A brief overview of 2022 and prediction for the business events industry for 2023.
The excitement of getting our shows on the ground this year was palpable. The opportunity to stimulate business in different sectors by reigniting the exhibition industry was a ray of hope we all had been waiting for. But it has not been easy; rebuilding the industry presented organisers with multiple challenges. From securing the right dates and venues, exhibitors moving budgets to other marketing platforms, upskilling and rehiring personnel, and convincing visitors to leave the comfort of their homes/offices and attend exhibitions, we have had to rebuild the foundation for our industry. Evidently, the demand for exhibitions still exists, but the value proposition has changed.
Despite the bleak prospect of the continued recession in 2023, a reality we can choose to wallow in, or we could choose to embrace the opportunities a new year bestows. Re-establishing the foundation that exhibitions are built on requires us to meaningfully reconnect with our stakeholders.
We must steer our stakeholders back to the value exhibitions offer their businesses, which calls for a purposeful education drive. We cannot assume that our customers will come back onto the floor at the drop of a rate card, email newsletter, or promotion. Two years have been lost to other marketing platforms where customers sought to replace exhibitions. It is vital to re-educate clients on the opportunities and benefits that exhibitions offer to ensure they move their budgets back onto the exhibition floor.
Stakeholders’ expectations are changing, and they want more value for their spend. The pandemic has significantly changed the landscape; what worked pre-COVID may not always work now. We must engage with our customers to understand their new needs, how their companies have evolved, their new business environment, and the industry challenges they face to provide them with the right solution. We will not retain customers if we adopt a ‘one-size fits all strategy.
Technology has enveloped society tenfold in the past three years. But we can rest assured that despite the many attempts to host exhibitions online during this time, technology will never replace the inherent value of a handshake, along with the smell, sounds and sights a face-to-face exhibition beholds. Technology does, however, present us with the opportunity to enhance our customers’ participation, making the experience simpler, better, and faster. Ultimately clever usage of technology on the show floor is key to facilitating better business for our customers.