Red diamondcongress2010


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Red diamondcongress2010

  1. 1. Shaping the New Exhibition Model: Exhibitors advocate for effective change to drive the future of the exhibition industry TSEA Red Diamond Congress 2010Executive summaryIn the face of a slowly recovering global economy and increasing pressure to deliver results, the global exhibitioncommunity is exploring new ways to streamline its processes, improve financial transparency and optimize its supplychain in order to unlock greater value from within. Leading this effort, members of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA), comprised of the world’s leading exhibit marketers—and the exhibit builders, agencies, show producers and other suppliers that have long supported TABLE OF CONTENTS: them—are collaborating openly and at a level never before seen in order Key Industry Trends ..............................2 to create new efficiencies that will ultimately serve and benefit the exhibit Congress Findings and ecosystem as a whole. Commentary............................................3 . With that goal in mind, the TSEA convened its inaugural Red Diamond Third Party Audits: A Necessary Evolution.......................... -5 4 Congress event, a three-day leadership summit held in Orlando, FL, April 25-27, 2010, that brought together many leading figures in the industry Convention Housing: Adopt a Partnership Approach........6-7 to directly address key issues, including Third-Party Audits; Housing Practices; and Labor Practices. The result: consensus on the issues, potential solutions Labor Practices: and a roadmap forward. Standardize Services and Costs to Drive Efficiencies...................8 consensus on the Issues Call to Action: All stakeholders acknowledge the need for greater transparency on long- Change Requires Leadership.............9 standing practices in the industry ranging from handling drayage to managing room blocks. Sharing information in regard to where costs lie and how risk is managed throughout the supply chain provides greater opportunity to improve productivity and efficiency.A Focus on SolutionsDeveloping universal standards that can be applied across numerous markets, more specific definitions around howlabor is defined and the impact that credible, third-party audits can have on exhibit budgets were just a few of thesolutions proposed during the course of the event. The takeaway: much can be achieved by improving communicationbetween all the stakeholders in the exhibition industry.The Roadmap to ChangeMost important of all, a course of action is being crafted in order to create the change everyone at the table feels isnecessary. Through a clear and sustained plan of action, the ideas expressed through this effort will take hold andgenerate specific results.The following data and insights are based on a survey of key leaders within the exhibition industry leading up to theCongress as well as the ideas and recommendations gathered from speakers and attendees at the event. Collected herefor the first time, the aim of “Shaping the New Exhibition Model” is to generate ongoing conversation industry-wide andmomentum for change.
  2. 2. key industry trendsThe following macro-forces are creating an exhibit marketing environment open to re-visiting traditional practicessuch as third-party show audits, housing practices and labor management.At the same time, these trends mirror an undercurrent of conversation at the Congress centered on an embrace ofstrategy—not just more efficient logistical execution—as a powerful means to elevate events within the integratedmarketing mix and to compete more effectively in the marketplace. #1 Strategic Event Marketing Economic pressure is driving a move from event management to event marketing #2 Consolidation and Savings Doing more with less, creating innovative solutions and consolidating investments #3 Targeted Intimacy More depth of engagement, less breadth of contact…more digital integration #4 Interactive A shift from monologue to omni-directional participation #5 Virtual Physical trade show extension and, in some cases, elimination #6 Social Adopting dialog as a strategic initiative and using new platforms to activat #7 Data Strategy Professionals use data: capture; mine; deploy; and improve    2 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  3. 3. Sample Red Diamond Congress Commentary “Every show should have an advisory committee.”   “Financial rewards for beginning the process early will drive better results for all stakeholders.”   “Reliable audits remove any doubt about continued investment in a show.”   “Audit process has to be standardized and general enough for all exhibitors, no custom analysis.”   “More visibility and transparency into what the true costs are will lead to better cooperation.”   “Standardization of housing process across markets and year-to-year is the optimal scenario.”   “Standardization of processes is the key to improving role of labor: fragmented market increases risk.”   “[Exhibitors] actually have a lot in common with the unions.  Unions were started to protect the down trodden worker—those that were being taken advantage of.  From an exhibitor perspective, we need protection and transparency.”   ”Post a list of what exhibitors can or cannot do in the exhibit hall, an Exhibitor Bill of Rights.”   Sample Red Diamond Congress Findings 95% of respondents believe that certified, independent, third-party attendance and demographic data would help validate continued investment in a show.   Choice and risk mitigation are the main concerns of exhibitors in regard to housing policies.   Need better communication between exhibitors and labor. “Exhibitors are the customers.”  3 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  4. 4. Third Party Audits: A Necessary EvolutionObservation   In an era of fewer attendees and smaller exhibition footprints, third-party audits, “Reliable audits removea relatively low-cost strategy organizers can employ, provide corporate marketers any doubt about continuedwith the tools they need to make the case for continued investment. Under pressure investment in a show.”to show measurable return on investment (ROI) and compete for shrinking budgetwith other channels, audits proving that exhibitions engage high-value customerscan mean the difference between committing to a show or reducing or eliminating that investment. Show producersat the Red Diamond Congress stated that if tradeshow managers and exhibitors ask, they will provide this independentthird-party data. ImplicationBoth corporate marketers and show producers stand to benefit by making third-party audits a required part of doingbusiness. Audit standards are already in place, created by and for the industry at large.  Pushing for the wide adoptionof audits can have an immediate impact on the industry as a whole since currently less than 1% of all B-to-B tradeshowsin North America are audited.Recommended ActionCorporate marketers need to  request  independent, third-party audited trade show attendance and demographicsfrom their show producer partners by: Requesting third-party audited tradeshow data from all current and prospective show organizer partners if none exists. Asking your trade show producer if the audit they are providing is EEIAC certified. Creating critical mass within the different show exhibitor communities and then sending signed letters to current show organizer partners requesting they begin performing independent third-party audits. Exhibitor advisory committees are the voice for requesting third-party, audited data. If an exhibitor advisory committee exists for a show, employ them to advocate on behalf of the exhibiting community, requesting/ requiring the show producer to provide this type of data. If no committee exists, ask the show producer if one can be created.  Get involved and become a change agent.Tradeshow producers need to proactively invest in the future success of their shows by freely providing independentlyvalidated third-party tradeshow attendance and demographic data to their current and prospective customers. Producers will immediately raise the level of communication between their sales staff and exhibitor clients by providing accurate and credible data that has been validated by a third-party.4 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  5. 5. Producers will create a partnership with their exhibitor clients by being transparent with their demographic and attendance figures. Exhibitors feel that the value of a show is based on the quality of the people attending. If they know who is attending and have the additional security of knowing the information has been vetted by a third party, their trust in the show producer will grow and the sales cycle is more likely to shorten with a positive result. Producers who provide third-party audited tradeshow data will bring vital accountability to the industry as a whole.  Other competing marketing channels are already providing this information to their buyers. Integrity through audited data helps keep the face-to-face investment in the budgets of corporate marketers rather than allowing those investment dollars to migrate towards other channels proactively providing investment justification.5 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  6. 6. Convention Housing: Adopt a Partnership ApproachObservation   The rationale for show producers’ housing policies and corporate marketers approach to dealing with those policies boils down to one key idea: risk management. “More visibility andShow producers, often through housing bureaus who aren’t in the business of transparency into what theunderstanding marketers’ needs, manage the commitments they make to hotels true costs are we lead to better cooperatoin.”with the idea of minimizing exposure to unfilled capacity. Corporate marketers, on the other hand, are managing risk associated with making commitments based on uncertainprojections. Time (advance notice) and flexibility on the part of show producers are key issues. Penalties are seeminglyout of proportion to the costs/risk incurred.  Requirements of names for room blocks are required earlier then canreasonably be provided by exhibitors thus false names are commonly used as fillers until the list can be finalized. The current format for deposits creates post-show accounting problems for exhibitors.  ImplicationCommunication—or rather the historical lack of it—between marketers and show producers is the commonthread and the consistent challenge in the area of housing. A shift towards a partnership approach based on opencommunication between these two groups can yield great improvements.Recommended ActionHousing bureaus should adopt a customer service orientation when dealing with corporate marketers, more in linewith a true understanding of who is creating value. Exhibiting companies’ needs have to be considered at all times.Housing bureaus need to send confirmation numbers for each hotel room along with internal housing bureauconfirmation numbers.Greater flexibility on the part of show producers in terms of timing, incentives and penalties including: Allow exhibitors more flexibility for deposits:  Optimal policy would be to provide one credit card to secure reserved rooms which is only to be billed for unused rooms—no more than one night per room reserved.  Each room would be paid by individual staying in room. Late arrivals should be guaranteed for all rooms.  Optimal policy would be if first night deposit has been secured, the room should be held until check-out time of following day so individuals are not “walked” to another hotel due to late evening arrivals. Extended time for providing individual names for room blocks.  Optimal time would be at time of check in at hotel.  Extended time for providing final room counts.  Optimal time would be thirty (30) days prior to show. Positive incentives for staying within the housing block. Allow exhibitors to share unused room nights reserved with other exhibitors who need additional room nights.6 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  7. 7. Organizers need to be advocates for their exhibitors including but not limited to: All hotels included in show housing blocks should be evaluated and inspected on a regular basis—no more than two (2) years prior to event—to ensure quality of facility and ease of accessibility to convention center.   Rates within show housing block need to be competitive with other options available to exhibitors.    Fair process for issuing of hotel rooms—tiered system to allow opportunity for a guaranteed minimum percentage of rooms to be available at preferred hotels. Twenty-four hour help line during show to assist individuals staying within the show’s hotel block.7 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  8. 8. Labor Practices: Standardize Services and Costs to Drive EfficienciesObservation   Lack of standardization is one of the key issues related to improving labor practices, “Post a list of what exhibitorsas well as lack of understanding as to true costs related to such activities as drayage. can or cannot do in the exhibit hall, an ExhibitorThe variance in labor practices across different markets makes it difficult for corporate Bill of Rights.”marketers to simplify budgeting, manage efficiently and gain clarity into the valuebeing created. Both show producers and corporate marketers agree that moretransparency and definition in this area is a desirable goal.In addition, the fewer products exhibitors are able to bring on to the show floor due to costs causes a trickle-downeffect, lowering the value exhibitors provide to prospective customers which, in turn, lessens the value of the tradeshow to attendees. .  ImplicationMore efficiencies in managing labor can free up budget and resources that can be re-invested in activities that(1) improve the performance of the exhibit marketing investment for corporate marketers and (2) create greater profitfor show producers.The cost to bring product onto the show floor needs to be lowered to increase the value of trade shows to bothcorporate marketing professionals and attendees.Recommended ActionCreate an industry-wide labor standardization initiative bringing together corporate marketers, show producers,venues, labor and other stakeholders.Greater transparency on what costs are included in drayage/material handling fees and benefits show producersreceive from these fees.Clarity on what defines “special handling” with documentation provided to exhibitors when fees are applied.There is a lot of finger pointing on who can lower these rates.  There are long-term contracts between stakeholderswhich limits the ability to go out to bid to reevaluate and/or replace current vendors.  Short-term contracts would keepall parties honest.Forced overtime rates need to be eliminated and blended rates should be used whenever possible to ensure fairnessto all exhibitors.Revamp the current “drayage/material handling” model.  Optimal policy would base rates on per package model andnot based on weight.8 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |
  9. 9. Call to action: change requires leadershipIncreased competition for a share of shrinking marketing budgets and the need to be more effective and efficient inthe exhibit marketing arena are opening the opportunity to bring corporate marketers, show producers and otherstakeholders to the same table like never before. There is a level of open conversation and a willingness to break fromtradition that has enormous potential to move the industry forward.Based on this momentum and validated by the TSEA research, as well as feedback from industry leaders in attendanceat the inaugural Red Diamond Congress, much can be accomplished through continued dialog.However, sustained change will elude the industry without the commitment of time and resources from industrygroups such as the TSEA and its counterparts throughout the exhibition ecosystem. As macro-level forces continueto bring change to the industry, it will be up to these groups and individual leaders to advance a more strategic andefficient model.Attendees agreed that exhibitors must work together as one group in order to facilitate change and the TSEA RedDiamond Congress was a necessary first step in a long-term process.Please send your comments and suggestions on the topics covered in this whitepaper to the TSEA AdvocacyCommittee at   The Trade Show Exhibitors Association would like to offer a special thank you to all the supporters of the first TSEA Red Diamond Congress who made this event possible:9 of 9 | Red Diamond Congress 2010 |