New research project, the Exhibitions Think Tank, has identified key areas that need to change to help shape the future of the exhibition industry.
A total of 35 top-level areas have been identified, representing the views of industry professionals across the globe on what they believe needs to change to respond to existing and future challenges and to ensure the exhibition industry can continue to meet the needs of customers.
While these 35 areas are wide-ranging, touching upon all aspects of the industry, a selection of nine focus areas have been recommended as being most critical:
- Value proposition
- Set-up and format of tradeshows
- Digital services
- Commercial strategy
- Marketing and communications
- Content and features
- Exhibition reporting
These results will now be taken forward during the next phases of the Exhibitions Think Tank global research project, which was initially set up to cover four phases:
- Defining the areas of change
- What exactly needs to change in each area?
- What does a new solution look like to customer target groups?
- How can the exhibition industry manage this change?
The Exhibitions Think Tank is a group of 140 exhibition professionals, brought together by MBB-Consulting Group to discuss areas that need to change in the industry, and how to shape the future offer for customers.
Using a structured crowd-intelligence communication process, the Think Tank taps into the skills and knowledge of professionals spanning 20 countries, five continents and four languages.
Phase one began with an industry-wide online survey, to gather the views and insights of professionals to help define areas for change.
Next, the results were reviewed and discussed by the Exhibitions Think Tank members, split across 20 global working groups. Each working group ranked the areas in order of importance and had the opportunity to put forward additional areas.
The working group results were then combined to form the 35 top-level and nine focus areas to take forward.
The results show that a holistic, industry-wide approach to change is needed, as the proposed areas for change cover all aspects of the industry. They also show the far-reaching impact of Covid-19, as its effects are felt across all areas of the industry, beyond just health and safety.
Looking at the nine focus areas, Think Tank members believe that creating a new value proposition is a top priority, as is being able to deliver effective digital services to customers.
When it comes to exhibition set-up, the group has identified design, health and safety, and sustainability as core areas, while pricing is a focus in terms of commercial strategy.
In HR, Think Tank members believe the industry needs to better look after its employees and needs to find ways to attract more diverse skills to be better prepared for future crises.
Note: In the graph illustrations, the green line is combining the results of the blue bars (the percentage of people who think an area is important) with the red line (the importance score of each area).