TRADE SHOW SURVEY RESULTS Please find attached the report for the surveys that ACETA recently ran about the Australian trade shows. As you can see, there are many common themes between delegates and exhibitors. And if one thing comes through loud and clear it is that the current trade show schedule is unsustainable. The competing shows are failing to meet the needs of their customers. Exhibitors are failing to see sufficient delegates at each show and delegates are failing to see sufficient exhibitors at each show to make it satisfying, relevant and worth the cost. That’s no surprise, of course, but what is the surprise is the depth to which the dissatisfaction now exists. 57% of exhibitors and 44% of delegates say their satisfaction with the shows has fallen over the past few years. A show organiser would or should find that alarming. Without wishing to sound patronising, delivering up something that the customer wants and needs is the first rule of commerce. Australia is one of the smallest markets in the world, but we seem to pay more than any other in exhibiting costs, with further high on costs for such items as food and beverage which when coupled with the small attendance results the cost per attendee being the highest in the world Having said this, all shows have their loyal supporters, some shows have stronger support than others, but no one has enough core support for a bright and worry‐free future. The survey shows us that many exhibitors are now saying that they have been forced to the point where they will choose which shows to attend. Or we will attend up to three but with a much smaller stand at each. Neither of those outcomes will work for visitors. They are saying they want to see all the companies in one place at one time. Many are frustrated by the cost of attending three shows, which is not surprising when 46% say they pay from their own pockets to attend.
2 This puts each show on notice that they’re current business model isn’t sustainable. Trade show organisers need to understand that the industry is their client. If they are not able to serve the industry, and the industry as a whole, then they are failing. An environment where the only satisfied participants are the show organisers is not a healthy one. And perhaps of most concern is the thought that for the cost of attending three shows, let alone five, an attendee could go to PLASA, InfoComm or Messe ProLight and Sound and get a very exciting experience, talking directly with the brand owners and designers, and seeing the products long before they hit our shores.
ACETA’s position: What other industry has such a crowded trade show calendar, full of competing interests and competing shows all scheduled within a few short weeks.? It’s important to recognise that this not an industry with deep pockets and few companies have the marketing budgets to attend three shows (SMPTE, ENTECH, Integrate), never mind five (add in AMAC, CEDIA). And that this is a challenging time for wholesalers, which are a significant percent of the exhibitors, as they find their place in the new internet world. ACETA is not in the business of picking winners. We are in the business of advocating on behalf of our members. And our members and the wider industry have said loud and clear that they want one industry event, in one place, at one time. 92% of exhibitors (who said they want a broad‐based event that attracts as wide a range of users as possible), comments from delegates and the rest of the survey data supports this view. To this end, ACETA is arguing for co‐location of as any many shows as possible, covering as many sectors as possible at each co‐location. Because the five shows are run by five different organisations all with their specific support we would not suggest merging of the shows but we strongly argue that for a sustainable future they have no option but to co‐locate. Co‐location provides a number of benefits: reduced overall marketing budgets, more buying power with the venues, more attractive to visitors, and by sharing space the shows can grow in smaller blocks than a whole hall at once and, most importantly, meet delegate needs.
What might co‐location look like? SMPTE and ENTECH already co‐locate every second year and have announced they will do so again in 2013 at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, and ACETA applauds this. Why couldn’t one more show join them there? This could then be have an over‐arching brand such as Australian Entertainment Technology Week, and then each of the shows sits under that, with their own separate branding and imagery. The survey results suggest this would be biennial in Sydney.
What is ACETA doing? In the last few days ACETA has met with the organisers of each of the three key shows ‐ ETF (ENTECH), Diversified (Integrate) and SMPTE/Expertise Events to show them the survey results and discuss the issues. We have put it to them, based on the survey results, that this industry can not continue to service the current crowded show calendar and we have asked them to come back to us early in the new year with their thoughts and proposals for how they intend to listen and partner in resolving these issues. That will be the acid test. The industry can’t continue to feel as though it’s being taken for granted as a money‐making opportunity for show organisers. It is clear the industry is concerned about the trade show calendar and in many cases has strong opinions. We welcome your questions and comments so please feel free to email me on email@example.com or phone on 03 9379 1511. Yours sincerely
Frank Hinton President, ACETA 1 December 2012