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Lead retrieval tech ‘boosts booking rates’ in Germany

Lead retrieval event technology has helped achieve “much higher” booking rates since the in-person comeback in Germany, according to an industry leader.

Gunnar Heinrich, CEO of Munich-based adventics, told how the market had experienced a much stronger return to live than expected after years of lockdown restrictions.

It was claimed that many eventprofs were glad to see the back of tools such as virtual sessions, however he highlighted the role our industry’s digital transformation continues to play.

He said: “Regardless of who you talk to, they all tell you finally face-to-face is back and all the digital stuff we had the last two years wasn´t too useful at all..

“But there are several elements to this event tech space which add value to the face-to-face experience. 

“This is the area where we’re all concentrating our efforts on at the moment – components like clever matchmaking during an event, lead retrieval and so on.

“We have much higher booking rates than before with lead retrieval because the value of leads is becoming more clear. 

“Every technology you can use to amplify your onsite face-to-face experience is welcomed while many others are definitely not.”

Omnichannel lead retrieval allows exhibitors to gather all touch points – onsite and online – in one dashboard.

This capability allows them to see real-time analytics and has been shown to boost their ROI by 300%.

ExpoPlatform research ranked lead retrieval as the second-most important technology feature for the comeback of in-person events.

The Event Tech Returns to Live survey gave this a weighted score of 7.8/10, which was only beaten by on-demand content at 8.2/10.

German market’s return to live

All consultants at the European management consultancy were previously in management positions at exhibition companies in Germany, England, Belgium, the Netherlands or Austria.

They have worked for years alongside organisers across these markets, putting the company in prime position to read the success of the return to live.

Gunnar told ExpoPlatform how the comeback has been “excellent” despite a fall in participants – however he warned there are now higher expectations for seamless technology experiences. 

He said: “The return so far was excellent – in my opinion, much better than expected.

“We had fabulous shows starting after Easter and we had a bunch of shows in May and June. They all turned out to be fantastic. 

“There’s been a fantastic mood amongst the attendees and exhibitors.

“I would say it exceeded my expectations but also the expectations of all people I talked to – and we’ve talked a lot in the last few months.”

He added: “We have seen, of course, a decrease in exhibitor numbers. There is no no fixed rate but sometimes up to 30% lower.

“We have also seen in many cases a slight decrease of visitor numbers, but the overall perception of how the events have been is that they were more than satisfied. 

“They said it was even better than before because they had so much quality time, they had exactly the right people in place.

“Now all the people who want to make business show up and it is really high quality.”

This is backed up by findings from ExpoPlatform’s research into how our industry has made a comeback to in-person events.

The Event Tech Returns to Live survey found achieving good exhibitor ROI was the most important challenge faced right now.

Hitting pre-pandemic audience levels came out third with a weighted score of 8.26/10, also coming behind a seamless experience across platforms.

Measuring event quality

There has long been an argument that organisers need to pursue better quality visitors over higher quantity of visitors.

This has proved a difficult metric to measure in the past, but Gunnar believes the emergence of event tech solutions will help to turn this into a much more concrete measurement.

He said: “This idea has been lingering around for a long time. It was always a phrase an excuse for when you lost visitor numbers, but people would say the quality was better.

“Nobody could prove it because there were no numbers, no statistics, no analytics, no insights. 

“But now with modern systems like ExpoPlatform you can have a better understanding of your community and really communicate the quality aspect.”

Gunnar told how adventics puts a real focus on measurement but highlighted how our industry has lagged behind others in this area.

The pandemic forced eventprofs were forced into a digital transformation once lockdown came in, meaning there are now higher expectations as we emerge from restrictions.

He added: “They moved to social media marketing, to web marketing, to other platforms and other media. All of these substitutes offered perfect measurement.

“Our industry hasn’t been doing that and are now being compared to these modern media channels. 

“All marketing channels for tradefairs or the exhibitions are completely lagging behind. So this gave it another demand to have their perfect measurement.”

A threat from Big Tech?

Organisers know the industries they operate extremely well and this gives them an upper hand against potential outside competitors.

However, Gunnar warned that they should not rest on their laurels as disruptors have been able to show the benefits of solutions they offer.

He issued a call to action to planners to get on board with event tech so they can continue to hold their strong position and deliver from their clients.

Gunnar said: “The exhibitors are demanding continuous marketing services over the year, but they’re wondering whether exhibition organisers are the right companies to offer these services.

“Will we see other companies – like in media or technology – filling this gap or filling this demand? 

“It’s not automatically certain that because you did a tradeshow for the last 40 years that you are the master of the industry. 

“There are new technologies and there can be other suppliers and other providers. 

“If organisers recognise this, I think they can make a lot out of their existing positions – they have a good position but they have to do something about it.”

Staffing shortages in German market

Gunnar highlighted three areas which were presenting hurdles for the live return of the German industry – all of which focused around staffing.

The Event Tech Returns to Live survey placed a lack of skilled resource as the fourth-most important challenge for the in-person comeback at 7.72/10.

A total of 31% of respondents put it as a top priority, while a further 41% put it in the second highest tier.

Furthermore, the latest UFI Global Barometer found 75% of German organisers were recruiting new staff but struggling to find talent since reopening.

Gunnar split difficulties facing human resources into three categories – layoffs, digital skills and sales knowledge.

He said: “Currently, the biggest challenge is human resource because many organisers have laid off people on average in Germany around 20% of staff – in some cases it’s 50%. 

“Regardless of how many of these people are now missing, now we have an exhibition tsunami. 

“It’s like a huge wave coming over the country and the remaining people have their hands full to  make these exhibitions happen.”

“The other thing is if you now want to innovate or bring in new digital business models and new technology, you need completely different skill sets anyway.

“You need more digital people, maybe from another background or another industry and these are also completely lacking. 

“The third aspect is sales. So if you have digital products – like matchmaking, banner advertisements or even simple things – you need to sell it.

“The sales people are not used to selling digital products, they sell square metres.

“They still sell booths, stand building services, but they have no idea how to argue about digital products. All of this comes together as a human resource shortage across the industry.”

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