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8.737.013.017.423.9? An exhibition organiser? A venue operator? A service provider (e.g. standbuilding, catering, promotion)? In a related organisation (e.g. association, media, government, university)? In another enterpriseThis fi rst part of the study describes the development of the industry based on the analysis of the experts' answers. Thought leadership and the digital revolution comprise the two core trends that will have to be supported by strong CRM systems and carefully selected partnerships. Only if exhibition companies are able to realise the thought leadership concept and manage to face and make use of the digital revolution, will they successfully overcome the current challenges and gain competitive advantage. The Delphi report dedicates 30 pages to a detailed description of these two core trends. It provides recommendations on how to handle the trends and turn those opportunities into strengths. The second part of the study takes the reader into the details of the different hypotheses and provides a close look at the perceptions and predictions of the experts consulted. This chapter is enriched with individual comments from the experts, providing their insight and various trains of thought. By looking at trade barriers and protectionism, budget and cost development, new media and technologies, the study addresses the issue of competition within the exhibition industry. Experts were asked which developments they consider most likely to happen and in which areas they would expect to see the most signifi cant change. The study takes a close look at eight different areas and gives insight into the developments of each one. One key area of focus for the UFI Delphi Study's panel of experts is social media. They were asked how they would rank the importance of social media for a variety of purposes. An example of their fi ndings can be seen left. While the study ultimately hopes to help organisers better plan for the future by providing opinion from thought leaders, their opinions are theirs alone. The key to our success as an industry is to use these views and establish our own plans as we head into the brave new world created by the global economic crisis. If you wish to contact UFI about the Delphi report, please contact Jörg Beier or Rowena Arzt at delphi@ufi .org. How to fi nd out moreThis is the fi rst time that a Delphi study of this kind is being done for the exhibition industry. UFI will provide an executive summary of the study at the UFI Congress in Valencia in November. Companies can order the study directly at the congress or via the UFI homepage.UFI members will be able to purchase the study at a reduced price. AcknowledgementsThe Steinbeis Transfer Centre Exhibition, Convention and Event Management at the State University Baden-Wuerttemberg, Ravensburg - Dr Jörg Beier). Special acknowledgement goes to the steering committee for setting up the study, providing their guidance to the development of the hypotheses and reviewing the initial results.WHITE PAPERIssue 8 | 2011 Very important ? Important ? Less important ? Not at all importantTo build excellent customer relationshipsThe right target group exhibitors and visitorsTo communicate in a low-cost wayTo get close to the customersTo recognise opportunities and risks earlyTo intensify salesTo offer customised products and servicesTo actively promote the companyTo improve customer satisfaction68.229.52.345.543.26.84.556.831.86.84.554.531.89.14.534.145.511.49.129.550.020.534.'S EXPERTS TALK SOCIAL MEDIAImagine the industry in 2020. Please rate the importance of social media (eg Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, OpenSocial) for the effi ciency of the following communication functions. Please select a number according to the following:The communication function of social media and Internet services will become:1: Very Important; 2: Important; 3: Less important; 4: Not at all important WHO ARE THE UFI DELPHI STUDY EXPERTS?As you can see below, much of the value of the Delphi report lies in the broad range of professional backgrounds that comprise the panel of experts.