The model is changing: meet Exhibitions 2:0

The annual SASiE report for 2017 events has just been released. Essential reading for anyone working in the events industry, the report provides insights into the scale and characteristics of the UK exhibitions market. 

Find out what it means for the industry according to Nick Marshall, GES EMEA Executive Chairman.


The model is changing: meet Exhibitions 2:0

On the face of it, the latest SASiE Report makes for sober reading.

The trend analysis suggests the UK exhibition market is essentially flat with little discernible growth in either number of exhibitions, number of exhibitors or number of visitors since 2015. 

All a bit depressing? Not so.

The level of corporate activity over the past 12 months has been phenomenal. The UK has been leading the way with Informa, UBM Clarion, ITE, and Ascential all being parts of major transactions.  As predicted by Phil Soar in last year’s SASiE report, globalisation and consolidation continues apace.

What does this mean for the UK service contractor? Life is becoming ever more challenging as clients seek global supply partners who can drive ever improving levels of service, whilst helping them to deliver synergy savings in line with aggressive business plans.

I am still very positive about the UK event industry.  As content becomes ever more important, the ‘conference-with-exhibition’ segment has shown significant growth. This is consistent with our experience at GES where an increasing portion of our business is serving ‘hybrid’ events – heavily content driven and focused on audience quality over quantity. 

It’s one of the reasons we went on the acquisition trail ourselves – investing in market-leading AV and next generation engagement technology to serve the changing needs and requirements of our customers.

Kevin Costner’s old adage ‘if you build it they will come’ is no longer viable in the modern event world and probably never was. Time poor consumers and business execs crave face-to-face interaction but they are becomingly increasingly demanding about what they want in exchange for their undivided attention - they need an irresistible proposition.

Many organisers have spotted the potential for growth in visitor/delegate revenue and are investing in content, community and customer experiences that create value and brand loyalty. The ‘three-legged stool’ is an attractive model to investors and shareholders alike. Events where exhibitor, sponsor and delegate revenues all contribute, are the Holy Grail – and make a stable and sustainable business proposition.

So the models may be changing and evolving- away from chasing big headline numbers for a more considered and more profitable revenue mix. The exhibition is still a vital, dynamic marketplace – highly prized by marketers and business leaders as a marketplace for ideas as much as products and services.

Download the full report at (free for ESSA, AEO and AEV members).

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