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WOW effect and streaming: trend of the industry discussed at the Europe + Asia Event Forum

On 17 January, during the 8th Europe + Asia Event Forum (EFEA), a panel discussion “Management Trends of Exhibition and Congress Venues” took place. Participants discussed introduction of service quality standards and optimisation of business processes for platform management. Sergey Voronkov, CEO of ExpoForum-International, was one of speakers.

The session was opened with a speech by Jochen Witt, President of the German consulting company jwc GmbH, moderator of the discussion. According to him, the exhibition business currently is standing on its own.  For the last 6 years, the growth rate of the industry has been 4.3%. In addition, organisers that neither managed nor owned their sites grew even faster – 8.3%, though most of this percentage was due to mergers and takeovers – 6.8%.

The President of jwc GmbH consulting company described the structure of the exhibition industry: “The global exhibitions market is 100 mln sq. m. all over the world. The biggest share is in Europe – almost 40%, followed by North America – 30%. The third place is held by China – 13.5%. However, if you look at this in the context of revenue, Europe is not a leader. In America, revenue from one square metre of exhibition space is greater than in Europe.” The share of Russia in the structure of the global exhibition business is 1%. So why is Russia not among the leaders of the industry despite the huge population, territory and economic value? As the expert says, the reason is that the quality level of venues is not high enough. Then there’s another question: “What makes a venue successful?” Its quality. It is evaluated by three main criteria: safety, efficiency and quality of services.

Artur Antonyan, First Deputy CEO of VDNKh, told about development plans for the VDNKh EXPO. Today, VDNKh is a unique space of museum and exhibition projects, international business exhibitions and congresses, festivals and holidays. In the coming years, the site is to be reconstructed. According to the complex concept for development of VDNKh, its territory will be transformed into seven areas, each of which will have its own theme, image and meaning. There will be a Central walkway with a unique exhibition space “Museum City”, an all-season theme “Amusement Park”, an educational cluster “Park of Knowledge”, a Landscape park, a Park of Crafts, an EXPO area and the Ostankino Park.

Sergey Voronkov, CEO of EF-International, shared the secret of successful work of EXPOFORUM. The comfort of visitors and engagement in the event is in first place for the company. EXPOFORUM is a smart venue. It has unique architecture and technical solutions. For example, pillarless halls and pavilions are the first engineering structures with 90 metre-long girders without beam spans in the city, and mobile partitions of such a scale exist in two places only – in EXPOFORUM and in Dubai. The company works in accordance with the WOW effect concept targeted at all 6 senses: in the passage, guests are met with classical music and a corporate perfume – edelweiss aroma, etc. But, according to Voronkov, the main thing in EXPOFORUM is the people. “You can make bids, and construct a good building, fill it with high-end equipment and fill it with a good calendar of events, but it’s all useless without a team of professionals,” the speaker believes. “The convention and exhibition business belongs to the service economy, where people, their expertise and focus on the customer, friendliness and willingness to come to help when solving a problem are the key.

Elena Roshchina, Chief Expert of the Event Organisation Department of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, told participants about her view on modern trends in venue management. The first tend of event management is to provide additional knowledge and new experience. People don’t just come to an event in the library, they focus on the history of our country. The second trend is technologies, they need to tracked closely. Now, virtual and augmented realities, mass integration technologies and holographic screens, and so forth are gaining popularity. Based on the 2018 results, research centres note a growth in streaming events that involve an infinite number of people. “Meeting the requirements of time is a prerequisite for the success for any venue and its demand on the market. The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library is smaller in area than specialised sites, but the customers choose it as a venue for their events more and more often. Today, you will not surprise anyone with holding an art exhibition in a greenhouse or presenting a new car in a library,” Elena Roshchina notes.

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