EEAA report shows reason for optimism in the exhibition sector
These are some of the key findings of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) 2018 Market Monitor research, which measured the state of the industry in 2017.
International research partner Explori global strategy director Sophie Holt presented the research results at the EEAA annual conference, which coincided with Global Exhibitions Day.
“This is a major profile study on the performance of our industry in 2017,” said EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio. “It’s the first time we’ve had both a qualitative and quantitative component and the first time our data has been benchmarked against the rest of the world. Interviews from 15 industry leaders have helped to give context to the numbers and have enabled us to better understand the data collected.”
EEAA president Spiro Anemogiannis cited year-on-year growth for organisers over the past year versus 2016 and higher reported exhibitor satisfaction scores in the Asia Pacific region compared to other regions as positive outcomes from the research.
“While we acknowledge the challenges we face as an industry, in areas like being able to find skilled staff and labour, we can also appreciate that there are a lot of positives to take away from the past year, like improved economic conditions that have facilitated growth,” Anemogiannis said.
“The data also reinforces the idea that exhibitions and events are changing. ‘Festivalisation’ – or adding more entertainment elements to events – is a growing trend to increase delegate numbers and enhance the visitor experience. Interestingly, research by UFI earlier this year, suggested Australasian organisers were more open to innovative event models than the rest of the region, so we expect to see the event model continue to evolve.”
Health, travel, education and business are seen as sectors with the greatest potential for event growth, while mining was singled out as the sector in decline, according to the report.
Competition from other events and other marketing channels was identified as the most notable growth limiting factor for the year ahead. Senior sales and show director roles were identified as the most difficult roles to recruit, with a lack of skills available locally and changes to 457 visas limiting the ability to recruit the required skills from overseas.
Growth in smaller niche events at the local level and mega events in growth sectors are creating a “hollowing out” of the middle resulting in the consolidation of mid-sized events.
Both suppliers and organisers are seeing their revenue streams diversify beyond traditional exhibitions, while organisers also cited an increasing role in content provision to build year-round communities and creating introductions via matchmaking technology.
Exhibition professionals around the world came out in record numbers for the third Global Exhibitions Day. By the end of the day, the UFI team in Paris had registered activities in 85 countries and regions from all around the world.
“It has once again been absolutely amazing to see our industry united for this cause,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing director and CEO. “While the whole UFI team around the world will really need some sleep now, it’s been an absolute pleasure to support our global exhibition industry community in this way.
“When we started GED in 2016, we were encouraged by the strong support we received. Now, just two years on, GED has helped all of us make a real difference in obtaining tangible recognition for our industry. So a huge thank-you to everyone – no matter how large or small – who joined in the GED activities.”