Is the Exhibition Industry providing an outdated Customer Experience?

Google, amazon etc. are fast, convenient, personalised and secure. The exhibition industry tends to have slow websites, in average five times slower than a standard Google search, and rejoices when events successfully attract lots of visitors and has big queues while amazon has a shop where you can walk in, take whatever you want and walk out without ever being hampered by a cashier desk. Registering to an amazon account, for example, takes less than a minute. Registering as a visitor to an event sometimes takes 30 minutes, answering 15 or 20 seemingly useless questions. Some organisers are working on their interfaces, but very few really work on providing a significantly better customer experience.


At the last UFI European Conference 2018 in Verona, Italy, Gunnar Heinrich (CEO adventics & Scan2Lead) again held a session about “Digital Transformation” with his colleagues from the Digital Innovation Committee Stephan Forseilles (easyfairs) and Matthias Tesi Baur (MBB-Media). The panel asked the audience, composed of event organisers, venue operators, associations and service providers, to participate and give their opinion in real-time using a polling system.


It could not be more obvious than that the UFI members and attendees in the room agreed with the fact that the exhibition industry is providing an outdated customer experience. But then, why do not things change? Why does everyone stick to their old ways, putting “doing business as usual” before customer experience? As the feedback shows, it is a mix of habit, fear and lack of communication.

Habit because “We’ve been doing it this way since twenty years!” is one of the most common rebuttals received by those who want to improve the life of the attendees. Quickly followed by the “If we change this or that, my event might not be a success” excuse, the ‘fear’ aspect of it. And lack of communication when they realise that, for example, the event manager thinks marketing does not want to shorten the registration questionnaire, that marketing thinks the top management absolutely want the data and that top management is persuaded that the event manager has a good reason to have such a painful registration.


This article is based on Stephan Forseilles’ post “As event organisers in the 4th industrial age, we are providing an outdated customer experience…” in the UFI Digital Innovation Group on LinkedIn. Keep in touch and stay updated on digital innovations in the exhibition industry.

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Munich, 16 July 2018, © adventics GmbH