The trade show industry has quietly begun to undergo a revolution, spurred by the emergence of big data, analytics, and digital technologies. And yet all too many exhibition organizers, still happy to rely on traditional exhibit revenue streams, have been reluctant to plan for long-term digital transformation, says Denzil Rankine, executive chairman of events global events strategy consultancy AMR International.
While 80 percent of exhibition revenue currently comes from exhibit sales—and that revenue will continue to grow—AMR reports that it may only account for 60 percent of revenues in 10 years due to stagnation in exhibit space sales volume and pricing growth. The real revenue growth area of the future will come from new, digitally enabled services.
Rankine says, “We know technology is rapidly changing the event experience and the expectations of attendees but exhibition organizers are slow to act. Very few organizers have allocated budgets for the research and development of digitization. Across the board, they are uncertain how to proceed, fear the failure of implementation and continue to wait for others to make the first move.”
That’s why AMR launched the Data and Digital Event Strategy Symposium, held in London in late 2016. And why AMR is now partnering with U.S.—based event organizer Lippman Connect to launch Transform, a conference that will help U.S. exhibition organization leaders understand and embrace data, analytics, and digital technologies.
The conference, which will be held at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2017, will focus on showing senior exhibition leaders how they can use data to drive profitability and return on investment; monetize existing data and technology; provide a frictionless customer experience; and create a technologically innovative culture within their organizations.
Sam Lippman, president, Lippman Connects, says that the Transform conference will feature prominent speakers from within the events industry, plus leaders from other sectors who have embraced data and digital with great success. As Lippman says in a recent blog post outlining what expo pros can learn from retailers’ strategies for dealing with digital disruption, “While technology is changing the B-to-B event business on an ever-faster cycle, we have been spared industry-shattering disruption so far. Disruption may never arrive, but we can still benefit from the hard-learned lessons of entrepreneurs that survived the challenge.”