Trends to watch

Sector specialists shares with TTGmice what they are keeping their eye on in 2020

Akshay Kapoor
Senior director, multinational customer group, Asia Pacific, CWT

What is trending?
To win the talent war, organisations recognise the need to provide a holistic employee experience. Business travel contributes to employee satisfaction and productivity, leading to a higher overall return on investment for the company.

Business travel programmes have become more focused, and many are also seeking sustainability and reporting requirements from suppliers.

How will these trends impact the way suppliers and buyers work?
Low margins in the airline and hospitality industry, and antiquated systems have led to a need for evolution in distribution and content. For business travel, increased complexity with private channel content creates a need for buyers and suppliers to work closely across the value chain to provide a highly customised experience for the traveller while creating an efficient shopping experience.

We are seeing increased consolidation across the supply chain. With travel buyers becoming more cautious, suppliers are expected to see pricing and cost becoming a bigger priority in buying decisions.

Milton Rivera
Vice president, global business development & strategy, American Express Global Business Travel

What is trending?
Attendee experience continues to be a focus across the globe (and) face-to-face meetings continue to be a defining feature of activity in Asia-Pacific, with 13 per cent of meeting planners reporting they do not use any virtual or hybrid meetings.

Sustainability is a key area of focus. Also, as companies are highly aware of managing their corporate reputation, compliance continues to be a recurring theme in countries across the region.

How will these trends impact the way suppliers and buyers work?
With the focus on attendee experience and making personal connections a priority in the region, planners and travel buyers will have to find smarter solutions to deliver memorable events.

That may translate into decisions about different destination and/or the style of the event being delivered; smarter supplier sourcing like finding the right suppliers who share the values of the organisation; while delivering cost efficiencies without sacrificing the quality and experience of the event.

Kai Hattendorf
Managing director and CEO, UFI

What is trending?
The exhibitions industry continues to grow faster than the world economy. However, growth has slowed as trade barriers have gone up. This has led to growth in new markets, with a number of Asian markets benefitting.

Overall, Asia is the fastest-growing region with regards to exhibitions. While mergers and acquisitions will continue in our industry, many leaders are now focusing on customer experience and customer-centricity, leading to an ongoing evolution of the traditional tradeshow business model.

What factors are driving these trends?
Trade barriers and tariffs impact the way the world economy works. Millennials entering the boardrooms are influencing the ways marketing investments are viewed and prioritised.

The key for exhibition organisers here is to maintain – or regain – trust in their shows by being transparent about the values and ROIs that they offer. With more and more private equity investments coming into our industry, the current focus on “getting things right” is undoubtedly here to stay.

How will these trends impact the way suppliers and buyers work?
Nothing will replace the value of face-to-face meetings and interactions. But UFI research, drawn on the global input from more than 13,000 tradeshow visitors, shows that suppliers are expected to provide more than just the trade and the conversation at their booth.
The “confex” and “festivalisation” trend means that exhibitions are also expected to (provide) a memorable experience.

Octavio B Peralta
President, Asia-Pacific Federation
of Association Organisations

What is trending?
I see three cross-cutting themes trending in the association congress space.

They are: more experiential events, developing meaningful connections, and providing sustainability, which are largely driven by technological innovation, purposeful creativity, and social responsibility, respectively.

It is about return on experience – ROE – and not only about ROI. It is not only about networking, but of connecting people for a purpose and in memorable settings. It is about being mindful about doing events that contribute to the destination’s environmental, social and economic well-being.

How will these trends impact the way suppliers and buyers work?
More than ever, I think association buyers and suppliers need to “converge and immerse” themselves into these trends and work closely together for greater impact. Association buyers have to spell out clearly in their RFPs, what their expectations are, for example, of a green event, so suppliers can also make suggestions in terms of say, energy-efficient transportation options, farm-to-table dining choices, or reusable event materials, among others.

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