2020 Predictions: Turning It Up!

Plagued by protests, a trash credit rating and many political storms, South Africa’s economy has had a tough time. And then we won the Rugby World Cup and realised that we can still win at this game called business. It is going to take some hard work and a rock-solid strategy, but exhibition organisers are known for their tenacity. Here’s what we see happening in the exhibition space next year:

Turning it up! AAXO predictions 2020

Always On, Always Connected

We are living in an ‘always on’ culture, where there is greater demand for what we offer. And when the economy is in a state of decline, demand is something exhibition organisers need to be tuned in to. Attendees want 24/7 engagement from organisers, and the organisers are not about to disappoint. 2020 will see a year in which exhibition organisers rise to the challenge by maximising the use of Chatbots to assist with immediate responses.  Chatbots on apps and websites will allow visitors to find everything they need – NOW!

A Focused Strategy

Due to the slow decline in exhibitor participation, organisers will need to focus their strategy not only on exhibitor retention to ensure growth, but diversify their product offering, find new revenue streams and deliver exceptional value.

Regulation shapes how we market our events

With the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) and POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) coming into full force from 2020, organisers will have to be more careful when marketing directly to potential attendees.  We will need to re- evaluate our opt-in marketing strategies or face severe penalties. And find new channels to reach old customers.

Embrace Digital Channels

The rise of digital marketing results in organisers being more inclined to spend the bulk of their budget on digital channels. We need to find a healthy balance between traditional and digital marketing and stop thinking of digital marketing as the enemy.   When done right, digital marketing compliments our traditional efforts in ways we never thought possible. Further to this, the industry can see some interesting developments as organisers commercialise their own digital channels to establish new revenue streams.

Fiercely Protect Our Customers

There is a need to tackle the rise of deceptive practices from companies scamming exhibitors in the industry, pretending to be part of the organiser team.  These fraudsters are scamming exhibitors into purchasing attendee lists from them, or services not affiliated with the organisers.  Organisers will have to place more stringent communication in place to ensure clients don’t fall into this trap.

Innovation is key

Organisers are pushing forward by innovating in exhibitions to keep them relevant; exhibition attendees can look out for a more personalised experience overall especially with all the digital tools now available: personalised show journeys, highly targeted communications, add-on VIP-type experiences, improved overall event experience as organisers focus on visitor experience as opposed to just getting feet through the door.

A Big Focus on People

Sourcing, growing and retaining talent is more important than ever to help us grow our exhibition industry. Exhibition organisers will lead the way in sourcing talent for the industry and invest substantially to grow and retain talent for future stability.

Overall, exhibition organisers will again rise to the challenge – and we invite our peers, suppliers and customers to rise with us!

For more information about AAXO or to join as a Member of AAXO, please contact: aaxo@aaxo.co.za

First published in December issue of Business Events Africa.