New Report Outlines Future of Trade Shows, How to Prepare for Them

January 14, 2013

In a continuous effort to stay ahead of the curve, meeting industry leaders collaborated to fund a research project to predict, as well as plan for the future of, convention exhibits and trade shows.

ASAE Foundation, Exhibition Industry Foundation, Freeman, Gaylord Entertainment, and PCMA Education commissioned a project to look at the trends and analyze trade shows from five hypothetical perspectives. 

Each provides insight into how to create more impact with exhibit space.

Scenarios of the Future: Convention Exhibits and Trade Show 2016is the result from a year-long research study that comprised of extensive research within the exhibits industry, face-to-face discussions, outreach to industry and non-industry professionals, and online discussions.

“The future of trade shows can’t be predicted by conventional survey methodology,” said Liz Erikson, Chair, PCMA Education Foundation.

She added, “Rather than conducting traditional research, we gathered some of the best minds in the meetings and events industry in small and large group discussions to visualize where our industry is headed and what we’ll need to do to prepare.”

In addition to industry leaders, the research included perspectives from exhibitors and attendees to determine the way forward.

“This study clearly demonstrates that the future will not resemble the past,” said Francis Friedman, President of New York-based trade show consultant group Time & Place Strategies.

He added, “New marketing methods, new formats for interactions and rapid changes in social media will require new approaches to audience development and building event brand loyalty.”

The full report outlines the following key findings:

Five Scenarios for the Future – The design principles, potential risks and business model indicators associated with each approach

Four Essential Elements to Create an Unrivaled Experience – The essential ingredients for crafting a “wow” event

Top 10 Takeaways for Updating Your Exhibits Plan – Complete with descriptions and a discussion guide for further exploration

Assessment metrics tables – Key questions your team can use to gauge performance

“As an industry, it’s critical for us to continually look at how to improve the experience, quality, and format of our exhibit space, so we can provide the high-quality event our members and exhibitors expect,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE.

To learn more and download the complete findings visit

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HERE, hosting responsible meetings and caring for our communities are top priorities. Through its 'Focused on What Matters: Embracing Humanity and Protecting the Planet' philosophy, MGM Resorts commits to creating a more sustainable future, while striving to make an impact in the lives of employees, guests, and the communities in which it operates. Water Stewardship Efforts MGM Resorts understands the importance of using water efficiently, especially in the desert destination of Las Vegas. Conserving water has always been part of the mission, but MGM Resorts has expanded its ambition into water stewardship. In 2022, MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle signed the CEO Water Mandate—a UN Global Compact initiative mobilizing business leaders to advance water stewardship. MGM Resorts International was the first gaming company to take this important step. MGM Resorts replaced 200,000 square feet of real grass with drought-tolerant landscaping in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts pledges to reduce water withdrawal intensity by 33% by 2025 and by 35% by 2030. From 2007-2021, use of more than 5.6 billion gallons of water was avoided because of conservation efforts. Caring for One Another MGM Resorts’ Food Donations Program collects and preserves unserved food from conventions held at MGM Resorts properties, then safely donates to food insecure people in the community. Since the program’s launch in 2016, more than 3.7 million meals toward a 2025 goal of 5 million meals have been donated into the community. Donations include: Unserved perishable prepared foods from events Perishable unprepared food from MGM Resorts’ kitchens Nonperishable food items from minibars and warehouses The collaboration with Southern Nevada’s primary food bank, Three Square, has developed the infrastructure needed to safely collect, transport, and store food from MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas, reducing food waste while serving the community. Fostering Diversity and Inclusion To MGM Resorts, a diverse and talented workforce is essential to success. By cultivating innovative strategies that consider multiple perspectives and viewpoints, the company creates an inclusive workplace culture that benefits its employees and community. MGM Resorts takes pride in being a welcoming home for veterans, individuals with disabilities, people from diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+ community members, and more. This commitment to inclusion is reflected in the company's recruitment and hiring practices and its social responsibility initiatives. From the workplace to the community, MGM Resorts' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion remains unwavering, and its efforts continue to create a more equitable and sustainable world for all. MGM Resorts understands its responsibility to contribute to the social and economic progress of the communities in which it operates. HERE, we embrace humanity.