Raising awareness of key issues impacting the business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions industry and its impact on the economy and to tourism are among the priorities of the annual Exhibitions Day gathering held in Washington D.C.

Slated for June 6 this year, Exhibitions Day offers industry professionals a unique opportunity to network with one another and voice their opinions to federal legislators regarding topics of note associated with exhibitions and events.

To help commemorate this year’s gathering, AEM asked three members of its exhibition and events team to answer a few questions about Exhibitions Day, the value of trade shows and events, as well as issues of key importance to the exhibitions industry.

AEM: How did Exhibitions Day come about, and what purpose does it serve the exhibitions and events industry today?

Megan Tanel, AEM Senior Vice President of Exhibitions & Events and co-chair of the first-ever Exhibitions Day gathering: As we at AEM were putting more focus on advocacy and the importance of having a voice on the Hill regarding issues affecting our industries, I began to push hard for the exhibitions industry to consider the same concerns. As an industry, you can’t expect change if you don’t work to affect change.

Joining forces with other large association leaders and corporate entities serving the exhibition industry, we launched the inaugural Exhibitions Day in Washington D.C. in 2014. I served as co-chair of the first event with an industry leader from the National Association of Broadcasting. The issues that face the exhibitions industry affect all industries, so it was easy to see the importance of having multiple voices focused on the same issues. Just like AEM and its fly-ins, previous Exhibitions Days focused on the importance of streamlining the visa process while still keeping security a top issue, the highway bill and moving goods across the country, as well as the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and NAFTA.

 

 “As an industry, you can't expect change if you don't work to affect change," said Megan Tanel, AEM Senior Vice President of Exhibitions & Events and co-chair of the first-ever Exhibitions Day gathering. 

 

AEM: Why are exhibitions and events so valuable and important to AEM members?

John Rozum, AEM Director of Ag Events, ICUEE Show Director and IFPE Show Director: Exhibitions and events are all about getting business done – face to face. AEM members have a long history of involvement not only as exhibitors, but also as leaders of the committees and boards that help guide and shape the direction of AEM events. AEM’s events serve as a platform for meaningful connections between manufacturers and their customers. Exhibitions are more than just trade shows – they are the gathering points where an industry comes together.

Tanel: There’s simply no better proven method of offering buyers an opportunity to comparison shop while testing the equipment or products of interest to them. Exhibitions offer a marketing and branding opportunity for our manufacturers to enter new markets, showcase their innovations and technology, as well as introduce themselves to prospective customers – all in one place. The differentiator with AEM events is that we place the highest emphasis on providing value – value in cost-saving packages, value in best-available data capturing, and value in education to prepare all stakeholders for their involvement in an event.

AEM: What are some key issues of importance to the exhibitions and events industry today?

Rozum: When we’re in Washington D.C. for Exhibitions Day 2018, we’ll be talking with legislators and asking for their help with four main issues: online booking scams, safety and security, travel facilitation and infrastructure investment.

Many of our members are familiar with online scams. Scammers find your company name on a show website and try to sell you discounted hotel rooms or show attendee lists. In many cases, they use deceptive tactics and make it look like they are representing the show. And all too often, those that fall prey arrive at the show city to find that their discount reservations weren’t real.

Our issue with safety and security is supporting the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI), which aims to work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that exhibition facilities across the country are working to protect exhibitors and attendees at events. Travel facilitation is also important to ensure that international buyers are able to be properly vetted and documented so they can attend our events in the United States.

In addition, infrastructure is always top of mind with our members. In this case, we’re driving home the idea that exhibitions can’t thrive without ongoing investments in airports, roads, hotels and dining opportunities.

 

 AEM’s events serve as a platform for meaningful connections between manufacturers and their customers," said John Rozum, AEM Director of Ag Events, ICUEE Show Director and IFPE Show Director. Exhibitions are more than just trade shows – they are the gathering points where an industry comes together."

 

Fred Vieira, AEM Event Manager, Latin America, and CONEXPO Latin America Show Manager: Our industry as a whole still faces challenges internationally – infrastructure, social/political stability, high cost of doing business, to name a few. However, as we dive deeper into a globalized economy, it is crucial that show organizers are well prepared to face each unique set of challenges that one faces when dealing in different countries. Furthermore, it’s vitally important for exhibitors to better understand the different realities of various markets, culminating in expectations more aligned to the reality of the market in focus.

 

AEM: What role does AEM play in supporting the exhibitions and events-related interests of our members, as well as those of the equipment manufacturing industry?

Tanel: AEM advocates on behalf of our members to work with vendors in keeping their costs down, increasing the importance of data and analytics being available to our members, as well as focusing on quality buyers at our events. We don’t need the most people, just the best-qualified people.

Rozum: Our goal is to help every member and exhibitor have a successful experience with our events. AEM exhibitions are a platform to bring the industry together and facilitate connections between our members and their customers. We’re doing whatever it takes to make it easy for buyers and sellers to get to the show and take care of business.  

AEM: How can AEM members make sure their voices are heard regarding exhibitions and events-related issues that are important to them?

Vieira: Engaging with AEM is the best way that members can make the best use of what the association has to offer. This also allows AEM to be much more aligned with what issues are most relevant to the industry, and therefore should be at the forefront of our efforts.

 

Our industry as a whole still faces challenges internationally, said Fred Vieira, AEM Event Manager, Latin America, and CONEXPO Latin America Show Manager. However, as we dive deeper into a globalized economy, it’s crucial that show organizers are well prepared to face each unique set of challenges that one faces when dealing in different countries."

 

 Tanel: AEM members can feel free to join the movement on the Hill and share their concerns regarding visa regulations, trade regulations, tariffs on goods and a number of other issues. Tell your representatives how important exhibitions are to your sales, production and job creation. Our members invest a lot of time and money into exhibitions, so supporting their value and ability to operate in an open and free market place is of critical importance.

 

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more coverage of the exhibitions and events industry.

×