EEAA 2018 Leaders Forum, #GED Dinner, Conference and AGM

Well that’s a wrap for the 2018 Global Exhibition Day.

The global campaign celebrated by around 80 countries all around the world kicked off in Australia by the EEAA – and what a fitting location, Pier One Sydney Harbour.

On 6 and 7 June, we held our combined EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference, our #GED18 dinner all strategically aligned to Global Exhibitions Day 2018 (#GED18). Thank you to all those who played a role in our immensely successful events.

Over two days we discussed the issues in our industry, we created deep-dive clinics to help our Members skill-up and importantly, we had the opportunity to host the biggest number of leaders and influencers. Each day – the “room” was impressive with the most influential people of our sector gathered together both on stage and off stage.

This year, we were honoured to host more Parliamentarians than ever before – giving our Members direct access to leaders and the opportunity to voice the primary challenges facing our industry.

Among the issues discussed were skills and talent, infrastructure, skilled migration and visas, convention bureau models and the new bid fund.

The Association also launched a new campaign called A career for life to promote the careers in our sector. The campaign features 10 young professionals from the EEAA community. Take a look at their stories captured in our promotional video and booklet. This is pitched at career advisors, teachers, parents and students.

EEAA’s research company, Explori presented the findings of the EEAA 2018 Market Monitor – it combines both a qualitative and quantitative data has been benchmarked against the rest of the world. While the findings reinforce key challenges, it also highlighted a generally positive mood in 2017, with organisers, venues and suppliers all experiencing growth and all are notably less concerned with the economic climate than in previous years.

In a new development, I am also pleased to report that the Association will lead the development of a sustainability charter for our industry – a key goal of our five-year strategy. The initiative will be spearheaded by our newly-elected board member, Leighton Wood from the MCEC who will steer the new working committee.

A big thank you to our members, speakers, industry colleagues and sponsors who helped us deliver these successful events, especially our Principal Partner, International Convention Centre, Sydney (ICC Sydney).

Take a look at the photos and read on for the highlights from the event.

View the EEAA 2018 Leaders Forum photo gallery

View the EEAA 2018 Conference photo gallery

Artificial intelligence (AI), jobs and the industrial revolution, and the impact on the exhibition industry

Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of New South Wales, and Mathias Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant in International Business, Exhibitions and e-Commerce, MBB Consulting Group

Global ‘rock stars’ on the topic of AI, Prof. Walsh and Mathias (Tesi) Baur together delivered three sessions over the two-day program on the topic of AI, providing both general trends globally and deep-dive analyses of AI as it relates to the exhibitions industry.

Prof. Walsh cited the doubling every two years of computer power, data, the performance of algorithms and money funnelled into the field as the recipe for the progress we are seeing. Data is considered the new ‘oil’ with AI forecast to be the operating system of the future and Australia one of the top five countries leading the way.

Honing in on the impact of AI to the exhibition sector, Mr Baur summarised the finding of his own research on the topic, which highlighted a general lack of knowledge and ability to respond to the AI opportunities created for the sector. He noted that while 42% of industry professional think AI will change the industry ‘a lot’ in the next three years, the current business model is ‘blocking’ us from fully harnessing the digital opportunity.

Analysis of the global exhibition industry and how Australasia compares on the global stage

Sophie Holt , Global Strategy Director, Explori

Over two sessions, Sophie, presented the findings of the EEAA 2018 Market Monitor and, using data from Explori’s bank of 3,000+ international events, detailed how the results compared with our global counterparts.

The research highlighted some key trends, opportunities and challenges for the sector, including a ‘hollowing out’ of the industry, the ‘festivalisation’ of shows, increased longevity in engagement (year-round) coupled with shorter show lengths, the opportunities for organisers in high-growth industries, and the challenges of infrastructure, alignment between organisers, venues and suppliers, and recruitment.

In her second session, Ms Holt honed in on the results around exhibitor ROI. While the region reported slightly higher exhibitor satisfaction rates than others, this did not translate into positive Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – a key benchmarking measure in Explori’s global data set. Using the company’s extensive bank of data and insights, Ms Holt outlined some specific strategies to help the industry ‘de-risk’ the exhibitor experience and improve the region’s overall exhibitor satisfaction rates and NPS results.

Members who took part in the survey are entitled to the full research findings.

Tourism 2030 and the opportunities to leverage Australia’s strength in the visitor economy

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia

John provided an overview of how Tourism Australia is positioning brand Australia on the global stage and outlined the benefits to the business event sector of leveraging this positioning and using insights from the organisation’s research in its own strategies. He also spoke about the new $12 million bid fund and how the industry can utilise these funds.

In conversation with marketing specialists: who is at the epicentre of marketing power and influence?

Adam Blakney, Managing Director, Bold Discovery, Martin Lane, Founder and CEO, Mumbrella, and Jane Mathews, Strategic Consultant and Trainer

Our expert panel of marketing professionals dissected the current marketing landscape to uncover the true ‘epicentre’ of marketing power or, in other words, who makes the decision about where to put marketing dollars. All agreed that while the market, or the customer, ultimately holds the power, we also have power to influence marketing spend with the right strategy. They also discussed the all-important issue of ROI and who should take responsibility for it – the organiser or the exhibitor? While the panel agreed that responsibility sits with the exhibitor, they argued that organisers can improve their re-sign rates by working collaboratively to understand exhibitors’ objectives and help with simple metrics that demonstrate the value of their investment.

How to stay on top of the biggest forces in the digital communications landscape

Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro

Felicity provided an overview of the eight biggest forces in the digital communications landscape, which included:

  • The politicisation of brands – when to enter the political discourse and stamp your brand against a political issue, and the pros and cons of doing so
  • Influencer marketing vs authenticity – the advantages of using celebrity endorsements to increase reach vs the value of using real people to sell your message
  • Integrated communications – the importance of focussing on overall strategy vs channel
  • Interactive – the benefit of using interactive technology (e.g. polls, surveys) to engage your audiences
  • Social media – being selective and clear on your objectives – better to do one or two channels really well than being mediocre on all of them
  • Water-holing – its growing influence in marketing and how it can benefit our industry
  • A seat at the leader’s table – the lack of communications directors on boards, with accountants running businesses in a social world
  • Event is the community management – events as the jewel in the crown, but engagement has to be year round

The workforce of the future

Carly Rogowski, General Manager – Marketing & Communications, TAFE NSW

Ms Rogowski provided a detailed session on the changing dynamics of the Australian workforce and what that means for how businesses recruit in the future. With ongoing skills and talent pressures facing the industry, it’s more important than ever to understand the forces shaping our workforce and what we need to do to meet the employment needs of sector now and in the future.

“Australians these days will have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime. Career waves are forecast to replace the career ladder with people wanting variety and to move around. Our future employees are going to want lifelong learning – ongoing training – to remain employable and we will need new hiring approaches.” – Carly Rogowski.

Case study – 2017 Reed Gift Fairs, Sydney

Sally de Swart, Group Director, Retail Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions

Ms de Swart delivered a presentation on the successful re-launch of Reed Gift Fairs, Sydney on its return to ICC Sydney in 2017, which also resulted in it being awarded ‘Best Show’ at the EEAA 2017 Awards for Excellence.

Due to celebrate a milestone 50th year in operation in 2019, the case study showed that with the right vision, team and planning, it’s possible for shows to continue to remain relevant to their audiences through continuous improvement and innovation year after year.

Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders Forum Dinner

This year, the Association’s flagship events were strategically aligned to Global Exhibitions Day 2018 (#GED18) to complement the global effort to drive greater awareness of the wide-ranging value of the sector to economies, jobs, innovation, trade and investment.

Since the launch of Global Exhibitions Day three years ago, we have actively profiled the campaign to government and business leaders and this year we have seen the fruits of this advocacy play out with representation at our Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders Forum Dinner from both federal and state levels of government.

We were pleased to welcome Australian Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills, the Hon. Adam Marshall MP, and ex-NSW Minister and Business Events Sydney Chairman, the Hon. Bruce Baird AM to our Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders Forum Dinner.

“The Australian Government highly values the economic contribution to Australia made by the business events industry. The Association’s advocacy, promotional activity and work in skills development has been crucial to the ongoing success of the industry and I encourage you, as members of the Association, to continue to use your collective voice to support the further expansion of the business events sector.” – The Hon. Mark Coulton.

“The work that’s being done between your Association and TAFE is absolutely vital. It is an area of skills need in our state, an area where more and more jobs are being created, and is one of the 10 big growth areas of employability that we’ve identified as a state government over the next 5 years. ‘A career for life’… fits neatly with the work that the Deputy Premier is doing as the skills minister to rebadge vocational training. If there’s anything I can do on behalf of the NSW Government to continue to support the sector, I am very passionate about it and very happy to partner with you in the future.” – The Hon. Adam Marshall.

The Association also received additional support from Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Steven Ciobo, who provided two video messages in lieu of his attendance. These videos were used in the Association’s online promotion of #GED18 and at the events.

Thanks to all members who take part in our #GED18 celebrations – in person or online. We look forward to building on this success for #GED19.

The keynote presentations were complemented by a series of interactive panel discussions, ‘fireside chats’ and deep-dive workshop sessions to give participants practical advice, tools and strategies to help with important areas of strategic and operational decision making.

Panel discussions:

  • Insider’s view of the opportunities for business events – John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia, and Harvey Lister, Chairman and Chief Executive, AEG Ogden
  • Insider’s view of the communications landscape from the perspectives of agency and in-house communications professionals – Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro, and Samantha Glass, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communication, ICC Sydney

Fireside chats:

  • Organisers and associations – Chris Carroll, Chairman, The Eventful Group, Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director, ESL Australia and VIM Media & Events, Harvey Stockbridge, Managing Director, Hannover Fairs Australia, and John Peacock, CEO, Associations Forum
  • PCOs and convention bureaux – Tamara Kavalec, CEO, Arinex, Karen Bolinger, CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau and Chairperson, AACB, Jan Tonkin, Managing Director, The Conference Company and Past President, International Association of Professional Conference Organisers

Deep-dive workshops:

  • Is it worth investing in Facebook and LinkedIn to drive your marketing communications? Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro and Jessica McLean, Account Manager, Zadro
  • ‘Proving’ exhibitor ROI – Adam Blakney, Managing Director, Bold Discovery and Hamish Rathen, Founder, Bold Discovery
  • Unpacking tech and its application to business events – Mathias Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant in International Business, Exhibitions and e-Commerce, MBB Consulting Group
  • Top 10 sites to help you be a better marketer – Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro and Jessica McLean, Account Manager, Zadro
  • A crisis management framework – practical steps to manage risk and reputation – Eddie Idik, Director, Vital Risk Services Group
  • Sales maximisation – practical steps to improve your personal results – Murray Grimston, Consulting Partner, Focus Right

AGM – We welcome the 2018 Board

EEAA congratulates the following on their re-appointment to the Board:

  • Vice – President – David Longman, Diversified Communications Australia (Organiser)
  • Matt Pearce, Talk2 Media & Events (Organiser)
  • Helen Mantellato, International Convention Centre Sydney (Venue)
  • Peter Thorpe, Sydney Showground (Venue)
  • Leighton Wood, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (Venue)
  • Shaun Rae, ExpoNet (Supplier)

They join mid-term Members:

  • President – Spiro Anemogiannis, Informa Australia (Organiser)
  • Brian Thomas, Reed Exhibitions Australia (Organiser)
  • Treasurer – Robert O’Keefe, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (Venue)
  • Secretary – Jo-Anne Kelleway, Info Salons Australia (Supplier)
  • Paul Elliott, Harry the Hirer (Supplier)
  • Ross Ferrar, Gaming Technologies Association (Association Organiser)
  • Felicity Zadro, Zadro (Supplier)

#GED18 (A career for life)

On #GED18, the Association launched a new campaign to promote the diverse and rewarding opportunities for careers in the sector and encourage school leavers and early career professionals to choose A career for life in business and consumer events.

A career for life tells the stories of 10 industry professionals who have found a home in business and consumer events – by design or by chance. Together, they paint an inspiring picture of opportunity, creativity, satisfaction and achievement, highlighting the diverse range of job roles, industries and pathways to fulfilling careers in the sector.

The campaign, which includes a short promotional video and booklet, directly supports The Global Association for Exhibition Industry’s (UFI) focus on skills and talent for Global Exhibitions Day 2018 (#GED18).


We extend our sincere thanks to our members, industry colleagues, speakers and event sponsors for their generous support of the EEAA 2018 Leaders Forum and Conference.