We’ve all seen the meme, right?

It’s the one about the ever-changing world we live in. The one about next generation businesses and their innovative multi-billion pound revenue models.

You know the one.

  • Uber is the largest taxi company and owns no vehicles
  • Facebook is the most popular media owner and creates no content
  • Alibaba is the most valuable retailer and has no inventory
  • Airbnb is the largest accommodation provider yet owns no real estate

People love it on LinkedIn. They post it. Share it. Like it. I have seen it like literally 100+ times.

The thing is…people rarely apply it to their own industries.

It got me thinking.

What if this new economic philosophy was applied to the exhibition industry? What would it look like?

Would it be… XYZ is the largest exhibition in the world, yet has no exhibitors

Or would it be…XYZ is the largest exhibition in the world, yet has no visitors

Or one that would get venues and suppliers shaking…XYZ is the largest exhibition in the world, yet has no stands

Interesting isn’t it…

Ever since the Industrial Revolution vast supply networks have been set up to maximise commerce and revenue. And in recent years, technology and data and communication systems have disrupted these networks across industries for maximum effect but exhibitions remain relatively untouched.

The technology or data or communication systems that I have witnessed have either been complementary, supplementary and/or ‘nice to have’ but none have really rocked the exhibition industry to its core or disrupted the traditional supply network.

In my mind exhibitions have yet to experience technology and data processes in a manner that challenges the traditional triumvirate balance of organiser, venue and supplier.

So here’s some questions for you…

Could we experience an Uber/Alibaba/Airbnb type company for the exhibition industry? And where would they come from?

These companies thrive on the interface of the customer – so who is best placed to reach the exhibition visitors and exhibitors? And who will be best placed to disrupt the current model?

Is it the organiser, supplier or venue? Or is it a new entrant?

In my mind it is the supplier.

Organisers are limited by the sectors they serve whether that’s consumer, medical, technology, infrastructure, aviation etc etc. whilst venues are limited both physically and geographically – I don’t really need to explain that one.

That leaves the suppliers who cast their services and supplies across sectors, organisers, venues, regions and nations.

Just begs the question…who has caught your eye?

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Jim heads up Exhibitor Smarts, which is a specialist exhibitor agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to maximise exhibitor revenue.

If you want more information about the Exhibitor Smarts please visit our website at www.exhibitorsmarts.com

For exhibiting tips and chats follow Exhibitor Smarts on twitter:  @exhibitorsmarts

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