FEATUREwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 25market are talking about using yield management and location to improve products rather than looking at ways for their customers to meet buyers in the most cost-effective way. "In reality, none of these pricing issues answer the most important question: Does it add value to the visitor experience? I believe our 'level playing fi eld' model does," he claimed. Event director for Counter Terror Expo (CTX) at Clarion Events, Phil Hunter, saw the advantages in a location-oriented model, but agreed any further complexity in selling show space could potentially deter exhibitors. "Making a pricing structure too complex usually adds another barrier to what you essentially want to be a fairly fast and easy process once you have sold the only way."Industry Partners programmes. Hunter said. VALUABLE CONTENTEasyFairs also claims there's nothing new industry's stars should be sold at a premium, the better organisers can implement price differentiation schemes and increase their profi tability. "Our fl oorplans today are driven simply by quantity considerations. We want to put as many stalls into a hall as possible. We should rethink that and focus on value considerations," Witt said. "If the right methods and tools for location-based pricing are applied, the profi tability of a show can be increased by 10-15 per cent at the beginning; then over time and with more experience, that profi t increase will rise even higher."Lastly, the telecoms industry offers a strong lesson on how bundling low and high margin products and services can deliver dividends. "We do bundles as well, but we don't do it with deep analysis of customer needs and customers' willingness to pay," Witt added.PACKAGING PLUSImago Techmedia MD Hugh Keeble claimed location and premium pricing only add to the "increasing sense of disillusionment" experienced by customers at trade shows. He also doubted whether Reed's new location-based model would reduce the cost for exhibiting, a vital factor in getting them over the line. In a bid to tackle the issue of value, Imago provides package-based pricing for all exhibitors across its trade shows. Keeble claimed this also alleviated the issue of exhibitors competing with each other for dominance at an event. Imago packages range from nine to 72sqm and include furniture, lighting, graphics, stand fi tting, carpet and lead scanner. This year, the organiser will include online products within its exhibitor packages."The traditional market allows the cost of space to be doubled and trebled by 'additional services' and they wonder why people fi nd justifying exhibitions diffi cult," Keeble said. "We have never quoted a square metre cost and the interesting thing is our customers have never asked."Our package model provides a clear cost for participation, enabling customers to measure and demonstrate ROI." Keeble found it "ironic" major players in the exhibition According to a new survey conducted with 117 registered ECEF attendees by research consultants Jacobs, Jenner and Kent, 56 per cent of organisers are open to new pricing models for exhibitors. The 2012 Pulse Survey found current strategies for diversifying the exhibitor revenue stream being explored are led by charges based on different sections of the exhibitor fl oor (18 per cent), followed by multi-year contracts (15 per cent). Other initiatives include charges based on when the space is paid for (10 per cent), reduced net square feet charges the EXHIBITION HEALTH CHECKin the benefi ts and advantages of participating in the fi rst place," he claimed. "Once you have got to the stand price, you should be close to making the sale, so why make that part of the process more complex? I understand the desire to increase revenues, and looking at the pricing strategy is certainly one way of doing that, but it is not Hunter believed the focus needed to shift more onto other services that could add value to the exhibiting and visitor experience. For example, he pointed to CTX's Meet the Buyer, VIP and International Delegation and "Each of these are designed to match buyer needs with supplier offerings, and all of these [apart from a small admin charge for the Meet the Buyer Programme] are free of charge and aimed at adding value to our exhibitors within the price they already pay for taking part in the event," "I like to look at what we are doing on CTX as adding value to the exhibitors and visitors, while realising our revenue ambitions at the same time, rather than just increasing prices."in embracing a value-based approach and pointed out the organiser's pricing varies considerably across its European portfolio. more space purchased (10 per cent), charges based on performance (2 per cent) and other non-specifi ed strategies (45 per cent). The Pulse Survey also found 60 per cent of respondents saw growth in total exhibiting space sold in the past year, compared with 48 per cent in 2011. In contrast, 14 per cent reported a decline, an improvement on the 21 per cent who saw a drop in 2011. In terms of overall show health, 58 per cent reported growth in the total number of exhibitors, while 64 per cent also claimed an increase in visitors, compared with 28 per cent who had similar attendance fi gures year-on-year. As a further indication of the changing nature of sales across exhibitions, 58 per cent of organisers also cited growth in event sponsorship.
FEATURE26 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukThis is refl ective of the strength of the show and local visitor markets, easyFairs UK and Ireland MD Matt Benyon said. "Moreover, we design our fl oor plans so that every location is a 'value location'," he claimed. "Every stand module, which we sell as a complete package, is close to a feature or attraction such as the entrance, the catering areas, a stage or our learnShops theatres where seminars take place at the heart of the exhibition." EasyFairs also believes in the fi rst-come, fi rst-served principle and said this gave exhibitors better opportunity to gain greater exposure online. At the same time, having packaged options helps bring smaller players by removing the 'hidden costs' of exhibiting, Benyon said. "At easyFairs we started out with a 'no frills' approach to trade shows, which enabled us to drive a very rapid expansion," he said. "Now we are adding value by introducing much richer content programmes. That increases value to visitors, which increases visitor dwelling time and therefore value and satisfaction for exhibitors."Just a few years ago people were still saying that we'd never get companies to buy stands online. Now online sales account for a large chunk of easyFairs' business. In future, I expect to see some element of dynamic pricing like we see in airline ticketing and hotel accommodation online sales."While the approaches differ, it's clear that identifying the value your customers perceive in your specifi c offering is the holy grail of sales. As Witt so adeptly points out, giving your exhibitors choice is key to success. By basing your relationship on that choice, organisers will be able to increase value for the exhibitor and as a consequence, increase both their revenue and profi t. ANOTHER WAY TO ADD VALUEEN looks at the benefi t of concierge systems in improving exhibitor interaction and delivering those all-important business meetings during your trade exhibitionas possible with the likes of personalised itineraries and supplier/buyer information," he said.However, as Sullens points out, the tool is not applicable to all B2B events. "It is not applicable for every B2B event but is becoming more relevant as the pressure on buyer's time increases and our customers use more measurable marketing tactics such as email, affi liate, search and so on. From a personal perspective it is crucial for International Confex and we will be extending the programme again for 2013."But does a concierge system actually improve ROI, or simply improve relationship with exhibitors? Sullens said it does both. "On [Leisure Industry Week] we identifi ed upcoming build leisure centre projects and invited the contractors/operators to the show - we tailored a series of introduction meetings to our key exhibitors and then followed up post event to see where the business had been placed," he said. "That insight was invaluable and naturally improved our exhibitor relations."Informa's Clive Morton said it would be hard to argue against such a meetings system, although he thinks it can be a bit tricky to integrate into existing events. "It almost requires a different business model," he said. "Our sellers are increasingly looking for structured solutions to get connected in an Regardless of the industry's predilection for attendance fi gures and square metres, most exhibitors' experiences of an exhibition are defi ned by a handful of potentially lucrative encounters. Today, concierge systems are increasingly commonplace on the show fl oor, and as with all tools they vary in purpose and application. Some are effectively software apps that aid networking at the event, while others play the role of a premium services for loyal customers looking to extract more value from the events they attend. In either case they are dynamic in the sense that once details are recorded, they are used to put buyers or exhibitors in touch with the right people. Reed Exhibitions corporate marketing director Alison Berends said the organiser's aim is to provide the right level of support according to the customer's needs for each event. The company has developed bespoke software for several functions including matching hosted buyers with exhibiting companies, managing meetings, online appointment setting and messaging systems, and tools for producing schedules including travel arrangements."For customers who like to pre-plan their visit themselves we provide the online tools for messaging and setting up meetings with their peers, ensuring the process is as effective and easy as possible," she explained. "Customers do have different requirements and we try to offer fl exible options to suit their needs. There is not one option that fi ts all; new launches and mature events require different services and the size of the buying community may lend itself to a different approach. Cultural difference and requirements in different geographies also have to be taken into consideration."As Berends points out, working an exhibition is a busy exercise for participants and tools that support pre-planning and connecting buyers and sellers can help ensure the time spent is as effective as possible. UBM group director Jonny Sullens claimed the focus on hosted buyer programmes has increased, helping the organiser to ensure its key clients are meeting their key clients. "To derive full return on the investment on a hosted buyer programme, it is key to try and manage the experience and resulting interactions as closely effi cient and planned manner, especially those buyers who have become jaded with shows in their market and no longer use them." Informa doesn't currently do this on any of its shows, but is looking to add some form of matchmaking element in the near future. The organiser is also planning a system for its 2013 Live Production Network show, where people can book their own fl ights and hotel rooms through our Star Alliance system. Once they have arrived at the show, they then use the networking tool, fed by the same database, to make sure they're get the most out of each encounter."The ultimate would be for an exhibitor to then use our technology, an RFID platform for example, with their iPad and see that the man approaching you has a budget of £5 million to spend - and I don't think that's that far away," Morton claimed. There is no one-size-fi ts-all approach and it's important to understand not only what you are trying to achieve, but also how your type of event will benefi t from that software. But these premium services strengthen corporate brands by placing core values such as customer service, innovation and expertise back at the centre of the exhibition.