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Exhibitions and technology: a successful pair for business

The meeting industry is both social and digital: the technological advance does no compete with “face to face” meeting in the events; on the contrary, it is through an intelligent integration of both worlds that innovative experiences and better business results can be achieved.  
According to the Observatorio Económico de Turismo de Reuniones de la República Argentina (OETR Argentina), during 2018, 6,382 meetings were carried out in the country, among which they are included International Congresses and Conventions, Fairs and Exhibitions and Sports Events.

Only in the fair and exhibition segment, a total of 9,834,712 people visited them, including national and foreign tourists and local visitors, who spent during their stay an estimated total of Argentine pesos $24,877,314,939.  

The numbers show that, in spite of the digitalization advance, people still value the “face to face” interaction and see commercial exhibitions as part of this necessary “mix” between online and offline activity.  

The personal relationships are essential in this industry, but the technologies available to optimize business and the visitor's experience are also essential. For this reason, it is necessary to invest in innovation, before, during and after the exhibitions, in the relationship between exhibitors and visitors, but, mainly, to offer added value and specially consider the user’s experience.  

In this sense, Messe Frankfurt Argentina's President and CEO, Fernando Gorbarán, said that within the service package that includes booth hiring, the company offers tools for exhibitors to interact with visitors for a long time before the exhibition's date. “The aim is to give the exhibitor the possibility of generating a previous and progressive engagement with his/her customers, that it then leads to a concrete meeting or business within the exhibition", he explains.  

Among these tools he mentions customized materials as a micro website that allows to know who visited and registered in the event; digital invitations and animated banners for web and newsletters; diffusion in press media and social networks of the exhibition; logos, e-signatures, posters and images to share in the own company network; training videos, among others. “We wish companies to consider the exhibition as something more than a three or four days meeting. They obtain the greatest success when they integrate the event to their annual marketing plan, with specific actions during the previous and subsequent months of the exhibition”, ensures Gorbarán.    

In turn, the company is working worldwide in a project called “Messe Frankfurt Next” (MF Next). “The company is thinking in how events would be in 2030, where we are headed for. It is a long-term strategic program that seeks a better integration of data and information, processes and customers’ management. This includes the use of digitalization advantages in terms of platforms, data and knowledge, new products, formats and innovative services.”  

Technology is also at the service of “intelligence” in the fair business. “We implement digital marketing actions to strategically increase, through retargeting (digital marketing technique that is based in reimpacting with advertising users that have already interacted with the brand), the number of visitors to the exhibitions, achieving this last year a 45% growth in the people pre-registered to the events", says the executive.  

Through the BI (Business Intelligence) department, Messe Frankfurt Argentina analyzes a great number of data to get audience statistics and this way to know the reasons that lead the companies to exhibit and the visitors to attend the event. In this sense, Gorbarán states: “From the first day, our aim is to give the best experience to those who are part of our exhibitions, congresses and events. Technology and access to the information which we have available today allow us to know better our visitors and exhibitors, that have already overcome 5 million, and offer them a customized experience. We seek to innovate and be at the vanguard of the event industry."  

Digitalization is not a competition for the exhibition industry. The key is how the sector reacts and reinvents itself to improve the experience of the events. Technology is a tool that helps to reduce the gap between the issuer and the aimed audience to achieve better personal meetings, which will give as a result a business growth.

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