Exhibition News April 2019 - Page 50

The EN Pavilion at International Confex The EN Pavilion at International Confex 2019, which ran from 26-27 February, played host to a number of panel discussions. Below is a rundown of the topics covered by a collection of exhibition industry leaders this can also be a tactic to refresh an old event in need of a makeover – something he says Haymarket has been working on with its upcoming ‘Festival of Work’. He also warned, however, that this strategy shouldn’t be applied to every industry in the same manner. “I worked for many years in the mining, banking and finance industries, and I can’t imagine running a ‘Festival of Bonds’ or a ‘Festival of Infrastructure Finance’. Some industries are better suited to festivalisation than others – you need to know your audience,” he said. The Acquisition Checklist Words: Stuart Wood Festivalisation Confex kicked off at the EN Pavilion with a panel discussion about festivalisation. It featured Orson Francesone, director of events at Haymarket, Callum Gill, head of insight and innovation at drpg, Sophie Holt, global strategy director at Explori and Steve Scaffardi, event director at CloserStill Media. Gill began by suggesting the trend towards business events becoming more like festivals is primarily one of marketing: “The younger generations define their identity less so by products and more by experiences – what festivals have you gone to, what restaurants? These things then get organised, timestamped, and pushed out on social media. “Calling something the ‘Festival of X’ is a way of tapping into that desire for experiences – it’s an exercise in marketing.” Francesone commented that 50 — April The pavilion welcomed a panel discussion about acquisitions on the afternoon of day one. It featured David White, managing director at Clarion Events, Lee Newton, CEO of Media 10, Michael Westcott, head of M&A and executive director at CloserStill Media and Steve Monnington, owner of Mayfield Media strategies. The group discussed past and future trends for mergers & acquisitions in the exhibitions sector, and provided some insight from their own companies experience of acquiring. Monnington, who works as a broker between businesses for Mayfield, said he expected 2019 would see far less big acquisitions on the scale we saw in 2018. However, he felt that the general pattern of acquisitions would rise, with more numerous small companies selling and a large pool of buyers continuing to acquire. Westcott said that at CloserStill, the company’s aim was to turbocharge the growth of companies they bring under their wing, rather than overwriting their culture and practice. “We want Feature to keep them close to the markets they know,” he said. Westcott also highlighted the differences between B2B and B2C when it comes to acquisitions – B2C shows, he said, have a much smaller pool of buyers and are also much more unpredictable from show to show. All four speakers agreed that B2C shows need to be aimed at enthusiasts and superfans to be reliable – the people who will turn up to events like, say, Comic- Con, even in the pouring rain. Finally, the speakers all highlighted the importance of leaving room to grow when selling – companies “shouldn’t squeeze all the life out of the business in their sale proposition,” said Westcott. Crisis management On the morning of day two, a panel discussion about crisis management welcomed Ken Kelling, associate director at Davies Tanner, Mark Blair, divisional director at InEvexco, Kate Chambers, managing director at Clarion Gaming and Carlo Zoccali, head of venue sales at Farnborough International. Zoccali highlighted the importance of planning and preparation, saying that venues and organisers need to be in control of the narrative when something goes wrong at an event. He added: “We need to ensure we