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Members of Global Association of the Exhibition Industry gathered in Istanbul

Winning business models for the exhibition industry in today’s volatile business environment

Author: Vicky Karantzavelou / Date: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 11:19
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Over 350 exhibition industry leaders from 58 nations gathered in Istanbul from November 12 - 14, to examine winning business models for today’s international business climate. At their 75th Congress, members of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, focussed on the challenges confronting organisers and venue managers in today’s exhibition industry. The three day summit, hosted by HFK Trade Fairs Fuaarcilik, brought industry leaders together to take a hard look at the opportunities and challenges facing the exhibition media. John Shaw, UFI President (Comexposium, Paris), described the current global environment as one “which we’d only read aboutin our economics books” saying, “eighteen months ago, none of us would have expected to be facing such a turbulent economic situation.”

Dominic Swords (Oxford, UK), noted business strategist, kicked off the Congress programme with a hard look at the global economy as it affects the exhibition industry. “It is clear that we are in a global market that is much more agile and resilient than ever before, and that there is the potential for arestructuring of growth hotspots across the globe that may spell a different balance of economic power and activity,” said Swords. Presentations followed on the Turkish, Indian, and Asian markets by Bekir Cakici (HKF Trade Fairs Fuaarcilik, Istanbul), Ravinder Sethi (R.E. Rogers India, New Delhi), and Jochen Witt (JWC, Cologne) respectively, focussed on these markets and the implications of their development for the exhibition industry.

While exhibitions have long been recognised as an integral element contributing to a community’s economic health and vitality, today’s technologically based culture is changing the ways in which buyers and sellers are communicating and interacting. Larry Hochman, former Director of Customer Service at British Airways (UK) impressed upon Congress participants the need to build better collaborative relationship with customers. Pointing out that “customers everywhere are demanding:
speed, agility, responsiveness, flexibility and transparency,”
Hochman described trust and loyalty as keys to business success. Eric Everard (easyFairs, Brussels) provided a case study view of a new low-cost business model geared to appeal directly to the SME corporate segment. Everard pointed out that,”This business model identifies the product features and services that certain market segments are prepared to forego in order to reduce marketing costs as they direct efforts at making sales.”

Manfred Wutzlhofer (Messe Munchen, Munich and incoming UFI President 2010) and Michael Duck (CMP Asia, Hong Kong and Chair of the UFI Committee on Sustainable Development), both examined options for integrating sustainable management for environmental and climate protection issues into winning business models for the exhibition industry.

In closing remarks, Shaw declared that exhibitions are still the only face-to-face marketing medium which consistently succeeds in bringing together buyers and seller. “To get out this story, we need to communicate with our stakeholders. There are many signs of strong leadership in the exhibition industry. And while there is no single magic formula for success, we must meet the challenge by exchanging ideas and information within our exhibition community and working together to develop
opportunities to meet the challenge.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vicky Karantzavelou

Co-Founder & Chief Editor

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.