A Look at Current Trade Show Trends

By Robert Gilbert President & CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Int. (HSMAI) | August 21, 2011

Our organization is always working to meet our partners' needs in order to help them reach their business goals. It's important for us to be watching trade trends and making sure we're at the forefront of our industry. With more than 20 years of success with connecting planners and suppliers at trade shows, we understand the importance of monitoring these trends and incorporating them into conferences to best meet the needs of our attending exhibitors and planners.

Our association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights and expertise through programs such as our conference and trade show series, HSMAI's MEET, which we've recently rebranded to be able to provide the best possible experience for attendees. Along the way, and with our National event coming in September, we've taken a deeper look at current conference and expo trends.

The following includes current trade show trends we're observing and experiencing:

  • Increased pressure on exhibitors to demonstrate ROI
  • Attracting attendees who are time impoverished to attend
  • Greater difficulty of securing attention of attendees at expo booths
  • Increasing costs of exhibiting and producing a trade show

Demonstrating ROI

For the past few years, businesses across all industries have been forced to examine their return on investment (ROI), and that is especially the case in the trade show and exposition world. Exhibitors have been pressured to ensure that they have a meaningful ROI at each and every event they attend. Without the ability to prove significant ROI, exhibitors have a difficult time seeing the value of spending their staff's time and resources at a trade show.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.