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THE BIG Issue 2 | 201233Is that not impossible?It is not about what's possible or impossible. It's more important that you realise what your playing fi eld is. We as exhibition organisers need to fi nd a transparent answer to that question. I see it more as a challenge - a logical consequence of the Internet, where clicks automatically lead to transparency. That is why, when looking at the Jaarbeurs venue, I said: 'You think you see square metres, but mostly, you see people'. People who already know a lot, who visit the exhibition with their iPhones at the ready. What is a visitor? Someone who has his badge scanned at a stand? Yes, of course. But it's also those people who walk past a stand, see that it's busy and who scan QR codes to get more information about a certain product.At Jaarbeurs, we have to be able to deliver that information to the exhibitor. I just want to say, we have to rethink the term 'visitor'. The media behaviour of our visitors is changing; there is so much information out there. In 2011, 48 hours of video content was uploaded to YouTube every minute. Information has also become much more accessible. iPhones and tablets are becoming more and more popular. This requires a new vision from us as exhibition organisers, with a bigger role for technology and data warehousing. At Jaarbeurs, we are setting up online platforms that we link to our physical platforms wherever possible, offering exhibitors a 365-day, 24/7 presence in the market. The physical and digital can only exist in combination with one another.The visitor no longer exists. We were used to putting them in target audience boxes, but that model is starting to wear off. We now almost have to personally invite potentially interested parties. This starts with profi ling and ends with linking visitors to the right exhibitors. We are getting better and better at that. Of course, the behaviour of visitors in specifi c situations is becoming more important. We have to trigger our visitors. Keywords for the future are: Relevance for the visitor, interaction, networking, experience and service. We don't compete with the Internet, the Internet offers us more opportunities than we can imagine.Are you envisioning a world with less need for physical venues? As a medium, we distinguish ourselves from the others because we offer the opportunity of physical meetings. I do see a trend where we set higher requirements with regard to exhibition venues. We you won't get fi red; you've shown guts. We praise guts and courage in our business culture and won't complain if people make a mistake.What did splitting Jaarbeurs into three businesses [see right-hand column] achieve?Focus. We realised that organising a trade show requires different skills than accommodating a trade show. Our people, spread out over these businesses, do what they're good at. Focus enables us to offer more quality and gives people the opportunity to excel. When we started 100 years ago we set up rows of sample rooms. We advertised all over the country with advertisements in newspapers and beautiful posters. Now, we're talking about return on investment, transparency, communication pressures and the Internet - where the idea of a target audience has been given a whole different meaning, and where communities share everything. The world requires specifi c expertise from our people. What emerging trends are you planning for?Throughout the organisation, we see our customers - from exhibitors to event organisers - demand return on investment. Companies no longer take part in a trade show simply because their colleagues do so. Everyone looks at what the investment in a trade show yields in terms of results. It is up to us, the entire industry, to show them what the ROI is. Technology is very important. Jaarbeurs offers exhibitors their own portal, which shows them instantly what ROI they can expect. They can benchmark their marketing efforts with the other exhibitors and we show them what the visitors' job functions are and how much these visitors are willing to spend or invest in the coming months.We now mostly work at a lead generation level. It would be great if, in the future, we could ask exhibitors how many customers they would like from each segment and we deliver them. We are already testing those types of models. Especially with our conference exhibitions, you can see that our success is measured by the number of decision makers we deliver for a seminar. We also offer several online trade shows and employ a lead generation model for these exhibitions as well.We enter into an agreement with exhibitors: Within a year, we will generate a certain number of customers. This requires a completely different way of thinking. Measuring results based on square metres is something completely different from measuring results based on the number of leads you generate.Jaarbeurs Holding's success is built around the separation of its business into three core companies.VNU Exhibitions EuropeThe largest exhibition organiser in the Netherlands with 60 trade show titles, including a permanent Trade Mart in the heart of the Netherlands.VNU Exhibitions Europe has two businesses in South East Asia: VNU Exhibitions Asia in Shanghai and VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacifi c in Bangkok. Jaarbeurs Utrecht Operator of the 240,000sqm Jaarbeurs Exhibition and Convention Centre. It is also a service provider to exhibitors. These vary from marketing advice to stand construction. The key term here is 'ontzorgen', which means 'making sure you don't have to worry about a thing'.Jaarbeurs Catering ServicesVenue caterer, restaurant operator and owner of a number of external party catering companies. Jaarbeurs Group also owns a business specialized in events, varying from business events to dance events. 100 YEARS BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

keep adding new functions to the Jaarbeurs venue. We are now in the fi nal stage of our construction planning for a large cinema, combined with a new entrance and a casino.Our guests have higher expectations and hospitality is a critical success factor. If people visit a show or conference, they want to feel welcome and the ambience has to be right. Our customers and exhibitors want to be able to show their hospitality. Conferences 'fall' our way because we can offer extraordinary accommodation for specifi c conferences. How you welcome guests also refl ects on you as a conference or exhibition organiser.Flexibility is becoming more important too. Venues have to be built in such a way that we can vary the size of halls and meeting rooms. This gives us optimum fl exibility for the use and grouping of spaces. In reality this is still quite complex, but in the events building of the future, you will be able to place walls in such a way that you can offer the right size for the right conference, meeting or trade show. Mark my words: This will be a success factor.But to return to Internet technology: We are looking into how we can offer our customers free Internet with unlimited speed in our venue. We need this speed to be able to combine physical and remote events. This requires a lot from your IT backbone, but it is where we're heading. As venue operators, we need to start thinking about this now.And be right in the heart of the action?Yes, that is where I would like to see Jaarbeurs. Proud and right where it happens. We started to promote trade 100 years ago. It's in our genes. The Dutch have always looked out to the world, we have earned a lot of our wealth by being outward-looking. It's been that way for centuries. An international standpoint and business instinct is what makes the Dutch tick and we are very internationally orientated. Look beyond your own borders, be curious about what is coming and make plans. That's what's important. And it brings us back to the beginning: It is fun if it's fun; it's more fun if you're successful, and it is really great if fun and success go hand-in-hand. THE BIG INTERVIEWWE PRAISE GUTS AND COURAGE IN OUR BUSINESS CULTURE AND WON'T COMPLAIN IF PEOPLE MAKE A MISTAKE