Predictions for growth in the exhibition industry…

It’s December and (along with all the trade press) time to start focussing on what the new year may bring. Research we conducted recently with over 700 event professionals explored where the greatest potential for growth was in the events industry over the next couple of years. Focussing specifically on exhibition professionals the most popular growth opportunities revolved around online and overseas.

Source: Event Salary Survey (September 2011)

Online opportunities were identified in a variety of areas. Social media was seen as a key area of potential e.g. opportunities in changing the way events can engage with visitors year-round, more cost-effective marketing etc. Despite this potential for growth, only 30% of exhibition professionals purported to have a sophisticated social media marketing strategy, 58% cited having a basic strategy and 12% reported having no strategy at all. Virtual events were seen as an area for potential growth as were online portals.

Geocloning was also seen as an area for significant potential growth along with developing UK­-­centric exhibitions to become truly international and/or increasing the international delegation for UK-based exhibitions.

While the broader events industry saw huge potential from the Olympics in 2012, exhibition professionals didn’t see quite the same potential.

While sponsorship was seen as an opportunity for a fairly small proportion of exhibition industry professionals, recent research that we have been conducting recently makes us believe that sponsorship can still offer huge potential for growth even in this economic climate, however organisers are going to need to think creatively about how to introduce sponsors to an event and how to deliver or measure their return on investment.  We hope to be able to blog on this more next year.

Note: The Event Salary Survey was conducted by Zing Insights in September 2011 in collaboration with Event magazine and esp recruitment.

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