Transform Europe 2017 Challenged Senior Exhibition Leaders to Re-think Data, Analytics and Digital Strategies 

January 2, 2018

More than 70 senior exhibitions industry executives converged on Dec. 6 at Savoy Place in London for Transform Europe, a conference focused on event data, analytics and digital strategy.

Organized by strategy consultancy AMR International, the event provided delegates with critical insights into a range of top-of-mind topics including the commercial benefits and competitive advantage of implementing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); how the “customer-first” mantra needs to apply to data and analytics initiatives for valuable impact; the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and forming partnerships with tech suppliers and start-ups to forge business growth, as well as the customer-centric benefits of adapting blockchain technology to events.

“We know the expectations of attendees and exhibitors are rapidly changing,” said Denzil Rankine, executive chairman of AMR International, speaking at the opening of the conference. “There is no time to be complacent. To stay competitive, organizers need to think more strategically, embrace new technologies and learn from other industries.

He continued, “Never has this been more important, as organizers can no longer rely so heavily on revenues from exhibition space. A long-term prediction is for space revenues to represent 60 percent of overall revenues (down from more than 80 percent today) with as much as 40 percent from other sources including digital.”

Some key findings from the event included:

​​​​​​GDPR can bring commercial benefits and generate a competitive advantage:

During the event, Christine Andrews, managing director of DQM GRC, explained how GDPR presents an opportunity for show organizers to re-think their business processes, map out the data they have and determine how it’s being used. By doing so, event organizers can improve efficiencies, develop more targeted communication and secure more customer loyalty – all with clear and transparent data strategies.

Understanding the customer journey must be core to growth:

While there is a tendency for organizers to focus on the event itself, they need to interact with the customers before, during and beyond the event, as the more the customer journey is understood, the more organizers can interact with their core audiences and develop new revenue opportunities.

Fostering a culture of innovation and embracing partnerships with tech suppliers/ start-ups can lead to successful business growth:

To embrace innovation, organizations need to become more “entrepreneur-friendly” by making it easy for entrepreneurs to work with them, according to Rob Chapman, managing director of Founders Intelligence. Technology is an opportunity for organizers to discover what is happening outside of their organization and bring these learnings into their business, he explained.

Blockchain – a customer-centric application for organizers:

Ailis McKernan, head of digital at AMR International, explained how blockchain can give event organizers the ability to validate a transaction without a third-party being present. Not only does this provide a secure way to share data, it also attracts lower fees and is more efficient than a manual process. If applied by event organizers, this could significantly improve the customer experience and cut costs.

Transform Europe delegates included representatives from more than 50 percent of the world’s largest exhibition organizers, including Reed Exhibitions, UBM, Deutsche Messe, Comexposium and Artexis Easyfairs.

The event was supported by event technology suppliers including ASP, Blitz, Explori, Feathr, Grip, Gleanin, Glisser, Poken, Sherpa and VISIT by GES.

“We really enjoyed learning about some of the challenges our clients are facing and actually to hear that some of those experiences are the same across the industry,” said Matt Coyne, technology engagement architect for VISIT.

Next up in AMR’s Transform series will be Transform USA, scheduled for July 19 at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center in Washington D.C.


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