Learning has become a vital part of most meetings, events and exhibitions. Whether formal, such as credit granting continuing education programs, training sessions or seminars, or informal, such as exhibitor-provided demonstrations, presentations or networking, they add significant value to the face-to-face experience. While planning and managing exhibitions and meetings share some common aspects, competent planning and management of meetings requires special knowledge and skills. Exhibition managers may be called upon to work closely with their organization’s meeting and education manager and should be knowledgeable about the essential aspects of meetings in all of their various formats.
Consumer (public) shows are exhibitions and events in which companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, services and activities to public consumers. Consumer show organizers must possess a working knowledge of the activities and functions related to consumer shows and master the skills to address this different set of logistics than those related solely to the management of a private tradeshow or event. This program provides attendees with the skills necessary to effectively produce a successful consumer show.
Digital Events have become increasingly popular, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021. These types of events were initially designed as an alternative method of bringing event attendees together that made sense both economically and environmentally and as part of a company’s overall digital transformation strategy. Since the pandemic, such experiences have been developed as necessary to fill meetings, and many feel digital events will most likely remain in demand even post-pandemic. More and more companies are building out hybrid event strategies that will play up the advantages of producing face-to-face events while extending their reach by including a digital component. Only time will tell us for sure.
Marketing is not an exact science. It includes a number of strategies and tactics that are constantly evolving so they can address changing social, cultural and economic circumstances effectively. The creation of a marketing plan that includes core practices as well as new ideas, innovations and unique points of view allows for the creation of an exhibition that may have begun as just a concept. The goal of an exhibition is to provide an appropriate environment in which buyers and sellers can come together face to face. Today’s technology increasingly permits the show organizer to extend the useful life of an exhibition by employing digital tools, thus further enriching the show experience.
Producing successful exhibitions often hinges upon the proper management of logistics. Every event contains thousands of details that must be processed logically, sequentially and precisely. While managing logistics well is essential, exhibitions are intended primarily to bring buyers and sellers together in an environment that is conducive to their respective objectives. All of the stakeholders of an exhibition must communicate effectively before, during and after the event to ensure its success. Event operations focuses on the unique role of the exhibition organizer and his/her team in orchestrating all of the elements.
In order to ensure the success of an event or exhibition, there are vital elements involved in the planning process that should be conducted from the ground up. No matter how successful or well respected an exhibition may be, it should be presented as if it were a first-time event – it is the marketing and selling equivalent of zero-based budgeting. This involves highlighting an event’s features and benefits, understanding the phases of the sales cycle and the need to support sales efforts with the appropriate tools and resources, and preparing the exhibition prospectus in a comprehensive and engaging way.
Site selection includes the process of choosing both a location and a facility for an exhibition or event. Site selection is a crucial first step in producing a successful exhibition or event. It consists of advanced detailed planning, including access for attendees with disabilities, organizational goals and objectives, and exhibitor needs and transportation. The exhibition organizer should give careful consideration to all factors that could impact the exhibition’s growth and, ultimately, the need for more space.
Understanding the application of accounting, finance and budgeting fundamentals allows the exhibition organizer to make a greater contribution to the growth and financial success of the organization. It is essential the exhibition organizer know the terminology used in financial management to develop a budget and manage the financial strategies of the exhibition. A well-developed and well-administered budget is crucial to enabling the exhibition organizer to accurately project and monitor income and expenses, track cash flow and cost controls and ultimately measure the success of the event and the organization’s return on investment.
A well-designed floor plan or layout is critical to the success of an exhibition or event. The floor plan is a schematic drawing of the exhibit hall or event venue that includes the booths/stands available for rent to the exhibitors, facility physical features, official areas (such as registration) and other feature areas that become the exhibition marketplace. In a rapidly changing business environment, a floor plan must meet the logistical needs of exhibitors and sponsors and the shopping habits of attendees with sufficient flexibility to adjust for growth or consolidation.
Additional services provided to attendees and exhibitors by the exhibition and event organizer require an understanding of the needs of the guests as well as a working knowledge of hotel operations. Two of the service elements intrinsic to most events today are arranging for accommodations of guests and identifying which guests will be allowed access to which portion of the event. Regardless of how these services will be delivered, planning must begin early to ensure housing and registration are easily accessed and do not become a hindrance to attending the event.
Exhibition and event professionals move people’s hearts and minds through the experiences they create. By knowing how the brain works, we can create experiences that maximize our attendees’ brainpower and supercharge results. It is not about creating engaging events; it is about creating experiences that engage the social brain. This course will examine why our brains are wired to socially connect and ways to leverage that in our events and exhibitions; will discuss meeting room designs and exhibition floor layouts to create brain-friendly environments that drive the results you want and overall execute events using industry best practices and CEM standards through a neuroscience lens. This course would provide the learner who achieves competency with a dual digital badge from both IAEE and Madison College.
Protecting the financial integrity of exhibitions is critical, and an essential element of that goal is proper risk assessment and planning. Risk management is a continuing process that identifies, analyzes, evaluates and addresses loss exposures and monitors risk control and financial resources for the purpose of mitigating the undesirable effects of loss. This involves evaluating the security needs for an event and if a crisis should occur, having a crisis management team in place to manage it.
A successful exhibition or event is produced by the mutual efforts of multiple entities, many of which exist outside the sponsoring organization. A substantial portion of the exhibition or event organizer’s responsibility is to shop the industry for services and products needed and to contract for those services and products.
Exhibitions and events support industry and market segments thereby fueling the local economy. Business travel is one example of a multi-million dollar industry supported by exhibitions and events. In order for organizations that plan, manage or own exhibitions and events to remain competitive, they must continually define and review their strategies, measure where an event falls within a particular market segment, position the exhibition or event to meet or beat the competition and develop plans to ensure business continuity and success.