Some are afraid this could happen because, in a digital world, matchmaking happens 365 days a year across numerous media, social networks and mobile apps, not just during a trade show period. Companies look for more flexible ways to showcase their products and the next generation will look for infotainment formats that traditional organisers struggle to provide.
On the other hand, it was argued that the business model in itself might not be interesting enough for external investors. “We see a lot of sharks coming up in our pond who want to monetise on data we are just unable to handle ourselves. As barriers to entry remains high and assets remain in the hand of the existing operators, the danger is not too close…” As long as they manage the Digital Transformation themselves and do not resist to the change their customers expect to happen!
The trade show executives present in the room tended to agree. A majority of them think the exhibition industry should not fear the rise of new formats and operators. They think the industry as a whole is already doing a good job in terms of improving the customer experience and providing modern tools and format to attendees and organisers.
So, fear is not creeping in the minds of the leaders of the exhibition industry. However, they remain aware that the status quo is not an option and that they must aim to provide a service on par with what the amazon, Apple, AirBnB and Uber of this world have been providing for years.