Google, amazon etc. are fast, convenient, personalised and secure. In the trade fair industry, websites are mostly very slow (on average five times slower than a standard Google search) and people are happy when events successfully attract many visitors and they have to wait in long queues, while amazon has opened a shop where you simply take what you need and leave without being prevented from doing so by a checkout. Registering for an amazon account, for example, takes less than a minute. When a visitor wants to register for an event, it sometimes takes 30 minutes to answer seemingly useless questions. Some event organisers are working on their interfaces, but really few are working on significantly improving the customer experience.
At the UFI European Conference 2018 in Verona, Italy, Gunnar Heinrich (CEO adventics & Scan2Lead) again gave a presentation on “Digital Transformation”, together with his colleagues from the Digital Innovation Committee Stephan Forseilles (easyfairs) and Matthias Tesi Baur (MBB-Media). The audience, consisting of exhibition organisers, site operators, associations and service providers, was asked to actively participate and vote on specific topics in real time using a polling tool.The audience, consisting of exhibition organisers, site operators, associations and service providers, was asked to actively participate and vote on specific topics in real time using a polling tool.
It couldn’t be more obvious that UFI members and participants in the room agree with the fact that the exhibition industry offers an outdated customer experience. But then why does nothing change? Why is everyone sticking to their old habits and putting “business as usual” before the customer experience? As the feedback shows, it’s a mix of habit, fear and lack of communication.
“We’ve been doing it this way for 20 years!”(habit) is one of the most frequently heard rejections received by participants who want to change something. Closely followed by the excuse “If we change this or that, my event might not be a success anymore”, the ‘fear’ aspect. And the lack of communication becomes clear when one realises, for example, that the event manager thinks that marketing does not want to cut the questionnaire in the registration, while marketing thinks that top management wants the data in any case, and top management is convinced that the event manager has good reasons for such a cumbersome registration process.
This article is based on Stephan Forseille’s post “As event organisers in the 4th industrial age, we are providing an outdated customer experience…” in the UFI Digital Innovation group on LinkedIn. Stay in touch and up to date with digital innovations in the exhibition industry.
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Munich, 16 July 2018, © adventics GmbH