MICE industry has to hasten digital transformation for future events

Rankine: organisations needs to be digitally-led

The business events industry is still playing catch up with digital transformation, which has become a requisite for event organisers as countries around the world open.

AMR International’s executive chair Denzil Rankine said at the Asian MICE Forum that in 2019, the industry was 98 per cent analogue and two per cent digital. This meant that when the pandemic swept through the globe, it was a “major shock”, as many were not “prepared for a major change” in having to “deliver services digitally.”

Rankine: organisations needs to be digitally-led

And when the industry had to pivot quickly to digital formats during the pandemic, some virtual tradeshows were less than satisfactory, disappointing both exhibitors or sponsors.

Moving forward, Rankine pointed out that tradeshows and exhibitions will remain the highlight of any industry calendar. He further emphasised the need to use to ensure events are digitally ready, not just with the right apps, but also being able to use the data to better understand visitors’ needs and connect them with the right exhibitors.

Many transactions in the US$29 billion tradeshow industry – according to the Globex annual survey in 2019 – revolve around digital transformation, which has seen a strong annual growth of around five per cent, with an attractive profit level of 30 per cent for large organisers, and 20 per cent for small organisers.

Even before the pandemic, there was already a “low level of customer satisfaction”, Rankine said. He advised events organisers to be “consumer-centric” and be “more focused on understanding and satisfying customer needs”.

Regardless, Rankine remains optimistic that the business events industry will continue to grow post pandemic.

“Organisations that make substantial changes in the way they provide services… will (be able) to take quite a substantial share,” he concluded.

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