The board of directors of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) issued a stronger, revised policy statement cautioning exhibition facilities against taking services in-house as exclusive offerings at its summer board meeting on August 27, 2010.
IAEE’s statement says in part, IAEE urges facility management to promote and maintain competition in the marketplace by restricting the adoption of exclusive in-house services to only those functions that bear directly on the health, welfare and safety of the facility’s occupants.
“While IAEE recognizes that many of its member facilities are facing difficult economic circumstances, especially those that are funded by city and state entities, the fact remains that customers, both show organizers and exhibitors, prefer the option of choice when it comes to making service provider decisions,” said Steven Hacker, CAE, IAEE president. “Many organizers and exhibitors have long-term contracts with service providers such as maintenance and cleaning, telecommunications, audio visual and many others types of event service. Arbitrary, exclusive in-house mandates intrude into these contractual relationships.”
Also according to Hacker, exclusive in-house services also tend to add cost and over time diminish the quality of service that is rendered. Today’s economic realities demand exactly the opposite, and for these reasons IAEE continues to believe that free choice in the marketplace is the best assurance customers have to receive competitive pricing and appropriate standards of service.
“Exhibitors and Services Contractors will be directly impacted by the selection of services or vendors at exhibitions and events, so it is essential that the organizer have the freedom to select the best partner for any particular show,” said Larry Arnaudet, ESCA executive director. “With IAEE and SISO, we agree that in-house exclusive arrangements are detrimental to the overall process.”
Speaking on behalf of SISO, Executive Director Lew Shomer echoed IAEE and ESCA sentiments. According to Shomer, SISO strongly opposes any policy which allows facilities to require show organizers to use only in-house, appointed vendors for services that are available in the general marketplace. It is important for organizers and exhibitors to have the right to choose the vendors of their choice, and appreciate the options the facilities offer at the same time.
IAEE first adopted a policy against in-house exclusive services in 1995, and the updated policy is available at www.iaee.com.
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