EUROPE – The winners have been announced for the 2012 UFI ICT and operations awards.
Spanish venue Fira de Barcelona took the top honour in the UFI operations competition while Germany’s Messe Frankfurt won in the UFI ICT competition.
UFI presents the awards in recognition of outstanding ICT, marketing and operations initiatives successfully implemented by exhibition professionals in the global exhibition community.
The event, which took place in Utrecht, Holland on 26 and 27 April, selected the winners after presentations by three finalists in each award category, addressing: ‘Service Quality Management in Exhibition Operations’ and ‘What new services did your mobile app provide for your exhibition customers?’
The winner of the ICT award was selected from entries displaying programmes designed to present mobile applications with proven results in the exhibition sector. Messe Frankfurt’s winning Smartphone App brings together on- and off-line media in one media package. Already implemented in 15 Messe Frankfurt events, the app guides the user through  practical information including floor plans and exhibitor search, to social media community building and location based services.
Service quality management in exhibition operations was the basis of Fira de Barcelona’s winning entry, focused on complaint management in the exhibition sector. Their programme’s objective was to eliminate 80 per cent of complaints directly related to exhibitor services sales, improve exhibitor satisfaction and increase productivity in the customer service front office. Data analysis footprints indicated that complaints in the stand building services sector were most important followed closely by furniture and power supply issues.
By developing a proactive role for the operations technical office, establishing progress indicators, expanding the focus to the entire supply chain and implementing service level requirements in contracts, Fira de Barcelona succeeded in creating a ServQual Model where the responsiveness and reliability improvedboth employee and customer satisfaction.
Paul Woodward, UFI MD, commented: “As the global association of the exhibition industry, UFI seeks outstanding contributions to the continuing development of our industry. Standing still in this face-to-face medium is not an acceptable option for any of us! Our awards recognise the creative solutions which we provide to our customers on a continuing basis.”

Organiser and venue owner Messe Frankfurt is cancelling its cross-border leasing arrangements with a US investor and participating banks, ending a €15m investment run over 12 years.
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Exhibition WorldExhibition World, produced in partnership with global exhibition industry association UFI is the magazine for the international exhibition community. Read by leading exhibition organisers, venues and service suppliers across the globe, Exhibition World tackles the issues affecting the exhibition industry.