Digitized Service Processes In The Trade Fair Industry: The Power Of A Webshop
The digitization of the exhibition industry has many faces. There will be new challenges, opportunities and tasks that will add to the classic way exhibitions are sold. In addition to selling square meters, trade fair companies will create new concepts and focus a lot on exhibitors’ and visitors’ experiences.
Last year Gerald Böse, Chairman of the European Chapter at UFI and President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, made an important statement on the UFILive blog about digitization not threatening the industry, but in fact adding value to it. He said "The aim is not to question the function of trade fairs in general as a communication tool". And he is right. The probability that new communication technologies will completely replace events is very low. However, event formats are indeed undergoing a change. We will probably see a lot of "Mixed Reality" events in the future – classic events mixed with Augmented Reality, for example holography.
A Change In Services - A New Dimension Of Exhibitor Experience
When we speak about the experience of exhibitors and visitors, the idea of service is certainly undergoing a change of its own. Trade fair companies are looking at ways to improve the exhibitor's experience throughout the entire customer journey. As Exhibition World recently reported, one of the largest and most successful exhibition venues in Europe, the RAI Amsterdam, digitized their entire exhibitor's journey. The idea was to allow exhibitors to navigate through a digital web shop in their own time to allow stress-free preparation of their show participation.
RAI offers their exhibitors a central tool for all exhibition-related services. This self-service portal gives exhibitors the chance to order products and services at any time. We could call it sales automation, but we could also call it contemporary service given the fact that customers are not dependent from individual service times. They have the ability to manage their stand as well as any related services whenever they want.
The web shop efficiently lists all important information, including deadlines (we know how important they are in the exhibition business!). It offers related or suggested items for purchase that come up once an item has been placed in the cart. A nice visualization of products and services adds to the user experience. In fact, the tool is much more than a “web shop”: It is an Exhibitor Service Center that covers the entire exhibition journey ultimately offering a one-stop-shop to exhibitors. Exhibition World also reported about higher exhibitor satisfaction at RAI Amsterdam thanks to this great service experience.
Technology For The Win – Trade Fair Companies Preparing For The Future
According to Gartner, software spending has grown by 5.8% from 2015 to 2016. We can expect further significant investments from trade fair companies into IT services and software solutions in order to ensure high technology standards for their clients and to remain competitive. In the same blog post on UFILive, Gerald Böse noted that digitization is not only a matter of technology. This is crucial to acknowledge as digitization also impacts workplaces and jobs (to name only two examples) and therefore has a lot to do with change management as well as psychology. Digitization requires any organization to react fast and to be versatile and flexible in many aspects.
More information available at http://www.exhibitionworld.co.uk/2016/11/12/focus-service-management/