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page 48 27particular, web-based ordering and personnel could be the difference between an organiser choosing one contractor over another. Once they got past core functions and operational reliability, organisers said they were increasingly looking for creativity and innovation. One organiser said it chose on design, innovation and ability to deliver balanced with price."Spend has increased as we are doing more than just simply building a stand; we are adding to the content and inspiration of our event," one organiser told Zing. "Our spend is increasing as we want to make ours a must-attend event rather than just being about a stand."Another way organisers are seeking to address the balance of price and cost is by extending contract terms. Traditionally, contracts have been awarded on an annual basis, yet those responding to Zing's survey said most now choose suppliers for two or three years. "Many organisers now view relationships as long-term 'partnerships' which needs nurturing," Zing's Jo Walther told EN. "Once a strong relationship of quality delivery is established, it's worthwhile maintaining that partnership."Only 7 per cent of organisers said they were likely or very likely to change their shell and electrics supplier when the contract ends. FUTURE ENGAGEMENTChange will remain the only constant over the next three to fi ve years, organisers said. According to Zing's research, 53 per cent of organisers expect to see contractors raising prices in the next three to fi ve years. When asked specifi cally about pricing, 79 per cent forecast a prise rise on shell and electrics.Innovation in how stands and exhibitions appear visually remains a critical factor given organisers are striving to devise better content, features and interactivity to keep visitors coming back to their shows. Forty-one per cent highlighted technology as a major infl uencer on contractor services in the next three to fi ve years, while 45 per cent believed more value-added offers are on the cards. "Delivering creative solutions for feature build or alternative stand-build solutions by moving away from formulaic shell scheme represents a signifi cant opportunity for contractors," Zing stated. In addition, creating attractive content for sponsors and visitors with increasingly sophisticated demands is important. "Contractors need to understand better the organiser's focus on quality, creativity and innovation, which is driven by the need to develop content-rich events to engage their audiences," Walther said. "Many organisers are looking outside of the standard contractor marketplace to achieve creativity and innovation, choosing instead experiential agencies and festival content providers."A major criticism is that small contractors simply don't make clear their comprehensive offerings, she continued. SO Group was perceived to have the most comprehensive services including shell, electrics, carpet, registration, security, fl oral, furniture, signage, lifting, logistics, show layout planning, feature design, innovation, AV exhibitor portals, visual aids, CRM and research with 8.53 out of 10. This was closely followed by Melville (8.07). In contrast, the remaining players scored between 4.12 (Moyne) and 5.35 (Index Group). "Smaller contractors are often viewed as one generic entity and are not being considered individually against their own merits," Walther said. "Organisers want to support them but need them to be more proactive and market effectively their full offering and abilities; given recent market instability, organisers also need reassurance that smaller contractors have the ability to fulfi l contracts and are fi nancially secure."While innovation creates a new way for organisers and contractors to form stronger relationships, smaller contractors still have to work hard to gain visibility against the two giants, Melville and SO Group. The research found 64 per cent of organisers agreed having two major suppliers was unacceptable and recognised they had a responsibility to support newcomers or existing suppliers. "Many organisers stated that they would be prepared to support alternative, existing suppliers if those suppliers 'upped their game' and communicated their services more effectively," Zing said.ORGANISING GREATNESSThe challenge for all contractors will be how to demonstrate their abilities to an increasingly mature, risk-adverse and rapidly consolidating organiser market. As one organiser pointed out, it's creativity and innovation that will set one show apart from another long-term. "I think exhibition organisers have fallen into the same arrogant and lackadaisical way of putting shows together," the organiser claimed. "I'm looking forward to a new generation of exhibition organisers coming through." criteriaQUALITY OF SERVICEPRICEQUALITY OF STOCKPEOPLE AND SKILLSFLEXIBILITYORGANISATIONAL STABILITY/FINANCIAL SECURITYREPUTATIONQUANTITY OF STOCKADDED VALUE SERVICESFULLY COMPREHENSIVE SERVICE OFFERINNOVATION/CREATIVITYSIZE OF BUSINESSLOCATION4.834.564.494.494.313.993.943.913.743.663.642.602.43left: Importance of a range of criteria when choosing a shell and electrics contractor (1=not important and 5= very important)0102030405060The future of contractor services5345413632321112PRICE INCREASESMORE ADDED VALUE OFFERSTECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONSFURTHER SUPPLIER CONSOLIDATIONBUILD INNOVATIONSNEW SUPPLIERS ENTERING THE MARKETA MOVE TOWARDS A SINGLE SUPPLIER MONOPOLYPRICE DECREASESleft: The changes organisers are expecting in the contractor market over the next 3-5 yearsAN ORGANISER'S DECISION-MAKING CRITERIAFUTURE EXPECTATIONS 64%The percentage of organisers surveyed who believe having only two major suppliers is unacceptable in today's market.The complete 2011 Contractor Market report can be purchased from Zing Insights:

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