This Just In

TSE’s 8 Key Takeaways from CEIR Predict


Washington, D.C. — The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) returned to the nation’s capital for Predict, the 7th annual exhibition industry outlook conference. The two-day event, held Sept. 14-15 at the Ritz-Carlton, attracted 127 attendees.

You can read the entire recap of this event in our October issue.

TSE’s 8 Key Takeaways:

  1. Living in a digital world. “In our age group (Baby Boomers and Gen X), we are very much analog minds,” said Haluk Kulin, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Data at FreemanXP. “We are about to go through a generational and cultural shift.” Some brick-and-mortar businesses are starting to capitalize on this shift. For example, Carnival Corp. launched an app and wearable beacon for passengers on its cruise ships in 2017. Taking a page from Disney, Carnival’s smart medallion allows passengers to open stateroom doors and order poolside cocktails. “We are only at the beginning of this stage in our medium,” Kulin said.
  2. Become a data company. “What makes companies like Facebook, Google, Netflix and Amazon great isn’t that they have more data, it’s that they know what to measure,” said Kulin. “We need to think of shows as data organizations.” While trade shows have indirect competition from other mediums, the sensory experiences set exhibitions apart. Think about how you can use data to enhance the sensory experiences at events.
  3. Don’t grow your data silos. “Have an open-source mindset to your data,” said Kulin. Trade shows gather data from many sources — registration, email, lead-retrieval, social, web, mobile apps, second screens, CRM — and there’s more to come. “Review every one of your contracts to make sure you are sharing the data instead of silo-ing the data.” Grow your data networks, he advised.
  4. Mining the data. What can trade shows learn from other organizations that leverage data to enhance the customer experience and deliver ROI? For example, Denihan, an owner and operator of boutique hotels, designs guest experiences based on data mined from online reviews. Other companies, like Wal-Mart, are mining the data for price optimization. To help the retail giant stay competitive with Amazon, Wal-Mart is deploying dynamic pricing that uses automation to increase its price responsiveness to market shifts in near-real time. “Most trade shows aren’t maximizing price to manage demand and unused inventory,” said David Saef, Executive Vice President, Strategy and MarketWorks at GES.
  5. Avoid analytic failures. How can trade shows make a profit from analytics? “Planning, process and involvement,” said Meta Brown, President, A4A Brown Inc. “The reason organizations fail most of the time is because they never had a plan to succeed.” First think about the outcome you want to achieve to help shape the process for analyzing the data. “Don’t just hand it over to an analytics team or tool,” Brown said. “You need to be involved. It’s better to know a lot about the business and a little about analytics.”
  6. Invest in analytics training. Many organizations are hiring data analysts, engineers and scientists to help make sense of the data they are collecting, but Brown also recommends investing in internal training. “Develop your own people,” Brown said. “Invest in training and statistics classes. Start with modest new skills and work your way up.”
  7. Lobby now. Today’s political environment is good for industry, and Brian Kelly, Editor & Chief Content Officer of U.S. News & World Report, offered his advice to associations and those who lobby Congress. “Every industry should be focused on legislation,” he said. “The Hill is in play, and I think we will see a lot of legislation move between now and the end of the year.”
  8. Refer a friend. As organizations develop a workforce with 21st century skills, many are focused on bringing in younger and more diverse talent. “Ask millennials to refer their friends or friends of friends,” said Bob Bierman, Senior Vice President of Events at CB Insights. “It’s an untapped resource for many companies.” Once you bring them in, ask referrers to help their friends learn the company culture and serve as a mentor, he advised. “What are the values that millennials look for in a company? Collegiality and workplace environment are number one and two,” said Kelly.

Dates and location have not been set for CEIR Predict 2018. Presentation slides can be found at

Reach Cathy Breden at (972) 458-8002 or  

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