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What's in Store For Trade Show and Event Industry in 2008?

Jan 23, 2008
It is the beginning of a new year, and the trade show world is full of ideas and plans for achieving success.

There may be turmoil in the stock market, rising prices of consumer goods, politics in the news everyday and other economic factors beyond our control, however the buying and selling that takes place on a trade show floor will have a consistent formula for success.

The industry has been through many of these conditions in 2007 and the industry did very well.

Here is a quick look back at the industry statistics reported by CERI:

Exhibition industry revenue grows 5.8 percent in third quarter Exhibition revenue for the third quarter increased 5.8 percent over the same period in 2006, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Year-to-date revenue rose 9.7 percent through the third quarter of 2007 compared with the same period in the previous year, and attendance grew 11.8 percent in the third quarter of 2007 compared with the same period in 2006.

Several trade show industry veterans weighed in with their opinions and predictions.

The following quote is from John Galante Vice President EH Publishing/EH Events:

Attendee acquisition and retention will continue to be challenge #1 for event organizers in 2008. To address it, organizers will:

- expand their offering of experiential, infotainment type programming - fun stuff that engages the senses, the emotions and the imagination while conveying or complimenting substantive information

- increase use of new media like video and podcasts and interactive media like blogs and online forums for promotion purposes

- enhance VIP attendee programs to give power buyer attendees a more deluxe experience

- increase use of telesales and in-person presentation for attendee outreach, taking more of a CRM approach vs. the traditional direct marketing carpet bombing

Lew Hoff, President of Bartizan said:

"I think that we will see a significant increase in demand for audited trade show statistics by exhibitors. In the end, this will prove a good thing not only for exhibitors and the industry, but for the better show organizers, as well."

Susan Hueg, CEM, CMP, the Faux Event; the Decorative Arts Show said:

"Here at NBM, we totally agree and believe that will be an increase in show participation. Some of our cities are already sold out for 2008. We're 'bullish' on trade shows and to prove it, we acquired a new show in 2007."

Now let's hear from a respected supplier to the event industry.

Stephen Nold, President of Advon Technologies said:

"Given my focus on innovation, I can offer four compelling forces that I think will impact the design and implementation of technology in the tradeshow world in 2008:

More money
The last 3-4 years have been good years for the Meetings industry. Many associations and show producers are flush with cash. Positive balance sheets are yielding increased investment in innovation. Despite predictions for an economic downturn in 2008, many meeting planners and show organizers will spend in the first quarter of 2008.

Evolution of professional/business practices
True to many developing industries, the meetings profession is gaining more experts who bring know-how from the corporate world. The adoption of new best practices and the willingness to create knowledge resources will evolve industry benchmarks.

More 'outside the box' events
The TED conference is an annual event that brings together the some of the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers who believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. It is an excellent example of a show outside of the traditional show format that is impacting the world in which we operate and is challenging the standards for event audiences.

Web 2.0
Greatly over-hyped and much misunderstood, the greatest challenge with web 2.0 for show management is to NOT follow the herd and implement web 2.0 technology tools just for technology's sake."

That wraps up the forecast for what to expect in the trade show world in 2008.

It's clear that the climate is great - as long as you are in tune with the trends.
About the Author
For 25 years Joyce McKee has helped companies succeed in the trade show and event world.
Keep up with the latest trends her new site at http://www.letstalktradeshows.com
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