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Event tech ‘best investment area’ for shows – UFI poll

Event technology is seen as the largest area for growth in future investment for our sector, according to an UFI report.

Findings from the second Industry Partners Benchmark Survey show 78% reported this as the biggest opportunity to improve shows, compared with 67% in the previous year.

Respondents were asked which segment “do you see the biggest investment to enhance the quality of your event” over the next 12 to 18 months.

Communication and marketing received 61% in second place, up from 54% in 2020.

Booth construction, catering, logistics, general service and “other” all fell from the previous year.

Around 190 companies took part in the project, the majority of which were from Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

What’s behind the figures?

This survey benchmarks and assesses the relationships between industry partners, suppliers and exhibition organisers as well as venues.

It also identifies areas for improvement with collaboration.

Demand for digital services was found to be highest amongst those who organise events, which the report team describes as “a core finding from the second edition”.

This comes after our industry was forced into a long-overdue digital transformation when the pandemic struck in 202o.

Our Blueprint series features three in-depth guides about making a success from the digital transformation of events. Download yours for free now.

It would come as no surprise then that the inaugural report would rank event technology as the largest area for in investment.

This second survey shows how that move to incorporate digital aspects in-person and online to business models is still a major priority – rising by more than 10%.

However, findings indicates that the demand for more innovation from service providers remains high – and marketing and communications seen to be the most innovative.

Sebastian Witt, vice chairman of UFI’s Industry Partners Working Group and responsible for the survey, said: “This survey offers valuable insights for service providers in our industry.

“We are happy to note that service providers are regarded an integral part of the exhibition ecosystem and contribute tremendously to the success of our industry.

“Nonetheless, we observe that service quality is not consistent and demands from service providers are changing; service providers can and should invest more into innovation.”

What does it mean for organisers?

Event technology is ranked as the largest area for investment – don’t get left behind by competitors.

And it doesn’t whether we’re talking about online or in-person.

Technology can be anything from a feature-rich mobile app, to online communities and personalised content.

Here we outline three main reasons why organisers will be looking to improve their digital services over the next 18 months.

Measuring ROI: Today’s marketers are used to using LinkedIn, Google and Facebook – platforms which all show real-time statistics. It means the event industry needs to be just as transparent about how budgets are being spent. Providing customers with useful information about who is engaging with their profile and content is now a must – organisers can no longer expect rebookings year after year without proof of ROI.

Personalisation: The continued improvement of event tech will allow organisers to deliver highly-personalised agendas and recommendations for attendees. Looking at how visitors engage with live shows and online content offers your team the opportunity to tailor shows for them individually, or shape them in a way which can please large audiences. This is simply about following a more science-based approach to planning -rather than intuition.

Monetisation: Potential for monetisation through virtual has been historically under-valued by exhibition organisers, who now need to re-balance the pricing of digital and in-person in their budgets. This can ensure that even when corporate workers no longer see a need to travel, a healthy amount of revenue can still be brought in. In particular, 365 Communities and Online Marketplaces offer a wealth of opportunities to bring in revenue year-round.

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.