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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

November 2022 – A letter from the UFI President

Dear colleagues, dear friends, This is my last column in UFI Info as your President. But – there is still a lot to report and to share, before I will hand over the Presidency at the end of our Congress in Oman to my friend and colleague Mr Michael Duck. Last month was special to me, as I could – finally – attend my first industry meeting outside of Hong Kong again, after 33 months, now that the compulsory hotel quarantine  requirement for my home base has ended. I was thrilled to travel to Singapore for the first ever Asia CEO Summit that UFI jointly organised with AEO, SACEOS, and SISO. Together, the four associations were working to create an event where show organisers both from the East and the West could meet, exchange, and learn from each other. While this first edition still had to deal with patchwork travel regulations across Asia, I am confident that it will grow over time. Addressing such issues is and remains a core challenge for our industry advocacy work in the region. UFI and SACEOS took the project lead among the four partners to organise the “Joint Leadership Summit”, a dialogue between our [...]

How Do We Communicate the Fun Factor Working in the Expo Industry?

The UFI Next Generation of Leaders (NGL) Recipients Monika Baro, Project Manager, VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd, Daniella Galante, Digital Marketing & Creative Manager, RX South Africa, Joseph Kowalsky, Show Director, Emerald X LLC, Maria Victoria Piñeres, Operations Manager, Costa Rica Convention Center/Grupo Heroica Volio y Trejos S.A., Justine Rabel, International Key Account Manager, Eventmaker, and Jon Yahirun, Customer Success Manager, Clarion Events will present their findings and recommendations for the exhibition industry to attract and retain talent in their “A New Talent Narrative” at the upcoming UFI Global Congress. I spoke with three of the recipients (Daniella, Maria, and Jon) last week about the process of developing their highly anticipated session and what to expect. Maria began the conversation, “It’s been a lot of fun, interesting and challenging – deciding on a topic, conducting research, and seeing if our hypotheses run true, or not. One thing we’ve all realized is that going forward, change in our lives and the industry is a constant and is here to stay. We will have to adapt to survive. One of their original hypotheses was that having few academic designations for the exhibition industry in universities across the world was a negative. [...]

October 2022: A message from the CEO

Dear colleagues, dear UFI members, The next weeks will be busy for the UFI team as we prepare the Global Congress, finalise research projects, and work with colleagues at JMIC to have the “Net Zero Carbon Events Roadmap” ready in time for COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. You will find updates on these projects and activities in this UFI Info. In parallel, the regular work at UFI continues, and we are adapting as your industry association to meet your evolving needs and challenges. You might have seen that the UFI leadership has agreed to expand the UFI team and bring in two additional colleagues, who will focus on advocacy and content– areas where we have increased our involvement. UFI now has, metaphorically speaking, “seats at the table” in projects and activities with organisations like the UNFCC, the OECD, and ISO. These new colleagues will allow us to give the necessary attention to these demands, and to share this work in a better way with you, our global membership. At the same time, we are of course reviewing our activities, and reducing what is no longer necessary. One good example is our work [...]

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 [...]

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