Blogger: Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director
At UFI, we always start off the year with the Global CEO Summit, an invitation-only event for the global leaders of our industry.
This year in Munich, two sessions stood out to me, as their themes aligned in an unexpected way: On the one hand, private equity was on stage, discussing their case of investing in the exhibition business. On the other hand, the two biggest players of our industry shared their perspectives on how they respond to the challenges of digitalisation.
The mutual answer from both of them – it is about culture. The culture of companies and how it evolves to constantly always improve the customer experience. This is about making the effort to get the small things right. It does make a difference if you ask a prospective visitor to “register here for the show “rather than to “get your ticket for this show here“. It is also about how you choose to invest in technology to standardise processes and workflows that are not critical, allowing you to free up resources for additional services and products that enhance the customer experience digitally.
While – as it was said in Munich – a lot of money has been wasted in our industry in search of the ‘digital dream’, there is also a fast-growing understanding that to succeed in an ever more digital environment, the whole company has to get involved in digital, not just one unit. Which brings us back to cultural change.
This is not going to happen from one day to another, so it was encouraging to hear that private investors are seeing the additional value that the exhibition industry is generating over time. Is it just as well that they are to some degree now driving change in our industry with their investments and expectations. This will be one development to watch.
By the way: If you are going to www.ufi.org these days, you will notice that we have rebuilt our web presence from the ground up. I invite you to send us your feedback about it.