UFI in Verona: Making fairs future-proof

More than 200 trade fair professionals are to meet at the European Conference of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) from 2 to 4 May. Registrations have been open since February. 

Long event tradition: Verona Arena amphitheatre is older than Rome’s Colosseum. (Photo: Veronafiere)
Long event tradition: Verona Arena amphitheatre is older than Rome’s Colosseum. (Photo: Veronafiere)

In beautiful Verona delegates will discuss how exhibition organisers can make their events future-proof. This appears to be necessary, even vital as the exhibition industry’s landscape is shifting. Traditional trade shows have become exhibitions. In recent years they have even added conference and digital elements to serve their customers' expanding and changing needs. In parallel, driven by the need of digital communities to meet face to face, hybrid formats have evolved. The UFI conference wants to respond to this with content, networking, and experiences. “We will once again bring together a great group of speakers,” promises UFI’s managing director Kai Hattendorf. “They will cover strategies as well as operational takeaways.” 

The meeting of industry leaders will focus on changing event formats and the ongoing consolidation trend within the industry. The programme will provide a mix of presentations and panels, together with “deep dive” sessions where participants can explore issues in greater detail in smaller groups. The speakers in Verona will include Terri Toennies, general manager of the LA Auto Show. And Chris Skeith, CEO of the AEO association (UK) will also be coming. Richard West, director of security of the listed media company Ascential, is another speaker from the UK. He will join a panel discussion that focuses on security questions at venues and events including cyber security.

Hosts: Maurizio Danese, president of Veronafiere (l.), and UFI managing director Kai Hattendorf. (Photo: UFI)
Hosts: Maurizio Danese, president of Veronafiere (l.), and UFI managing director Kai Hattendorf. (Photo: UFI)

“Digital disruption” will again be an important topic. Experts from UFI's Digital Innovation Committee will come together for a “session” for this purpose: Matthias Tesi Baur of MBB Media (UK), Stephan Forseilles, Chief Technology Officer of Easyfairs (Belgium), and Gunnar Heinrich of Adventics (Germany). They will provide delegates with an update on what is going on and what we can expect from the next waves of digital developments. Francis Friedman, President of Time & Place Strategies (USA) will close the conference and invite participants to make sure their events are ready for the future and how they can remain relevant, competitive and financially successful in the digital age. 

Apart from the professional programme and various receptions for networking the old adage goes: “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” Throughout the 2018 conference there will therefore be various sporting activities, which the international exhibition professionals can join. 

The 2018 UFI European Conference will coincide with the 120th anniversary of the host Veronafiere. For its president Maurizio Danese hosting the international conference is a sign of appreciation of his company’s decades-long membership: The North Italian fair company has already been a member of the global exhibition association since 1932. In other words, Veronafiere joined only seven years after UFI was founded. (www.ufi.org).

Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 1/2018

 
 

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