By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 14 June, 2018

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australia’s (EEAA) 2018 Leaders Forum and Conference delivered a packed program of learning, discussion and collaboration leading to the establishment of a committee that will spearhead the development of a new charter on sustainability for the sector.

New EEAA Board Member, and Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Leighton Wood, led a session aimed at establishing a shared commitment to creating a more responsible industry, which resulted in the development of a working group that will work on building a sustainability charter and sharing best practice.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio, said sustainability was a key tenet of the Association’s five-year strategy and congratulated the industry’s support of the initiative and the members who volunteered to steer the development of an industry charter.

“We are very pleased to have delivered this tangible outcome from our event. The discussion highlighted the importance of sustainability in our sector and the responsibility we all share in doing more to reduce waste and our carbon footprint.

The committee comprises of Leighton Wood, MCEC; Helen Mantellato, ICC Sydney; David Longman, Diversified Communications; Paul Elliott, Harry the Hirer; Ross Ferrar, Gaming Technologies Association; Cory McCarrick, Reed Exhibitions Australia; Adrian Slingsby, ICC Sydney.

“I look forward to working with the committee to build a charter for our industry on this important issue and to sharing the expertise and best-practice of Members who are taking positive steps already,”

The EEAA thanks its members, speakers and sponsors for their generous support of the event, with special thanks to Principal Partner, International Convention Centre, Sydney (ICC Sydney), which sponsored the full two-day program.

“As we celebrate Global Exhibitions Day, we are reminded of the important role exhibitions have in the business events industry and the economic impact they bring to their host cities,” Geoff Donaghy, Chief Executive Officer, ICC Sydney said.

“EEAA continues to provide leading industry events that allow members to collaborate, strategically discuss challenges and deliver the best outcomes for clients. ICC Sydney is proud to be a Principal Partner of the Association and looks forward to continuing its support and relationship for years to come.” Mr Donaghy said.

The two-day program featured an impressive line-up of speakers from within and outside the industry, including two international guests, presenting on the topics that are most relevant to the industry now and with the potential to impact the future.

“We were joined by global ‘rock stars’ in artificial intelligence (AI) who gave our members comprehensive insights to the role of AI in society today and what influence it will have on our sector in the future,” Ms DiMascio said.

“We also heard Explori’s results from our latest Market Monitor, which looks at how we compared to the rest of the world. This is the first time our data has been benchmarked against our global counterparts and this session certainly gave our members some food for thought.

“Deep-dive sessions on marketing, sales, exhibitor ROI, crisis management and event tech were also very popular components of the program, as were our ‘fireside chats’ with leading industry people.

“Overall, it was a balanced program that focused on high-level trends together with practical hands-on workshops – a mix we have found to be very popular with our members.”

Highlights from the two-day program

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

Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Toby Walsh, and Founder and Senior Consultant in International Business, Exhibitions and e-Commerce, MBB Consulting Group, Matthias Baur

Global ‘rockstars’ on the topic of AI, Prof. Walsh and Matthias (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. It’s an area that we should all be knowledgeable about and both agree that it provides more opportunity than risk, assuring the audience that we are a long way from robots taking over.

“AI is going to have an impact on the world of work, but you have to be careful of some of the headlines you read. Most studies don’t consider all the new jobs technology will create. One thing is pretty certain – skills will keep changing so education needs to be a lifelong thing to keep people ahead of the machines,” Prof. Walsh said.

“We can’t fire the event manager yet. This is still a people-to-people industry and not to be replaced by robots. But, is the exhibition industry at risk of being Uberised? Areas most at risk of disruption have been viewed as expensive (e.g. taxis, hotels, music) – that’s an indicator that puts us on the radar for digital disruption,” Mr Baur said.

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

Global Strategy Director, Explori, Sophie Holt

Over two sessions, Sophie Holt 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.

“Visitor numbers do not translate into exhibitor satisfaction – organisers need to deliver an individual experience to their exhibitors,” Ms Holt said.

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

Managing Director, Tourism Australia, John O’Sullivan

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.

“Our people in Australia want international visitors to come, which is just such a competitive advantage in the world in which we live in today, and which our customers, whether they’re here for a business event or they’re here for a leisure trip are really looking for – that safety and being welcomed,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

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

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

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.

“There’s a movement around the rise in consultancies, but in reality the person who holds the budget is the person who you want to get to – and that’s still the marketer. If you want to influence the marketing director or CMO, you’ve got to make it really easy to buy from you,” Mr Lane said.

“The decision-making landscape has changed. There’s more people – there’s the marketers, there’s the directors of marketing, the digital marketer, but the power ultimately lies with the customer. Over the past few years we’ve seen some established brands that have come up with really clever campaigns that have failed because they weren’t in tune enough with what the market wants,” Mr Blakney said.

“It is still about the customers being king. That said, the budgets are definitely with marketing, the CMOs. Dwell time is not an argument that I could use to my boss if I’m a marketing director. Try and get some numbers they can use,” Ms Mathews said.

The workforce of the future

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

Carly 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 our 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,” Ms Rogowski said.

Over the two days, participants also heard from Harvey Lister, Chairman and Chief Executive, AEG Ogden, about the overall climate of business events in Australia and around the world, Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro, and Samantha Glass, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communication, ICC Sydney about the biggest forces in digital communications and the pros and cons of agency vs in-house management of communications, and Sally de Swart, Group Director, Retail Portfolio – Reed Exhibitions, who delivered a case study presentation on the successful re-launch of Reed Gift Fairs, Sydney for its return to ICC Sydney in 2017, which also resulted in winning ‘The Best Show’ at the EEAA 2017 Awards for Excellence.

The program also included ‘fireside chats’ – or panel discussions with those at the coalface of the industry – including with organisers and association members, and PCO and convention bureaux representatives, and deep-dive workshop sessions on marketing, sales, exhibitor ROI, crisis management and event tech.

Visit for a full wrap up of the EEAA 2018 Leaders Forum and Conference.


Source: EEAA