Earlier this month, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research brought the brightest minds in the exhibit booth world together in Chicago for the CEIR Predict Conference. In addition to reviewing advanced economic forecasts and estimating future exhibitor and attendee spending levels, the CEIR conversation featured compelling thoughts from some of the most respected names in the industry. Here’s a look at four of the most inspiring quotes from the conference.
1) “Our product is memories — not booths.”
Bruce Mau, Founder, Massive Change Network
Bruce Mau is not a trade show industry veteran. He’s an idea veteran. From envisioning the new Meadowlands Stadium to helping redesign the holy city of Mecca, Mau has helped a wide range of businesses, brands and destinations rethink the definition of experience. Now, Mau is bringing his expertise to the trade show industry in a partnership with FreemanXP, and he has a message for everyone focused on filling the show floor: it’s not about the booth; it’s about inviting attendees into an immersive, multi-sensory experience that they will remember forever.
2) “The more dependent we become on technology, the more important face-to-face interactions become.”
Marc Pomerleau, Director of Strategy, FreemanXP
Here’s some news that will give trade show organizers a reason to smile: digital technology isn’t going to stand in the way of your success. However, Pomerleau did highlight that all those screens will place more pressure on trade show organizers to create a compelling experience that reminds attendees why your face-to-face offering is so critical to their success.
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3) “Time is the most precious thing that any of us have now.”
Galen Poss, Vice Chairman, dmg::Events
The trade show industry is rooted in three-day and four-day traditions. However, that historical model may not fit into each attendee’s schedule. In fact, Poss questions if asking everyone to take an extended hiatus from their day-to-day responsibilities will work in the future. Why? Because no matter what industry an attendee is involved in, he or she has limited room in the schedule to participate. As you look ahead to your next trade show, think about opportunities to cater to a packed calendar. Can you condense the program? Can you offer a day pass? Should the show be spread over a weekend? Have you surveyed your attendees to see which days of the week they prefer?
4) “We don’t want to be a cab company. We want to be the Uber.”
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association
Think about your travel experience in 2006. When you left a meeting, you looked for a cab. You held your hand in the air. Maybe it picked you up; maybe it didn’t. Nothing about the experience was convenient or fun. However, taxis didn’t have any reason to change the process. Without any viable alternatives for passengers, they were on top of the world. Then, Uber arrived and turned the entire industry upside down. Shapiro highlights that trade show organizers need to be the Ubers of the exhibition world. They need to be disrupters. They need to see the world through their attendees’ eyes. They need to be worried about the potential for an unknown competitor to put them out of business.
SEE ALSO: Uber Looks To Cash In On Conventions Want some more insights into the current state of trade shows? Check out this coverage of the most recent CEIR Index.