Originally published in Trade Show Executive, April 2016 Edition
Change is a big theme here at IAEE Headquarters as preparations pick up for Exhibitions Day on 7-8 June 2016 in Washington, D.C. As we sound the call to you – members of the exhibitions and events industry – to effect change, I want to make sure it is clear as to why you should invest yourself in this change. So I would like to reflect on the importance of advocating for our industry because change is something you must believe in, in order to make it happen.
The Undeniable Value of the Face-to-Face Marketplace
Exhibitions and events comprise a $70 billion industry in the U.S. alone, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). The latest CEIR Total Index performance report reflects that as of the fourth quarter of 2015, the industry has consistently outpaced the gross domestic product (GDP) for the past year. In addition, Q4 2015 marked the 22nd quarter of year-on-year growth for our industry. Particularly encouraging is that all four exhibition metrics (Real Revenues, Attendees, Net Square Feet and Exhibitors) posted gains in the last quarter of 2015.
We have entered 2016 in good standing, which allows us to focus on goals such as advancing our industry’s position in the overall business schematic. Last year, we made significant strides in this area when the U.S. Department of Labor recognized our industry with its own competency model. This allows us to define key skills and standards specific to our industry as recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor – we have broken exciting new ground! Which means that now, more than ever, members of the U.S. Congress need to understand our industry and where we stand on important issues that affect it.
This Value Extends Across the World
As the 9,500+ IAEE members in over 50 countries can confirm, our industry is growing in leaps and bounds globally. Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East are seeing an incredible increase in various markets that are embracing the face-to-face business model. As I mentioned in February’s column, the impact is such that leading organizers in those regions have called for a Global Exhibitions Day to recognize and promote the value of our industry around the world. Therefore, on 8 June we will do just that by celebrating the first ever Global Exhibitions Day in tandem with the U.S. Exhibitions Day.
Every Member of the Industry Adds to this Value
Whether you attend Exhibitions Day or participate in Global Exhibitions Day this June, you most definitely can play a part in the exhibitions and events industry’s movement year-round. There are ample opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of our industry on the economy, and nothing is more effective than applying this to the local level. IAEE’s Advocacy Toolkit offers a wide array of information that takes advocacy from the grassroots level all the way up to the federal level, including downloadable tools you can use. You can find the Advocacy Toolkit under the Resources tab of IAEE’s home page.
The Exhibitions Mean Business campaign is going strong and welcomes your stories about how the industry affects communities. Find out more at www.exhibitionsmeanbusiness.org, including how to submit your testimonial. And if you are interested in joining your colleagues on Capitol Hill, you can register for Exhibitions Day at www.exhibitionsday.org.
Each and every one of us plays an integral part in the “big picture” of exhibitions and events. There is no such thing as a small contribution when we are teaching others about what – as most of us know – is a dynamic and fruitful industry.
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO