Indian Wells, Calif., Dec. 3, 2009 — About 300 exhibit industry professionals flocked to the California desert oasis of Indian Wells for ACCESS 2009, the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association’s (EDPA) annual conference at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, Dec. 2-4.
Themed “Innovate and Interact,” the conference offered attendees an array of keynote presentations, workshops, a supplier’s showcase and networking opportunities. One of the more popular workshops was “The Future of Trade Shows, New Trends, New Realities.”
Sharing their insight on emerging trends was Travis Stanton, editor, Exhibitor Magazine; Dan Hanover, editor, Event Marketer; and Gary Survis, managing partner, Go Green Displays. The standing room-only audience came away from the workshop musing about the trends that are affecting EDPA members today. The trends discussed included the following (not listed in any order of importance or impact).
• Contracting timelines are driving leaner activities – meaning clients are asking their exhibit house staff to get things done faster, at less cost, using fewer resources.
• Shrinking budgets and ensuing ramifications are “becoming more intense,” therefore, it is “critical” that exhibit house staff position themselves as trusted advisors to clients. Exhibit houses must help their clients create smarter budgets while assisting clients with setting realistic program goals and objectives.
• Clients are demanding more. Exhibit houses should answer the call by providing more, including technology services, ways to collect show data, and ways to measure the data for determining return on investment, return on marketing, return on objectives.
• Clients are embracing Web 2.0 and exhibit houses can benefit from this phenomenon by assisting their clients with the integration of social media and digital technologies into their clients’ exhibits and show-related marketing, promotions and communications.
• Integrating “green” materials into exhibit builds is on the rise; not for the sake of green, but as an efficient strategy to cut costs while educating clients on what greener solutions can provide.
• Extending customer contact/touch/reach before, during and after a trade show is important to building ongoing relations with new customers and for attracting new customers. Exhibit houses should assist their clients with the development of attendee/customer-focused certification and education programs, Web/virtual/hybrid events and activities, road shows, etc.
• Creating interactive experiences within exhibits or at events is necessary with the experiences maximizing the investments made to attract people to a client’s exhibit or event.
Aleta Walther is a Southern California-based marketing communications professional and freelance writer with several years experience as a corporate exhibit manager. Contact Aleta at firstname.lastname@example.org.