The data and analytics challenge for exhibition organisers

In our previous insight we spoke about the role and value of technology in events. Data collected on event participants should be amongst an organisers’ most important assets, but exhibition organisers face real challenges in unlocking the power of data

The event technology vendor landscape is well populated and fragmented: organisers go to one vendor for registration, another for event apps and others besides for their audio visual requirements and social media integration.

Fragmented supply means that data can be isolated in one system. An extra step is required of organisers to not only take in data, but to structure and merge it into a single database for insight extraction. How are they to take an attendees’ registration profile, match it to their activity on the event app, and then to their post-show feedback? The onus is on the organiser because the technology vendors each only own a piece of the data-pie.

Event technology fragmentation also has other downsides for exhibition organisers. Supplier management is cumbersome, and ensuring a consistent and seamless customer experience is difficult. Organisers are passing their customers from one registration tool, to a different hotel booking tool, to a different app etc.

Exhibition organisers should observe the corporate events market. This market is more mature in its usage of technology. Vendors such as Cvent and eTouches have broader propositions – covering registration, event management and event applications for example. The industry is also served by full service agencies, who act as integrators of services and technologies right through from event strategy and planning to creative and production.

So how will the exhibition technology landscape rationalise:

  • Will we see the emergence of end-to-end vendors, and who will the consolidators be?
  • Or might we see a connected ecosystem evolve, where technologies remain separately owned but integrated via APIs?
  • To what extent will organisers acquire or develop their own technology and data suites?

AMR expects to see accelerated acquisition activity as suppliers seek to expand the range of technologies and services offered to organisers, and as non-tech exhibition service providers such as GES enter the market. 

Meanwhile organisers’ internal competence pool and organisational structure need to evolve to drive and reap the benefits of the data (r)evolution. Data strategy and insight-extraction tools need to cut transversally across the organisation and advanced analytical competencies are required – none of which typically exist in organisers’ DNA. Therein lies the real challenge for exhibition organisers.

AMR works with business leaders in the exhibitions and events sectors to define and implement their data strategy.

For more information please contact

Florent Jarry

Head of Global Events Practice