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Exhibition World | Interview31What are the key challenges that faceMontgomery in the next 12 months? The last two years have been incrediblydifficult for the event industry worldwideand Montgomery Exhibitions has had tobattle through its fair share of pain. Nowwe are beginning to see some upturn inthe sector and we are beginning to planfor limited growth. Over the next 12 months we arelooking for our established events tomove forward and at the same time tolaunch some new business. Ourbusiness has always been internationaland we will continue to look at newmarkets around the world.What are your key objectives and why? We have got through the 'survival' objective and are nowlooking to a strategy of steady growth. Our key objectivesare to achieve financial and performance targets on allbusinesses and the successful running of our first eventin Saudi Arabia next September.Have you formed any joint ventures or otherpartnerships recently? We have started two new working relationships. InPoland we have joined forces with Poznan InternationalFair (MTP) to organise the Polskie Zboza (CerealsPoland) exhibition. MTP is the leading organiser ofagricultural fairs in Poland so this is a very good fit for us. In Saudi Arabia we are working with AlagatInternational to organise Food, Hotel & HospitalityArabia, which will take place in Riyadh from 11 to14September 2011. Saudi Arabia is the largest singlemarket in the Gulf Region and a great opportunity forcompanies. Are there any countries or regions you wouldparticularly like to enter or expand your business inover the next 24 months?Not in the next two years. We will focus on growing ourexisting businesses and establishing our newrelationships in Poland and Saudi Arabia. In the past wemay have expanded too quickly into emerging marketswithout being fully resourced to succeed. Post-recessionwe will be more circumspect. If there were another global financialcrisis tomorrow, what would youadvise is the best way to protectyour business? Different companies will all havedifferent strategies based upon size,make-up and culture. Our strategy is todevelop with caution, making sure thateverything we do, we do well beforemoving on to the next opportunity. TheMontgomery culture has always beento look at overseas markets as well asthe UK. I don't think that will change.What are your views on emergingtrends in the international exhibitionindustry - is social networking of anyreal benefit to you?Essentially our business is bringing buyer and sellertogether, face-to-face. Any trend or innovation that willhelp us to do this better must be welcomed. Socialnetworking is another means of communicating with ouraudiences and as more people participate, itsimportance to us increases. A recent survey at one of our shows told us that 82 percent of our audience was on Facebook; that's a prettygood reason for using social networking. The real key ismaking the content interesting. Waiting your turnMontgomery Exhibitions' chairman Christopher Newtonspeaks to EWto discussjoint ventures and picking the right moment to expand into new markets.THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| January 2011|Christopher NewtonPolskie Zboza