Exhibitions are enjoying a sharp surge in popularity as an arena for professional development, for keeping up-to-date, for experiences and for entertainment.
After years of stagnation and some decline, both trade fairs and consumer exhibitions have bounced back strongly over the past year.
Einar Kvalheim, our director of projects, believes that the trend has changed in a positive direction, and that the most effective prescription has been purposeful renewal and intelligent use of digital media.
Clearer products with fun
Consumer shows have become more segmented, and are focused on clearer and better-defined target audiences than before. This product has also been strengthened by an emphasis on activities, experiences and entertainment in the exhibition setting. That has appealed to visitors.
Content the key
According to Kvalheim, the most important reason for the upswing has been a greater concentration on professional content at trade fairs. That has meant a larger number of more relevant seminars with high-profile and reputable speakers.
At the same time, exhibitors have become better at adapting to visitor expectations by focusing less on direct sales and more on building brands and relationships, promoting their business and building value.
Like Facebook, but LIVE
“Exhibitions are ‘Facebook Live’,” says Kvalheim. If you want to mix with friends, acquaintances and people with similar interests in the real world, this is the place to do it.
“Touching, feeling, seeing, smelling and hearing physical objects are unlikely ever to be replaced by a flat panel display,” Kvalheim says, and is optimistic about the future of exhibitions.
Positive all the way
We have staged almost a dozen exhibitions over the past six months in very different areas, from gifts and interiors to Nor-Shipping, the Norwegian Building Exhibition, Caravan and the Oslo Motor Show.
However, one thing all these shows have had in common is a larger number of more satisfied exhibitors and visitors.
The Norwegian Building Exhibition (Bygg Reis Deg), for instance, saw visitor numbers rise by 28 per cent from the previous show, from 36 000 to roughly 50 000.
And the Oslo Motor Show attracted 21.3 per cent more people than the year before. The satisfaction rating of this show went up from 4.83 to 4.99 – a formidable increase.
Another trend is the death of the exhibition as a generalised collection of “odds and ends”. The cry now is “long live the tailored show”.
That has meant a shift towards more, smaller and more clearly defined exhibitions. But it could well be the case that some of these shows complement each other, and can therefore be staged at the same time and place.
Kvalheim maintains that part of the reason exhibitions fell out of favour until recently was that their organisers were not quick enough to adapt to the arrival of the new digital channels.
We now market ourselves and our events through all relevant channels, and are seeing good results from this commitment.
To learn more about our activities or to get into conversation with us, contact Einar Kvalheim, our director of projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org