Hattendorf visited Sydney recently for a series of events with the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), including his “State of the Industry” address to EEAA members and stakeholders.
According to Hattendorf, the exhibition industry is growing at a faster rate than the global economy, and the Asia Pacific region is growing even faster again.
“Based on your infrastructure investment, based on this new venue (ICC Sydney), Melbourne expanding and all the other projects taking place means Australia is geared to grow above average in the Asia Pacific region.”
Hattendorf revealed the top five trends that will impact the exhibition industry in the coming 12 to 18 months are: growing political uncertainties, the polarisation of global leading shows, continued digitisation, a focus on operational excellence, and, increasingly, evolving business models.
But digitisation is the word on everyone’s lips, and Hattendorf said it is set to take over globalisation as the biggest trend disrupting the industry.
“Digitisation is the big trend that will define our industry in the next years, it will change our industry more in the next 10 years than our history has changed in the past 50 years,” he said.
Hattendorf said the biggest fear the industry has around digitisation is that it will “take the business out of our venues”.
But he believes the industry is resilient and will be able to adapt to the changes ahead.
“What makes this industry special is its capacity to adapt to the ever changing needs of our core customer groups: buyers and sellers looking to exchange goods, ideas, and contacts,” he said.
“Just as the companies who lead our industry today understood globalisation well and managed to ride the wave of globalisation, our industry leaders 10 to 15 years from now will be the ones who understand digitisation and ride that wave.
“The state of our industry has never been better.”