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CEIR president asks if we are a troubled industry

A white paper authored by Douglas L. Ducate, CEM, CMP, president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) was released today questioning whether the exhibition industry is a troubled one. The paper was produced as a result of news accounts published in Chicago suggesting that the exhibition industry has bad business practices.


Ducate takes exception to what some suggest is a flawed business model. Rather, Ducate believes that what some call a business model is truly a set of business practices related to pricing and customer treatment. The paper gives a brief history of purpose built exhibition centers and the reasons for exclusive contracts.

“It is no more reasonable to expect an organizer to explain their pricing model than it is to expect a publication to explain their advertising pricing model,” said Ducate. “Advertising rates for electronic publications, in many cases, are the same or greater than they were for print publications and yet, clearly, the costs associated with producing and distributing that advertisement is considerably less for electronic publications than they were for print publications.”

When it comes to business practices, Ducate suggests that there are three fundamental principles of business that apply to most industries, including the exhibition business:

1. Preferred customers get preferred treatment
2. There is a cost incurred for entry to a market
3. Supply, demand and competition determine price

The paper addresses each of the above principles as they relate to the exhibition industry and Ducate provides rationale on why current business practices are not troubling and how they are common to all industries that rely on sales.

The paper was written with a disclaimer noting that the opinions expressed in the white paper are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent an official position by CEIR or any other organization.

To download a copy of the white paper, visit www.ceir.org.

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