Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah, was speaking ahead of the UFI Open Seminar in the Middle East, where he will be a panelist on an international discussion on changes in client expectations.
“While the MICE industry is growing by leaps and bounds in the region and the support for face-to-face marketing remains strong, our clients’ expectations are changing. Today, technology allows them to do things online that they used to do at exhibitions while their expectations of measurability are sky-rocketing both online and in other media,” said Mr. Midfa.
The UFI Open Seminar in the Middle East will be held in Muscat, Oman, from March 24-26, 2013, under the theme ‘Getting ready for future exhibition industry challenges’.
“At the discussion, we will look at how to re-engineer our events to meet these changing expectations and what are the opportunities and risks for exhibition organisers as we explore the interaction between digital and face-to-face,” said Mr. Midfa.
Apart from Mr. Midfa, Mr. Kai Hattendorf, Vice-President, Corporate Communications, Messe Frankfurt, Germany; and Ms. Nichapa Yoswee, Director, MICE Capabilities Development, TCEB, Thailand; will take part in the discussion, which will be moderated by Mr. Paul Woodward, Managing Director, UFI, France.
“In the GCC and across the world, we need to be early adapters of technology, be aware of changes taking place in the exhibitors’ space and increase our competitive posture vis-à-vis new technology,” said Mr. Midfa.
However, Mr. Midfa added, “Despite the use of technology, in the end, emotion will play the strongest role to influence a decision to buy and electronic communication alone falls short when it comes to creating emotion.”
Mr. Jochen Witt, CEO, JWC, Cologne, Germany, will also take a look ahead and review future challenges and opportunities for the market participants in his talk under the theme ‘The GCC exhibition market and future challenges’, while Mr. Kai Hattendorf will speak on ‘Management and control of corporate social media output and interaction’.
UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is the association of trade show organisers, fairground owners, national and international associations of the exhibition industry, and its partners. As of 2012, it has more than 600 members from 85 countries.
It regularly holds workshops and seminars that help its members take stock of the current ground realities and prepare them for future challenges. Expo Centre Sharjah became a member of UFI in 2009.
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