Issues and trend sin the Exhibitions industry and in the meetings industry


                          The exhibitions and meetings industries have become one of the most profit making and serious industries in the corporate world toady - Issues and trend sin the Exhibitions industry and in the meetings industry introduction. This is indicated by the fact that profits are constantly growing in these two industries annually and many players have discovered the secrets behind the trade. These positive outcomes have been brought about by different reasons. For instance, transportation infrastructures in the US have encouraged convenience for a large number of people from other parts of the world and also within the US. Additionally, the country has numerous financial and business institutions that allow oversees players to conduct meetings and exhibitions within the US. (Walsh, 2007)

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                        Furthermore, the country has a good record of trade exhibitions and meetings thus encouraging a high influx of consumers here. The good telecommunications network within the country also backs this. The country has so many venues for conducting exhibitions and meetings that some consumers are spoilt for choice. All in all, this has made the country very appealing to the public in terms of these two industries. However, there are certain threats and challenges encountered in both. The issues and trends in both industries shall be examined below

Trends and issues that both the exhibitions and meetings industries share

                        Both industries share the fact that their consumers may emanate from the local scene or they maybe international. The current trend in the industry is attracting as many international exhibitionists as possible as these kinds of conferences give businesses the chance to expose their services to other consumers of the world that had not been reached previously. On top of that, such clientele bring in foreign exchange currency within the country. International conferences are particularly common place within the country especially for international organizations such as the UN. The latter apply to the meetings industry. On the other hand, the exhibition industry also hosts a wide range of international consumers. For instance, there may be organizations, groups or individuals who want to display their goods from a wide range of countries. The latter has been catapulted by rising use of information technology and the concept of globalization. Both the meetings and exhibitions industry have grown as a result of increased marketability caused by a highly informed public. (Baumol, William and Alan, 2006)

                        Both the exhibitions and meetings industry make significant contributions to the tourism industry. The current observation in that industry today is the fact that the number of conferences and exhibitions contributing towards the economy has significantly increased. The meetings industry usually makes direct contributions to this given the fact that most meetings usually host tourists and other foreign participants. A large number of countries in the meetings industries attend meetings for leisure alone. The exhibitions industry also contributes to the tourism industry indirectly. When exhibitions are international in nature, then participants may take some time off their exhibitions to tour around the respective city or town hosting that particular exhibition. This causes an increasing number of foreign exchange currency in the country.

                        Additionally, some exhibitions may be conducted for purposes linked directly to the tourism industry. For instance, if an exhibition displays the available hotels, restaurants and other hospitality facilities in the country, then chances are that it will promote the industry directly. It should also be noted that the revenue generated from exhibitions is much higher than revenue generated from direct tourism. This could be as a result of the high purchasing power that exhibition participants have. For instance, one might find that an ordinary tourist who attends meetings within the country can spend on average eight hundred dollars. On the other hand, a foreigner who enters the country for purposes of attending an exhibition will spend anywhere between three thousand to one thousand nine hundred dollars. Additionally, the number of days that exhibitors spend in the country have increased and superseded the number of days that meeting attendants such as tourist spend within the country. As of 2005, it was found that exhibitors spend an average of one week within the country while tourists and other types of visitors spent four days within the country. (Joseph, 1999)

                        Both the exhibition and meetings industry have to tackle the problem of excess or fewer attendants. When an individual organizes a conference, they would usually prepare the amount of seating space on the basis of past experiences. But if those participants have never had another meeting before, then they would just have to depend on their instincts to predict potential turnout. Similarly, an exhibition organizer also needs to prepare floor space for potential attendees. Those organizers who have been conducting exhibitions for long periods of time also have to deal with the fact that not all the companies invited will attend. Usually, exhibitionists will have to analyze trends within the industry to come up with success rates. Again, this largely depend son the nature of industry that that exhibition falls and the reason why the exhibition was held in the first place.

                        There is a common trend between the two types of industries in terms of conducting mega events. The exhibition industry is now shifting towards larger events with higher numbers of attendants. Businesses that conduct mega events usually indicate to their competitors that they have greater resources and expertise to hold such events thus building a name for themselves. On top of that, mega exhibitions also attract greater returns to both the participants and the exhibition organizers since more floor space is required and more money has to be spent to coordinate the meeting. Similarly, the meetings industry is also moving towards such a trend because most of them have realized that there are greater profits for event holders is their meetings have large sizes.

                        Another trend that is common between both the meetings and exhibitions industry is the pursuance of a theme. Most exhibitions and meetings are now centered around a particular theme. For instance, one can find that a conference is about manufacturing technologies, consumer goods or something to that effect. Exhibitions are also organized around that specialty, for instance, one might find that a particular event is organized around the nature of a particular commodity such as computer items. The main advantage of operating under a theme is the fact that that one can target a specific audience. This means that Exhibitionists and conference/meeting holders will get a chance of attracting only those people who will purchase a certain product. The overall result of this is that groups become more clearly defined. (Mishkin, 1995)

Additionally, it gives businesses room to filter all the buyers who will not be interested in a particular commodity. However, there is risk in pursuing such a line of businesses because sometimes going after a certain themes may make a target group so small that they may not have the ability to be commercially viable. Additionally, experts have asserted that making event specialized on one theme is more dangerous than offering mega events. This is because mega events generate lots of traffic and attendants who may have come for one particular service or product may be attracted to another type of product. However, others have offered a solution towards this problem; they have claimed that it is possible to solve the problems by combining a range of themes that are related to one another. The following are examples of exhibitions that may be conducted all under on roof;

Wines and Spirits in the US
Bakeries in the US
Service Technologies in the US
Food Services in the US
Hotels US
The issue of company specialization has also become quite common among both types of industries. The latter two industries have adopted this trend. In the meetings industries, suppliers realize that there is a lot of competition among players; therefore to cope with market saturation, companies have perfected meetings or conferences in certain service lines. This gives them an edge over their competitors and also boosts their business. The latter may also be said of the exhibitions industry. There are so many alternatives for those who would want go hold meetings. Therefore marketing oneself as an expert in a certain field would make one gain favor over others within the industry. (Walsh, 2007)

                        Both the meetings and exhibition industries have been characterized by joint ventures and strategic alliances. In this regard, both industries have been driven towards this trend because of the following features

Technology proliferation
Availability of equipment
The tendency to move towards such kinds of alliances is because foreign firms have entered both into the exhibition and meetings industry. The latter two industries have moved towards this rend because both of them need to take advantage of the fact that there re rising cases of international participants.

                        The last trend between the two types of industries is the fact that some of them have started adopting the issue of co-location. Here, a meeting that was supposed to focus on painting and coating is placed in the same city as the coil and spring meeting. Also exhibitions are also doing the same by placing similar themes within these same location.

Trends and issues that are unique to either the exhibitions industry or meetings industry

                      The reason for participating in exhibitions and meetings are significantly different. Most suppliers may decide to exhibit their products and services in order to market them. It should be noted that exhibitions may not necessarily yield immediate results. However, they give suppliers a chance to publicize their businesses for future reference. On the other hand, meetings are usually conducted to arrive at some form of consensus. Most participants in meetings and conferences usually look for immediate solutions to their problems. If a company is trying to sell their ides to another, they usually expect that those meetings will yield positive and immediate results thereafter. (Joseph, 1999)

                        The exhibition industry also differs adversely from the meetings industry due to the fact that in the exhibition industry, it is possible for one to study competitor’s strengths, weaknesses and products. This is not possible in the meetings industry because most of the time, the people who participate in meetings are those ones who are on the same side. Therefore, on the spot analysis of what other players in the industry are offering cannot be carried out in meetings.

                        Another major difference between participants within exhibitions and those in the meetings industry is the fact that most participants in the meetings industry may not benefit the hospitality industry as much as those in the exhibitions industry. Participants in exhibitions are usually high-income individuals and most of them may come with their families in order to enjoy a short vacation thereafter. Consequently, ninety percent of the participants in exhibitions sleep eat and generally conduct all their affairs in hotels. On the other hand, participants in meetings may not necessarily come from high-income families. This means that most of them may not sleep in well-to-do hotels and they may not contribute greatly towards that industry.

                        The exhibition industry differs from the meeting industry in terms of the lead times. This is the time it takes for an organizer to set up a meeting or exhibition after notification by the organizer. In meetings, lead times are quite short while in exhibitions usually take longer. The reason for these differences can be summarized as follows; Exhibition spaces are usually taken up during certain times of the year given the fact that there are peak seasons and off peak seasons. While the latter issue may exist in certain meetings areas, most meetings take place all year long. Consequently, Exhibitioners need to book spaces over a long period of time. (Joseph, 1999)

                        Another reason why long lead times are common in exhibitions but not in meetings is that exhibitions are usually held for marketing purposes. Since most companies allocate their marketing budgets at the beginning of the financial year, then lead times that are less than one year may disqualify many companies all at once. Generally, exhibitions require much more preparation than meetings for instance the following are required in these ventures

Publicity materials
Brochures and catalogues
Notification of journals and newspapers
Before an exhibition can occur, an organizer needs to write down a list of all the potential participants within that exhibition. On top of that, organizers need to convince those participants why they should attend the exhibition and display their items there. This is normally done by checking out all the trade association websites and databases available in the internet. Thereafter, exhibition organizers need to prepare catalogues and brochures telling people about the particulars of this exhibition. Normally those brochures are sent internally or internationally depending on what the audience type is. But the current trend is the move towards international participants.

                        Consequently, if an exhibition is international, then event organizers need to fly out of the country and promote the activities of the exhibition directly to those individuals. Additionally, it would be necessary to place the exhibition in the newspapers and journals in the international journals there. Given all these activities, it would be necessary for potential exhibitors to be given ample time to understand messages placed in those journals and take the time to decide whether they will participate in them or not. On the other hand, meetings do not require such intricacies, if a meeting is to take place, then organizers need to notify the participants in a short time, advertisements and placements for conferences and other business meetings need not take so long as there will be little input form the participants. Meetings are the prerogative of the organizer and if he/she has all the necessary resources, then they can make all the necessary preparation on time. This means that potential consumers or participants just have to show up. (Mishkin, 1995)

                        The nature of risks faced in the exhibition industry today varies significantly from those faced in the meetings industry. For instance, the exhibitions industry has to dedicate a whooping twenty percent of their budget towards advertisements and promotions. On the other hand, meetings industries spend considerably less. Those meetings that involve local or members of on team require no advertisement. Additionally, conferences that involve other different participants may require advertisements, but this does not take up so much because most lead times are shorter. Exhibitionists have to dedicate close to one year worth of advertising as they wait for their lead times to mature. (George, 1990)

                        The exhibition industry is different from the meetings industry because the exhibition industry is more prone to external factors than the meetings industry. Since exhibition organizers have to book venues for periods as long as one year, these long stretches leave a lot of room for problems to occur. For instance, the US economy has not been performing very well over the past years; consequently, any interest rates paid from cancellation fees in the exhibition industry must be much higher than those ones paid in the meeting industry. It is common to find that interest rates have risen to as high as 40% in the exhibition industry compared to the meetings industry. In the later industry, event organizers need not book meeting venues for long durations of time; consequently, they are less susceptible to uncertainties in the economy or any other external factors that are likely to leave long term effects.

                        In line with the latter argument, the exhibitions industry has to deal with high amounts of capital at the onset of the venture. This is sharp contrast to the meetings industry that requires considerably less amount of input or capital before an event occurs. While some proponents may see high capital as a disadvantage, it can also be regarded as an advantage. This is because it discourages new entrants into the field. Consequently, the exhibitions industry has less competition that the meetings industry and profit margins in the latter industry are much higher than in the meetings. In the meetings industry, very little is required for an event organizer as they only have to pay booking fees for their respective venue and may not necessarily have to invest so much revenue in advertisement. This has made the meetings industry particularly susceptible to numerous players. There is a lot of competition amongst stakeholders to demonstrate that they can conduct good meetings at any time. Additionally, this makes it difficult for stakeholders in that industry.

                        The exhibition industry is significantly different from the meetings industry because the risks associated with the exhibitions industry in terms of availability are much higher than those in the meetings industry. The exhibitions industry is very seasonal; therefore, those exhibition owners who may want to invite a certain range of consumers at any time of the year may no be able to do so freely. This is because the exhibition business is very seasonal. Certain times of the year may be overbooked thus requiring exhibition hall owners to turn away potential clients. On the other hand, there are other times of the year when business goes really low. At that time, businesses are usually looking for clients in nay way they possible yet they may not be available. On the other hand, the meetings industry is rarely susceptible to such kinds of problems. This is because most business, groups and individuals need to meet frequently regardless of the time of year. However, there is one category of players in the meetings industry that have to deal with such a problem. They are the ones that have to tackle seasonal fluctuations. During certain seasons of the year, it highly unlikely that certain individuals can take the time to conduct meetings with others on a social basis especially during winter. The hospitality industry is particularly susceptible here. (Baumol, William and Alan, 2006)


                         The exhibition and meetings industries are one of the most complementary and closely related industries in the US. This is the reason why the latter industries share more differences than similarities. Their similarities have been brought about by the effects of internationalization and technology while their differences have been brought about by the differences in the way business is conducted.


George R (1990): Capitalism- A Treatise on Economics, Ottawa Jameson Books. Pg 55-


Baumol, William J and Alan S (2006):-Macroeconomics. Principles and Policy- Tenth

Edition. Thomson South-Western. Pg 56-78

Joseph T. (1999):-The Place of Mises’s Human Action in the Development of Modern

Economic Thought. Quarterly Journal of Economic Thought V 2 pg 45-89

Walsh, C. E. (2007): Inflation. Retrieved from: ; accessed

on 21st August 2007

Mishkin, F.S. (1995): The Economics of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets, New

York, Harper Collins pg 56-76


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