Visitors need a sense of place

Posted by
Barry Siskind
UFI’s Community Manager

Generation X and Millennials need more than a well-managed event to justify their decision to attend. They gravitate to events held in interesting and unique locations. Their bottom line is that they will attend events with the least amount of inconvenience and offering something interesting to do in their off hours. Every location has its unique value proposition from history to architecture, from food and drink to entertainment. These visitors are motivated by the unique ’sense of place’ that every location offers.

The problem is that once a visitor walks through the door this ‘sense of place’ disappears. They are no longer in Hanover, Beijing or London. They are now in an industry exposition which is similar to other exhibitions they have attended elsewhere in the world.

What makes a location unique is a major motivator. But are organizers doing all they can to reflect the uniqueness of their location? This includes everything from architecture to individual one-on-one interaction. Does the facility have large windows that overlook a dramatic cityscape? Does the food and drink reflect the culture of the region? Is the floor staff passionate and informed about their city?

I believe that the sense of place is a crucial element contributing to the longevity of an exhibition. But I question if our industry is doing all that we can to ensure that the ‘sense of place’ becomes an important consideration in our event planning.

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