UFI’s Industry Partners Benchmark Survey checks on services demand

The demand for digital services is highest among event organisers this year, found the second and latest Industry Partners Benchmark Survey released by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, while demand for services considered mandatory for running an event have experienced a steady decline in demand.

Developed by the UFI Industry Partners Working Group, the survey benchmarks and assesses the relationships between industry partners and suppliers and exhibition organisers and venues. It also identifies areas for improvement with regards to collaboration.

Demand for services of physical events has declined, with consultancy services seeing the widest slip

In analysing the demand for services of physical events, the survey finds that booth construction remains the most relied upon service (75% of respondents are continuing to use this service in 2021 versus 80% in 2020), alongside staff and security (75% in 2021 versus 79% in 2020).

Use of event technology and software has climbed from 66% in 2020 to 67% in 2021 – the only defined service that has seen greater usage this year among event organisers.

Consultancy services are among the least utilised services, and are experiencing a further steady decline in demand.

It is concluded that that demand for services considered mandatory for running an event have experienced a steady decline in demand.

Asia-Pacific respondents are relying more on event services than their European counterparts

The survey also discovers a growing demand for event services in Asia-Pacific, while that in Europe is declining.

In determining the impact of services on the success of events, the year-on-year change has been marginal but on the rise. Consultants are found to contribute the least impact on the success of events, while communication and marketing is regarded highly. The latter could be linked to the ability to track the success of marketing activities more effectively than other services, and are the biggest contributors to ensuring event participation.

Survey analysts suggest that consultants’ low perceived impact may be due to inconsistent quality of consultancy services across the industry. That said, there is a significant increase in the perceived value of consultants among pure venue owners, especially in countries in Asia-Pacific.

As the perceived impact of services on event success is relatively homogeneous, it is suggested that a successful event requires a wide array of services.

Findings also indicate that the demand for more innovation from service providers remains high. In rating service providers’ level of innovation, Asia-Pacific respondents gave event technology and software service providers an average satisfaction score of 3.6, with 5 indicating high satisfaction and 1 being low satisfaction. This is the highest score among all other services. Communications and marketing comes in second with an average satisfaction score of 3.5.

Event technology and software as well as communications and marketing service providers also scored highly with European respondents, at an average satisfaction score of 4 and 3.9 respectively.

“The results of our first survey showed in tangible terms the value organisers place on their suppliers and partners for the success of their events. Our second survey goes deeper and also demonstrates where the suppliers and partners relationship stands vis-à-vis the organisers for their recovery period events,” said Ravinder Sethi, chair of UFI’s Industry Partners Working Group.

Sebastian Witt, vice chair of UFI’s Industry Partners Working Group and who is responsible for the survey, said the findings provide “valuable insights for service providers in our industry”.

“We are happy to note that service providers are regarded as an integral part of the exhibition ecosystem and contribute tremendously to the success of our industry. Nonetheless, we observe that service quality is not consistent and demands from service providers are changing; service providers can and should invest more into innovation,” Witt added.

The survey was conducted at the start of 2021 with some 190 companies from around the world, with the majority based in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Complete findings of the second Industry Partners Benchmark Survey can be downloaded from the UFI website.

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