post image

Next gen event tech will ‘reveal the VIP buyers’ in the room

The next stage of event technology will allow participants to know which VIP attendees are in the room at an exhibition, according to a DWTC leader.

Bilal Al-Rais, vice president of technology and digital cluster, told ExpoPlatform helping people understand who else is at the venue is one of the most important features they seek to develop.

This would allow exhibitors where their key targets are when trying to make connections around the showfloor, significantly increasing the value of participation.

He said: “One thing we’ll be looking to develop further is when you’re in a social networking event, how do you use technology to help people understand who’s in the room? 

“A lot of the events industry has not figured that out – but we’re looking to identify and work with start-ups to actually deliver that.

“Because that’s one of the most important pieces of feedback we’re getting. 

“It’s hard to know who’s here in front of me, without necessarily having to look at the badge.”

Dubai World Trade Centre has a feature which allows them to understand when a major player has entered the building, allowing them to take special action.

However, the venue now wants to take this to the next stage so it can be personalised for participants across a grand scale.

Bilal added: “We already have a system in place where we get notified when any VIP or top CEO comes into the show – the team members get notified what registration point they came in so that we can engage with them. 

“They get an automated response from WhatsApp and by notification to make sure they know where they need to go.

“But we’re trying to take things to another level of customization.

“For us to be able to make sure we have more visibility and awareness and make the customers know who’s around you, that is actually the direction that we’re going with technology in the event space.”

High-value meetings are key to exhibition survival

The interview comes after GITEX Global which saw thousands of meetings taking place using a hosted buyer feature utilising ExpoPlatform modules as technology provider.

This curated meetings program element is of key importance to the success of DWTC events, making business connections which are high value.

Bilal set out his belief that this approach is crucial to the survival of tradeshows today when the market is becoming more focussed on efficiency.

He said: “If you don’t do meetings, if you don’t facilitate and really take care to step forward beyond the space allowing and facilitating connections, you are just another exhibition that will die. 

“The only reason that we’re constantly growing is because we’re never satisfied with the number of meetings that we’re actually setting up for customers.

“At GITEX, we were setting up meetings with our customers on a one-on-one basis – and that’s something that doesn’t stop. 

“That’s the reason why we are where we are – because the ease of connecting is actually there, the interest in actually allowing someone to grow is there. 

“It all starts with people – as much as we’re using technology.

“If we don’t have the leadership in place to drive customization, facilitate engagements, allow people to understand the content we’re generating is very rich and there’s something they can learn and be inspired by, there’s no reason to come to GITEX.

“That’s something we’ve changed over the years, over many years, to develop where we are right now so that this is an event that people feel they have to attend to learn, to be motivated and to network with their peers and buyers.”

Forging connections so fortunes can flourish

The DWTC sets itself apart by giving laser focus determination to building the right connections for their participants, Bilal said.

He set out how some companies do not have the same spending power as others so it is their role to help build an environment where they can grow.

That means pursuing an online marketplace model where they aim to facilitate purchases is not their goal.

Bilal said: “The transaction is always something which is very difficult to be involved in the last conversation, to close the deal. 

“What we’ve been able to do is understand that we as a company are not so involved in  maximising on profit as much as maximising on value. 

“As a result of that, we’ve made investments in areas that have not necessarily been immediate revenue generators and profit makers. 

“That is resulting in an incredible amount of success rates in terms of the value that we’re creating for companies that don’t have money to spend.”

Bilal gave an example of the thousands of start-ups who attend GITEX this year, many who were without big budgets.

They may also be low on time and people resources meaning they can’t afford to waste a moment at an exhibition.

The DWTC works to make it easier for these companies to take part in shows rather than facilitate a transaction because of the success they have seen in helping them flourish through relationships.

Bilal said: “We’ve taken it upon ourselves to make sure that we don’t actually charge them a lot of money, that some of them are actually subsidised to come here.

“We work with governments to actually make sure that we consider the economic situation of different countries as well. 

“For us, it’s not as much as looking at how do I actually help transact a deal, but how do I help a government to allow their companies to come in directly with us where we are actually a part of that delivery of facilitation – to get them here. 

“That could mean just giving hotels subsidised accommodation, or just allowing them to fly over here on a deal with Emirates airline. 

“We would rather get involved in that kind of facilitation than on the transaction because at the end of the day, we’ve seen so many startups grow into excellent success rates based on the relationships that we were able to forge and they’ve taken forward.

“The Trade Centre takes its role in understanding every single company – who do they want to work with, what is their strategy, how do they want to grow? 

“That’s why we work tireless hours – because there’s so many companies, we have to ask those questions to then do something about.

“We don’t just actually leave it to chance – and that’s why the Trade Centre is different.”

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.