focus areas such as Data Management, which should also be watched, but we felt that those factors mentioned above would well represent what is becoming most important for our industry.

We have started a survey amongst many individuals active in our industry to understand their views on these different topics. We will present the survey results at the Congress in Bogota.

If you haven’t done so already, check out the complete agenda for UFI’s 81st Congress in Bogota, Columbia. www.ufi.org/bogota2014

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