UFI Marketing Working Group: The impact of CO...
UFI Marketing Working Group

The impact of COVID-19 on the marketing of exhibitions

Photo: UFI

How has the marketing for exhibitions evolved? To answer this question, the UFI Marketing Working Group has conducted a survey among UFI members, collecting empirical evidence about whether there are relevant changes in the marketing of exhibitions, comparing the pre- and the post-COVID worlds.

There have been fundamental shifts in the importance of marketing topics: Compared with the pre-crisis period, marketing hybrid, digital and confex events became significantly more important during COVID, whereas visitor and exhibitor acquisition as well as the marketing of physical events remained as important as before.
„Marketing hybrid, digital and confex events became more important.“
UFI Marketing Working Group
Another trend: More than half (51%) of the marketeers now focus their marketing on different regions than before the pandemic, frequently concentrating more on their home regions.The survey revealed some pressing challenges in the marketing of exhibitions. These are: coping with the uncertainty and restrictions resulting from COVID, recovering the trust of exhibitors and visitors, dealing with budget constraints and cost efficiency, convincing international exhibitors and visitors despite travel restrictions, building and selling digital platforms and events, hiring, motivating and retaining talents, reaching the right target groups, making matches, competing with other marketing channels (budget shifts), and automating marketing.

About the study
The research questions were: Has COVID-19 affected the marketing of exhibitions? What has changed and what has remained stable? An online survey among UFI members was conducted in November 2021, collecting 184 answers from exhibition organisers (55%), organisers and venues (39%), and others (6%).