Time to shift gear

Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director/CEO, looks ahead to a more optimistic 2021.


With 2020 behind us, it’s time to shift gear, to get ready for testing and vaccination schemes to succeed, for markets to reopen – and for us to build and operate the market places and meeting places that every industry, every sector needs for the economic recovery.

I am optimistic about 2021, even if we all have to make it through this pandemic winter first in the northern hemisphere.

As every year, UFI has released ‘5 trends to watch’ for the new year. You can find them on the UFI Blog, and we were discussing them in one of our final UFI Connects session in 2020 as well (watch it on demand here: www.ufi.org/news-media/ufi-connects/10147/), focusing on the role of online and people.

We all know it – we are a people industry. We are here to connect people, face to face. And our industry is built on the passion and professionalism of the people who work in it. Right now, we are all suffering, and far too many talented event professionals have found themselves furloughed or out of a job.

This is a big risk for our common future. Event professionals are resilient, agile, and ‘get things done’ people. And other sectors take notice. Big corporates are looking at event professionals and will begin to hire them as their own corporate meeting cultures evolve. Keeping people connected in these changing times is a challenge, but this is also something our industry knows to tackle.

At UFI, we have been looking at ways how we can play our part, and make it easy for colleagues to connect and to collaborate; to stay up to date while in between jobs right now – and to stay engaged in the industry and even help shaping all our futures.

Let me invite you to look at a specific solution that we have put together to empower colleagues around the world to do that. We call it the UFI Fellowship.

The fellowship bundles UFI services and activities, making them available to every industry professional and at a steep discount, from education on-site (where possible) and online events. It includes access to research, and a full membership in the Exhibition Think Tank Club, a global community in our industry that is working through innovative formats on crowdsourcing solutions for our industry going forward (and yes, it is fun, too). The fellowship also secures access to our highly rated weekly newsletter. You will find all the details at www.ufi.org/fellowship.

Every fellow can profit from this combination of access, tools, and services – while at the same time helping us at UFI to work for the industry at large. It’s a way to work together while we get through the last stretch of this pandemic.