Industry Experts Share Predictions for Events in 2017

December 16, 2016

By Elizabeth Johnson

A lot of unknowns face the exhibitions and events industry in 2017. Recently, the industry’s leading marketing experts weighed in on how trends and current events will impact the event industry in the coming year.

Kevin Miller, president and chief strategist, Frost Miller

“In 2017, we will see organizers use data more effectively for trade show marketing. Conferences and trade shows live or die by the quality of their data. Old or disorganized data about attendees and prospects yields slow or no growth. Good data—both accurate existing data and creative sources of new data—spell growth and success. Because of the sophistication of digital marketing channels in particular, data allows your segmented messages to reach people directly and be shared amongst peers, significantly broadening your reach. And data-driven marketing is particularly effective for reaching millennials – a segment all shows want to grow.”

Michelle Bruno, MPC, writer, content strategist, publisher, Bruno Group Signature Services

“The event industry, like many others, will be impacted by the uncertainty created by the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. The wait to find out what new laws, regulations, or initiatives are enacted will be the most excruciating part, not necessarily the actions of the new administration. It could force organizers, exhibitors, and attendees into a holding pattern on investment and participation. It might also influence the plans of international visitors to participate in U.S. events if visa regulations are tightened. If immigration plans remain in flux, an industry dependent on immigrant labor like ours (where will our customers stay if hotels and food services have to cut back?) will certainly be harmed. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that this time next year the uncertainty will have abated and events will have flourished as the new President settles in. But, no one really knows for sure.”

Ed Several, senior vice president, Reed Exhibitions Americas

“2017 will see a significant increase in the commercialization of new technologies leading to the launch of new events covering areas we are not familiar with today. These events will be more experiential to reflect the need to interact with these new products and learn how they can be applied.”

Brian Casey, CEM, president and CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

“President-elect Trump has proposed major policy changes, including sizable tax cuts, rollbacks of regulations and a much tougher stance on free trade and immigration. Prior to the election, the economic data showed the US economy was in reasonably good shape and on track to grow about 2.2 percent in 2017, compared to an expected 1.6 percent this year. If President-elect Trump follows through with his campaign promise of tax cuts, sizable infrastructure investment and rollbacks of regulations, near-term growth could be boosted, but likely not until late 2017 or early 2018. Thus far the stock market and general business perception seems pointing to faster economic growth ahead. With stable oil prices, we expect the real GDP to increase by 2.5 percent in 2017. Under this macroeconomic scenario, the exhibition industry is likely to grow just slightly below 3 percent, compared to an expected gain of 2 percent this year.”

Claudia Maurer, vice president, IMN Solutions

“The sharing economy enables progressive people to access goods and services from people who are just as progressive. The trend will continue to shake up the event and hospitality industries in 2017 by challenging and testing the conventional hospitality experience. Airbnb who paved the way in the accommodations sector is no longer the only player. HomeAway, and Wimdu are making inroads into the traditional system which proves this movement has evolved into a highly profitable business model. A Boston University study found that each 10 percent increase in supply on Airbnb causes a 0.37 percent decrease in monthly hotel revenue. Also, lodging that caters to business travel seems to be more negatively impacted than economy motels and hotels.

Currently, the hotel sector is in a period of sustained growth, but the industry should take the competition seriously. Right now Airbnb, Wimdu and HomeAway are not driving demand, but they are shifting it from other hotels. The industry’s hospitality partners must stay on the competitive edge for planners to meet their event room block goals. This goes beyond the best room rate to understanding the mindset behind consumers who seek alternatives to hotel rooms. Hoteliers who embrace the technological advancements and understand the need to continuously improve on the guest experience can adapt to this new way of booking accommodations.”

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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact