PARIS — UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has amended its auditing rules for events to reflect the new reality—that virtual and hybrid events are going to be part of the landscape for a long time to come. The effort was led by BPA Worldwide’s President and CEO, Glenn Hansen, and recommendations were made by a working group of global auditors.
“The ‘UFI Approved Events’ certification is the globally accepted recognition for quality exhibitions and trade shows, based on the fact that all of these shows are independently audited,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, UFI. “Through this effort and our support as the founding association for VSef as the new open source data standard for hybrid and digital exhibitions and events, we are doing our part as the global trade association for the exhibition industry to capture the opportunities that these digital expansions bring to our events portfolio.”
Some of the changes to the auditing rules were a matter of adding verbiage for digital and hybrid meetings to the existing document, while others involved outlining new quality control steps to be taken. For example, for a digital event, auditors are now expected to virtually visit and spot check that those listed companies represented by the organizer as exhibiting are digitally present at the event.
While the size of digital space occupied by an exhibitor is not a required metric, the number of exhibiting companies and whether they are national or international are. For an all-digital event, the country from which the most visitors attend is considered national; all exhibitors from other countries are deemed international. The new rules determine how to define the host country for a hybrid event—the country where the physical aspect of the event takes place.
They also outline how visitors can be counted: only during official opening hours when interaction with exhibitors can take place. “Visits” to a digital event, on the other hand, count as any time of day that someone enters using a unique identifier. When an event offers the opportunity to attend live and virtually, separate counts should be provided for each, as well as for those attendees who do both.