If only we had more time...

5th of November 2013 Article by Rob den Hertog
If only we had more time...

Rob den Hertog, project manager for the ISSA/INTERCLEAN series of exhibitions, asks why we still spend time at trade shows when we can now access so much information from our desks.

As individuals we all struggle to accommodate all of our work, family and hobbies into the 24 hours available in a day. Fortunately in the last decade many information sources have become available online so we can stay informed at any time, and at any location we choose.

The question that intrigues us as exhibition organisers is, why spend time at an exhibition when you are capable of getting all info from behind your desk?

Is going to an exhibition worth your while because of the actual product that you can touch and try for yourself, or for the people that you meet and that you want to do business with who are the point of contact you deal with in day-to-day life?

Do you find that attending an exhibition offers an opportunity for you to be surprised or inspired by finding new products and solutions you were previously unaware of? Or do you really want to have a second opinion by speaking to peers and visiting educational seminars?

In all, is it really more efficient to visit an exhibition and meet with several potential suppliers all in one shot? For every person that visits an exhibition it is most often a combination of two or three reasons, however everyone will estimate the return on time (investment). What are the alternatives of reaching the goals I set myself?

Did you know that trade shows take almost half of the overall media spending in the US at $25 billion? Within the B2B media mix, next to print advertising, digital advertising, and data/business info, about 46 per cent of the total media spend ends up in trade shows.

Furthermore, over the past few years, the share put into trade shows has remained stable. There are no overall figures available for Europe about the market share for each media, however we have estimated they will be more or less the same as the US.

One aspect that is changing for the exhibition industry is the average age of the show visitor. While show visitors have become older, younger generations like Generation Y have entered the business world and need to be connected to our events. This generation has an apparent difference in their expectations of exhibitions than the older generation veterans.

They want to be inspired and entertained during these events, while of course staying connected by sharing their experiences via social media. This is why we have established the networking group of Young Cleaning Professionals. By forming this group and listening to our members we try to find out what is really important to them when visiting an exhibition.

This generation holds the future decision makers, and both exhibitors and exhibition organisers need them now and in the future. Our first meeting with the Young Cleaning Professionals concluded with: "Create an experience we cannot find elsewhere, and we will come."

Our challenge as a business to business event, is to also connect the younger generation!


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