Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, the exhibition capital of the United States affords me the opportunity to attend a huge variety of exhibitions and conferences. Recently, I visited an AI Confex called Ai4, a high-level event for enterprise organizations about artificial intelligence. While many of the sessions were far above my knowledge, the data scientists and others in the business were enthused and very engaged.

Here are some of the nuggets that I picked up during the sessions on retail – and what they mean for exhibitions:

  1. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” In other words, what data do you need from your show, registration, websites and why? How do you plan to use it? That is the data you want to collect. If it doesn’t fall into any of those baskets, don’t bother asking.
  2. How do you use captured data to:
    • Increase revenue and reduce costs?
    • Improve the customer experience?
    • Retain clients and reduce churn?
    • Get them to spend more?
  3. How can data be used to enhance the overall experience for all our stakeholders (visitors, exhibitors, sponsors and suppliers)?
    • How can we use machine learning to enhance the customer experience? (Machine learning is but one facet of AI)

Our customers are consumers. They expect exhibition registration experiences to mirror those of Amazon and Netflix, which unfortunately, most don’t – at least not yet.

Hopefully in the near future, registration forms will be pre-populated, allowing customers to edit or update information as needed. Based on previous attendance, industry sector, and visits to the show website, visitors be sent recommendations to educational sessions and exhibiting companies to visit, along with matchmaking to meet other attendees they share common interests.

In data science lexicon, exhibitions will offer extreme personalization, good/excellent search algorithms, and an easy buying process. We aren’t there yet, but I’m hopeful.