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UFI Blog – The platform for the Exhibition Industry

UFI brings together those who build, maintain, and support the world’s market places: trade show organisers, venue owners and operators, service providers, and national as well as international associations of our industry.

The UFI Blog shares the voices of industry professionals around the globe. We invite you to become part of the community, supply your comments and share your ideas.

Enjoy reading – Your UFI team

October 2022: A letter from the UFI President – Oman ahead!

Dear colleagues and friends, Time flies! As this edition of UFI Info goes out, we are just six weeks away from our Global Congress in Oman. When writing this column, I looked up the registration list, and I am so looking forward to seeing so many of my industry friends and colleagues again. You will remember that the COVID-related travel bans forced me to miss out on the Congress in Rotterdam last November, when my term as your President began. I am all the more personally excited about the Congress in Oman. The Congress programme that the UFI team is working on looks outstanding and inspirational – there are sessions covering different perspectives important to sustain our industry as well as the best practices in running our businesses.  I believe you will find your time spent in the Congress a most worthwhile and fruitful experience. For me, the Congress is the most important global event gathering our industry leaders from around the world as well as many first-time attendees. I always look out for these new faces in the room and start a conversation. I also look forward to meeting the winners of 2022 Next Generation Leadership Grant in person [...]

Regional spotlight: How is inflation impacting on North American exhibition organizations?

There’s no doubt that inflationary pressures and supply chain issues are real in the U.S. and around the globe. How are North American exhibition organizers dealing these economic headwinds? We spoke with three UFI members who are leading exhibition organizers in North America to find out how they are creating a game plan to address these rapidly evolving challenges.

Attracting Talent into the Exhibition Industry

The UFI Next Generation Leadership (NGL) Grantees: Monika Baro, VNU Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (Thailand), Daniella Galante, RX Africa (South Africa), Joe Kowalsky, Emerald X (USA), Justine Rabel, Eventmaker (France), Maria Victoria Piñeres, Costa Rica Convention Center/Grupo Heroica Volio & Trejos S.A. (Costa Rica) and Jon Yahirun, Clarion Events (USA) focus for their collective presentation at the upcoming UFI Global Congress in Muscat, Oman is New Talent Narrative for the Industry. “Presently,” said Kowalsky, “Our industry has no dedicated talent narrative. How we position and talk about ourselves is important to attract the right people. We are interested to learn what people in exhibitions think about our industry along with their thoughts on career benefits – and what it will take to attract new talent into our industry.”  Kowalsky continued, “If we want to ensure a successful future for our industry, it's essential we listen and provide thoughtful solutions to the challenges facing the global workforce.” Once the data is analyzed, the NGL’s will review the results and recommend a cohesive narrative to better recruit new people into the exhibition business. Please help by completing this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W3V79BW and share it with friends, not just those in the exhibition industry, [...]

Jaarbeurs wins the 2022 UFI Digital Innovation Award

The UFI Digital Innovation Award is designed to reward the best exhibition industry initiatives and to offer platform to exchange interesting and innovative ideas, concepts, techniques and knowledge to related digital innovation issues. This year's theme was digital innovation that supports the return of live exhibitions. UFI received more than 30 entries from around the world. To honour those who have successfully implemented creative and results-oriented initiatives, UFI invited the three finalists to Paris' Porte de Versailles exhibition hall on 5 September to present their projects live. Hosted by ViParis, the finalists had the opportunity to tour an urban rooftop farm, Nature Urbaine, before and after their presentations. The meeting was hosted by ViParis at Porte de Versailles, where the finalists were able to tour an urban rooftop farm, Nature Urbaine. The jury selected Jaarbeurs for having developed a smart venue concept centred on a proprietary app “Jaarbeurs Live.” The app bundles a range of features including ticketing, parking, indoor navigation, geofencing & proximity marketing and crowd control and is used by for Jaarbeurs own events and available for guests events to give the most improved customer journey for visitors and exhibitors. Aletta Kok, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer Royal Jaarbeurs Utrecht [...]

September 2022: UFI President’s Letter

Dear colleagues and friends, Our latest UFI Global Barometer has been released a few weeks back, and it is great to see our industry’s recovery manifested in the data. Globally, this year we will reach around three quarters of the revenues we reported in 2019, which was our industry’s best year on record. And we’re all optimistic about the first half of 2023, where some markets even expect to reach or exceed their 2019 revenues already! The picture is more mixed across Asia, and the region that I call my home has not been able to catch up that well yet. Our revenues are expected to reach around two thirds of the 2019 levels, and are expected to grow back to at least 75% of the 2019 revenues in the first half of 2023. In comparison, right now, Asia-Pacific has the slowest rate of post pandemic recovery. The reasons are simple: Where borders reopen and travel restrictions are eased, people travel again. See the inner European travel numbers after the European Union (EU) rolled out the digital vaccine certificates and the EU reverted to free transfer of people and goods as the pandemic eased. See as well the United States, [...]

September 2022: An update from the CEO

Dear colleagues, dear UFI members, I have to admit, I am already excited about our Global Congress in Oman this November. For a number of reasons – let me share them! You know that we strive to bring in an opening speaker who can take a look at our industry’s opportunities and challenges from an outside perspective – remember the organic wine farmer who spoke about resilience in Johannesburg? Or the conductor who taught (and touched) us with his compassionate speech about engagement in Bangkok?  This year, we will welcome a multiple Oscar and Emmy Awards winner: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. A Pakistani-Canadian journalist, filmmaker and activist, she will talk about what it takes to take a different perspective, and how we can manage to look at our industry from other angles, and therefore escape the trap to be caught in our own perceptions. Of course, this is just the opening session, and the full programme is shaping up as well – you can always check here for the latest. Then – our hosts: The team spirit between our host OCEC and their partners and the UFI team is great. Ideas are created, new elements are being prepared, and I can assure [...]

Thrive in Thailand’s Full Economic Reopening with TCEB’s “E Power 3” Campaign

Thailand is now gearing for a return to economic normalcy. Starting in October, health authorities will designate COVID-19 to an epidemic disease that requires monitoring. In July, the government has lifted nationwide restrictions with businesses resuming operations.  Efforts to fully open the country up again to overseas organizers and participants, be they exhibitors or visitors, should further strengthen business activities, a positive sign for exhibition industry which has a role to facilitate business and trade for industry sectors. The future is bright for Thailand, with business gathering regaining momentum after COVID-19 control now relaxed, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) aims to support the exhibition industry in welcoming international trade shows through its latest “E3 (E Power 3)” campaign, or also known as “Empowering Exhibition Economy”. The campaign breaks down into three key strategies: “Powerful Subvention Program” (PEOs Empowerment), a series of programs that help local exhibition organizers and businesses related to tradeshows achieve international professionalism while also fostering new organizers in enhancing the country’s economy. Moreover, the strategy also lay the groundwork to help bring overseas buyers from CLMV countries. “Powerful Partnership” (MICE Alliance) places emphasis on building networks and partnerships with government agencies as well as local [...]

Regional spotlight: What’s trending in the North American exhibition industry?

How can exhibition organizers and companies use the data from the Global Exhibition Barometer? The bi-annual flagship research study by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, provides insights and key metrics on recovery rates, actual revenues and growth projections that you can use to benchmark to your show to your peers and colleagues. The best part: It’s free to UFI members and non-members. In addition to a global perspective, the UFI Barometer provides a deeper dive into the data for North America. I outlined four key takeaways in this blog, UFI BAROMETER DEEP DIVE: U.S. IS BOUNCING BACK FASTER THAN GLOBAL INDUSTRY OVERALL, which was published on TSNN in August. There was so much great intel in this report, I wanted to share four more key takeaways:  The good news: Survival without subsidies. Only 8% of U.S. exhibition organizations received Covid-19 related government support. Overall globally, 27% of exhibition companies received public financial support during the pandemic. Deeper dive: There were a total of 8,184 U.S. businesses in the Convention and Trade Show Organizers industry that received PPP (paycheck protection program) loans, according to the Small Business Administration. They received an average of $79,406 per loan and a total of $650 million, [...]

Nuggets from an AI Confex

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: “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.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?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 [...]

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