More than 70 senior executives from the exhibitions industry gathered in London on 6 December 2017 for Transform Europe – the conference for data, analytics and digital in events.
Organised by strategy consultancy AMR International, delegates discovered received tips on:
- The competitive advantage that can be derived from implementing GDPR
- How the ‘customer-first’ mantra needs to apply to data and analytics initiatives for valuable impact
- The importance of fostering a culture of innovation and the need to form partnerships with tech suppliers/start-ups to forge business growth or the customer-centric benefits of adapting blockchain technology to events
Opening the conference, Denzil Rankine, executive chairman of AMR International said: “We know the expectations of attendees and exhibitors are rapidly changing. There is no time to be complacent. To stay competitive, organisers need to think more strategically, embrace new technologies and learn from other industries.
“Never has this been more important, as organisers can no longer rely so heavily on revenues from exhibition space. A long-term prediction is for space revenues to represent 60 per cent of overall revenues (down from over 80 per cent today) with as much as 40 per cent from other sources including digital.”
Some key findings from Transform Europe 2017
• GDPR can bring commercial benefits and generate a competitive advantage
Christine Andrews, managing director of DQM GRC, explained how GDPR presents an opportunity for organisers to re-think their business processes, map out the data they have and determine how it’s being used. By doing so, event organisers can improve efficiencies, develop more targeted communication, and secure more customer loyalty – all with clear and transparent data strategies.
• Understanding the customer journey must be core to growth
There is a tendency for organisers to focus on the event itself – but they need to interact with the customers before, during and beyond the event. The more the customer journey is understood, the more organisers can interact with their core audiences, and develop new revenue opportunities
• Blockchain – a customer-centric application for organisers
Ailis McKernan, head of digital at AMR International, explained how blockchain can give event organisers the ability to validate a transaction without a third party being present. Not only does this provide a secure way to share data – it attracts lower fees and is more efficient than a manual process. If applied by event organisers, this could significantly improve the customer experience and cut costs.
• Fostering a culture of innovation and embracing partnerships with tech suppliers/ start-ups can lead to successful business growth
Rob Chapman, managing director of Founders Intelligence, explained that to embrace innovation, organisations need to become more ‘entrepreneur-friendly’ – they need to make it easy for entrepreneurs to work with them. He said technology is an opportunity for organisers to discover what is happening outside of their organisation and bring these learnings into their business.
During the day’s events, UFI also revealed that the theme of its 2018 Digital Innovation Awards will be ‘Exhibition Industry 4.0’. The awards will focus on how organisers successfully optimise efficiencies to improve the customer experience and generate ROI.
Delegates included representatives from over 50 per cent of the world’s largest exhibition organisers.
Trixie Lohmirmand, senior vice president, Dubai World Travel Centre said: “Transform Europe has been a fantastic opportunity for us to find out what is going on in the industry with regards to data and analytics, as things are moving so fast.”
Greg Hitchen, Group CEO, Terrapinn commented: “The conference was very good this year and I am sure all benefited from it.
“We really enjoyed learning about some of the challenges our clients are facing and actually to hear that some of those experiences are the same across the industry,” added Matt Coyne, technology engagement architect, VISIT by GES.
Transform Europe was supported by event technology suppliers including ASP, Blitz, Explori, Feathr, Grip, Gleanin, Glisser, Poken, Sherpa and VISIT.
The next event in AMR’s Transform series will take place in Washington DC on 19 July 2018.