While Global Exhibitions Day 2017 (GED17) is a world-wide day-long celebration, Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) pulled out all the stops – celebrating GED17 over a full two days, with an action-packed line up of events. In line with AAXO’s GED17 theme of “Serving the Industry”, AAXO literally got groups of industry professionals and media together to physically serve some of AAXO’s members at this year’s MADEX. Building on this, the two-day celebrations further included training and the launch of a new associate AAXO membership.
Over lunch time on the 7th of June an AAXO butler created a buzz on the MADEX floor by serving champagne, flowers and a picnic lunch to three lucky suppliers at different times during the afternoon. Later in the day, a draw for the winner of exclusive concert tickets entered at AAXO’s stand also created much excitement.
AAXO’s chosen theme of “Serving the Industry”, spoke not only to their current mandate and their unwavering responsibility towards organisers to uphold professionalism and credibility in the exhibition industry, but now extends also to suppliers and venues that are often-marginalised – thanks to their new Associate Membership tier.
Carol Weaving, Chairperson of AAXO explains, “AAXO was founded to “Serve the Industry” both in SA and the rest of Africa so it was appropriate to reinforce this value coinciding with GED17 and its focus on promoting the significant value of all spheres of the exhibition industry.”
The two days of GED17 celebrations kicked off with the AAXO team equipping exhibitors by hosting a full day of Exhibitor Training with speakers such as renowned international sales guru, Andy Preston, Mike Lord from Alliance Safety, Nicolas De Klerk – award-winning stand designer and Justin Hawes, MD of Scan Display.
The 8th of June initiated another comprehensive day of educating the industry through training – this time for exhibition organisers. Andy Preston expounded on and drilled into the mechanics of increasing sales, providing further returns on investment for exhibitors and customer retention and satisfaction. Colin Campbell also delivered a much-needed update on global trends and technology.
With an overarching objective to serve the needs of a greater portion of the exhibition industry (again touching on AAXO’s theme for GED17 celebrations), the launch of AAXO’s new Associate Membership tier for exhibition venues and suppliers later in the afternoon, stole the show. This means that for the first time, venues and suppliers can join over 80% of the organising community to reap the benefits previously exclusively available to organisers. The advantages of joining include discount on training costs, networking and matchmaking opportunities, access to and inclusion in cutting-edge research and the use of the exclusive “AAXO-Approved Venue” and “AAXO-Approved Supplier” badges as a sign of quality.
Pat Lofstedt, GM of AAXO commented, “Initiatives such as the Associate Membership increase credibility and quality assurance in an industry where “fly-by-night” operations can severely damage the reputation of organisers and exhibitors alike. We are passionate about regulating and upholding exhibition standards in the country to world-class criteria.”
Carol Weaving, Chairperson of AAXO, is positive about the feedback received from the two days, “Through AAXO celebrating of “Serving the Industry”, we aimed to once again show organisers and suppliers how committed we are to growth. The industry as a whole prospers if we work together and garner the respect and emphasis our industry deserves. What better way to plug into GED17 celebrations, using it as a platform to push the African Exhibitions Agenda, unearthing value for the industry while uniting and educating it at the same time.”
AAXO would like to thank all of those who presented at and attended the Exhibitor and Organiser Training. AAXO also gratefully acknowledges the contribution from the sponsors of the day: Sandton Convention Centre, PromoTag, Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, Thornbirds, twoway exhibitions & events, Cinnamon Lane Flower Market and Garden Court Sandton City
All membership inquiries, including a full list of membership benefits and information on how to join, can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.