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UFI’s Third Industry Partners Benchmark Reveals Changing Perceptions of Service Providers’ Value

This is the cover of the 3rd UFI-Industry Partners Benchmark Survey 2023

PARIS — The needs of business event organizers are evolving, and industry partners must evolve their offerings to meet them — or they stand to lose out — according to the third edition of the Industry Partners Benchmark Survey, recently released by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and developed by the UFI Industry Partners Working Group.

Though the demand for services has slightly increased since the last survey in 2021, the perceived value of some service providers to the success of events dropped. “Overall, the significance of services for event success remains notable, albeit slightly lower compared to previous periods,” Sebastian Witt, who heads up the UFI Industry Partners Working Group, said. “One potential explanation for the overall decrease in perceived value of service providers could be the growing tendency among venues and organizers to provide services in-house, thereby reducing reliance on external partners.”

He notes that this trend is not consistent across all services; for instance, booth construction has seen an increase in perceived value regarding event success. “Generally speaking, both booth construction and catering are crucial services that significantly influence the perceived quality of shows, particularly from the viewpoint of visitors. Given that attracting and retaining visitors is a primary objective for organizers, it’s not surprising to see such high demand for these services.”

Related. UFI Barometer: Record Revenue Expected for 2024

Staff and security also scored high in value to event organizers, and communication and marketing are still regarded as the most important elements for event success.

The survey also saw a decrease in demand for digital services. “Notably, digital services and event software continue to be in demand, but there’s an anticipated sharp decline in the demand for hybrid and virtual event solutions, most likely due to the resurgence of in-person events,” Witt said.

This third Industry Partners Benchmark Survey was conducted in mid 2023. Around 190 companies contributed to the project, the majority of whom were from Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The survey found that Europe is experiencing a growing demand for services, while the demand in Asia-PAC is declining.

“This trend mirrors the broader evolution of the exhibition market, particularly driven by developments in China,” Witt said. “In 2021, China experienced significant growth while Europe remained under lockdown. However, in 2022, this trend reversed as European markets began to reopen while China implemented strict lockdown measures. This shift continues to impact the market in 2023, contributing to the reduced demand for services in Asia.

“Once more, it’s important to note that this trend varies across different service categories,” Witt said. “For instance, in Asia, there has been an uptick in demand for booth construction, marketing and communication, and equipment services.”

The Third Industry Partners Benchmark Survey can be downloaded from the UFI website at

Reach Sebastian Witt at

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