What role will virtual events play in the future and how can they best be incorporated into the exhibition industry value creation process?
These topics were addressed at the UFI Connects session focusing on virtual events on April 7, 2020, moderated by UFI Regional Manager LatAm, Ana Maria Arango and attended by 260+ industry professionals. Enrico Gallorini, CEO, GRS S.r.l., spoke about the strategic approach of exhibition organizers.He emphasised that the focus of any offer has to be on solving the problems of the clients. As he is convinced that the exhibition industry will not be the same again, he urges changing underlying business models, stating "Virtual events are no more sold square meters, it is really about data monetisation", adding "Our industry is not famous for having the best dataset. This has to change." Offering solutions to information needs is the solution.
"The magic about the exhibition industry is the mix of objectives that can be met at the same time at a trade show."
This idea was reinforced by Dahlia El Gazzar, tech evangelist + idea igniteur, DAHLIA + Agency, with the bold statement: "The new currency that we are dealing with (in the future) is the content." She is convinced that relevant content presented in the right way will be the only way to loyalty in the future. "You need snackable content and long-term content, both have to be appealing. Think binge watching Netflix.This kind of content needs to be created", she adds. To her mind, this includes helping exhibitors design better content for their participation so that they achieve better participation figures. Matthias Tesi Baur, CEO, MBB Consulting Group, dug deeper into what technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have to offer. Using them to solve pain points such as being insufficiently prepared for a trade show visit with too few appointments with relevant exhibitors or having to queue in a crowded entry situation instantly come to mind. He is convinced that face-to-face will continue to play a central role for the exhibition industry but digital offers will become just as important. Hybrid event formats integrate both components into a seamless experience.