6 Ways to Future-Proof Your Trade Show

January 2, 2020

Sophie Holt

Sophie Holt is the Global Strategy Director of Explori. An experienced event marketer who has worked with a number of respected organizers and producers over the course of her career, Sophie has launched 11 B2B and consumer events in sectors as diverse as healthcare management and gaming. 

In Explori and UFI’s 2018/19 Global Visitor Insights Report supported by SISO, 13,000 trade show visitor responses were analyzed and 135 countries were represented to create the largest study of trade show experience. The findings suggest six key indicators of future success for trade show organizers. With themes such as festivalization, sustainability and personalization, it is clear that the industry is ripe with innovation. 

Here are the six things trade show organizers should consider in the coming year and beyond to continue attracting and retaining keen visitors.

1. Strike a balance between business objectives and enjoyment

While entertainment is not a high priority for the majority of visitors in developed markets, organizers can expect to see this evolve as Millennials and Gen Z comprise an increasingly important part of their audience. The experience during a trade show will become as relevant as achieving business objectives in driving visitor satisfaction.

2. Continue to place a high value on the role of exhibitor

While the relative importance of enjoyment and the ability to meet business objectives may change over time, the critical importance of showcasing the most innovative solutions, particularly through a high-quality exhibition floor, is likely to remain a key driver of visitor satisfaction.

3. Resolve the tension between providing personalization and the “wow-factor”

With some organizers seeking to deliver a highly personalized, curated experience for their visitors, others are investing in high-impact, memorable moments to delight visitors. We may see a decline in mid-size events and a polarization towards the very niche, community-focused event or the super-sized (super budget) scaled event.

4. Reject the one-size-fits-all approach

From differences in age, sector and geography, to personal preference and length of relationship, most organizers agree that personalization will be an important part of their future marketing and event strategies. The event of the future will be tailored not only to the global preferences of its target audience but also to the individual visitor themselves. 

5. Welcome the possibilities of event tech

Successful organizers will continue to scan the horizon for new technology but will only implement solutions that complement the objectives of their visitors and help them to meet them, whether they are technology-led, people-led or a blend of both.

6. Demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability

Organizers in all regions will need to clearly demonstrate their commitment to running trade shows in a sustainable way to serve the needs of their current visitors and attract new visitors, particularly those from developing markets.

 

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