The ASAE Foundation, Exhibition Industry Foundation, Freeman, Gaylord Entertainment and the PCMA Education Foundation recently completed research about the future of convention exhibits and tradeshows. They gathered data from a variety of forums including LinkedIn discussion groups, PCMA Leader Summits in Toronto and Nashville and the PCMA Master Series where they interviewed over 300 industry professionals about what they predict the tradeshow arena will look like in 2016. 

Scenarios for the Future: Convention Exhibits & Tradeshows of 2016 is the 36-page report consolidating their findings. Below, is a summary of three of the major takeaways and my thoughts on how interactive technology tool rentals can play a part in this process. 

  1. Stay on Digital Alert and Implement Technology

The event team needs to be early adapters to technology, be aware of changes taking place in their exhibitors space and be ready to defend their event or increase their competitive posture with said technology. 

THOUGHTS: It is hard to say what new gadgets will be available in three years and how they will alter the exhibitor floor, but the point is trade shows are going to have to constantly evolve through technological offerings. It will no longer be an option to say "no thanks" or "not this year" to the technology that attendees want. You must have it or they will stay home. 

  1. Data, Data, Data. 

"Big Data" as marketing researchers call it, will help guide the successful design and execution of an event — for exhibitors, attendees and organizers. Having a way to collect, analyze and respond to the data will need to happen at the event to make real-time changes. 

THOUGHTS: Because there is so much data available at our fingertips now, it is easy to imagine that event organizers will have much more powerful mobile devices with apps to give instantness trending and prediction markets. This data should shape the planning and implementation of trade shows thus making the process attendee driven and very fluid. 

  1. Determine What You Need and Plan for it. 

    In 2016, event planners and exhibitors will complete a capabilities audit to determine if they have the resources and expertise in-house or they need to outsource it. If a decision is made to outsource, the vendors will need to be trustworthy and be able to respond to event needs in a fast and efficient manner. 

THOUGHTS: Now is the time for event planners to build relationships and trust with their suppliers, including conference equipment rental organizations. Finding suppliers that are going to be around in the long-haul and ones that can provide solutions in a fast and efficient manner will be important for trade show success. 

​Deborah Sexton, President and CEO of PCMA sums up these findings in the following way, " The convention exhibits and tradeshows professional needs new options versus the current model. So the goal of this investigation was to…envision what the future may look like and provide some guidance for discussions and actions that can happen to help our industry position (itself) for success." 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rental family, can provide you with great meeting equipment with competitive pricing and will be here to work with you through 2016! Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to speak with one of their Account Executives!