Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2019 - Page 41

Roundtable Standing out Issues surrounding stand design exercised the EW-beMatrix Roundtable at Olympia London recently ntony Burton, the UK MD of stand design company beMatrix kicked off the panel discussion by identifying two key trend elements to the fore in exhibition stand design: “technology and sustainability”, with GES EMEA’s Marketing and Customer Experience Director Christine Martin adding that, “People are now using graphics and fabrics that are more sustainable”. That said, did our panel think we are a wasteful industry still? “We can only go as fast as our clients want to go,” said Martin. “On carpets, we’ve done a lot of work. But there’s still lots of areas to work on, and graphics is one of them.” Emma Cartmell, MD of CHS Group, organiser of the Conference & Hospitality Show in Leeds, spoke of a different carpeting experience: “It breaks my heart to spend £6k on a carpet that doesn’t get recycled. It is not just a question of what clients want, but of what is available.” She did, however, give a positive example: “One venue sponsored the carpet for my exhibition because it could be used afterwards by another customer.” Sustainability tended to cost the organiser, Cartmell noted. “Hotels will accept towel reuse because it saves them money, but they won’t necessarily put sustainable products in your attendees’ rooms!” she said. A recent EW news item on an environmental collaboration between the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Investing in African Mining Indaba tradeshow highlighted an initiative that had diverted 24,000kg of wood from landfill, and illustrates that gains of scale can be made. International organiser Clarion Events’ MD Duncan Reid pointed out that the tenancy model needed to change, as it tended to incentivise organisers to get out of the venue as quickly as possible at the cost of more sustainable practices. Mike Seaman, MD of UK-based organiser Raccoon Events added a graphic account: “What you see in the skip at the end of a lot w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk of shows is quite horrible.” Nevertheless, Reid thought tradeshows had moved on over the past 20 years - possibly less so in the US because the unions controlled much activity and pipe and drape was still entrenched in venues. “A big driver at Clarion,” he noted, “is the Net Promoter Score. People will keep coming back to events if it is a good experience. We do need to be communicating better as an industry, however. We do 300-plus tradeshows a year and sometimes I don’t know what is renewable and what’s not.” Dean Linehan of GES encouraged organisers to ask: “What we can do to make the stand experience more impactful?”. Martin reminded the Roundtable of “the reality of cost”, a point Reid took on and suggested that the industry, by introducing common regulations for the use of renewable materials, could help drive economies of scale. “We could set ourselves a target, say 2024, for not using vinyl anymore,” he suggested. Seaman agreed that the desire was there for action. “We all care about this. It is about getting some kind of industry standard.” Reid noted also that although ISO 2012 1 had come in, many didn’t really know what it entailed. “We need, rather, a simple list of five things we can do as an industry”. Emily Challis from organiser Fresh Montgomery gave the example of Millennial travellers driving demand for hotels that are sustainable. “That will come through in the exhibition industry, too, and impact stand design,” she said. beMatrix Sales Director Frederic Liebrecht said he thought exhibition stands were already 70% recyclable in some South East Asian countries. “I think they’re far ahead,” he said and pointed also to one German venue that claimed to be 100% sustainable. “They have a competitive advantage. If BMW wants to launch a car, they go there,” he said. Tuhin Quddus from Clarion Energy thought that the idea of group stands could be considered both in terms of look and value over shell scheme. He also called Issue 2 2019 41