Expoforum International Employees as EFEA Speakers
From 22–24 January, the annual Eurasian Event Forum (EFEA), a communication platform for event industry professionals, was held in St. Petersburg. The overall theme of the Forum was the issue of sustainable development and the UN’s 17 goals. A wide-ranging business programme was carried out over three days, where the key speakers included employees of Expoforum International.
Natalia Serebrovskaya, head of exhibitions division of Expoforum International, touched on the topic of developing regional exhibitions at one of the panel discussions and used her hands-on experience in developing exhibitions as an example.
‘If we look to the future, to the year 2022, we will be especially busy – Expoforum’s exhibitions are beginning to face problems regarding space. There are more of them and more conventions, so issues with spacing are appearing. That’s why, together with the city’s administration, we are planning a second construction phase,’ – announced Natalia Serebrovskaya.
Expoforum’s own exhibitions fully and universally embrace the UN’s 17 goals – its events are visited by 1.5 million people every year.
‘We are setting ourselves the task of increasing the efficiency and quality of people’s lives. It is B2C projects in particular which help us to work on the UN goals. As part of its new strategy, Expoforum is implementing two ‘stories’: making a range of our events ‘number one’ at both a federal and a regional level. In 2019, Expoforum significantly promoted two B2C exhibitions: an equestrian exhibition called ‘Hipposphere’ and an agro-industrial one called ‘Agrorus’. Hipposphere has already been around for 20 years and has a complicated history. However, in two years, the project team has given it the status of the only exhibition in the country which popularises equestrian sport and, most importantly, preserves and supports Russia’s equestrian traditions. By the way, the project is actively supported by France, Finland and Germany,’ – explained the head of exhibitions division of Expoforum International.
According to the speaker, the Agrorus exhibition will very soon be reaching its 30-year anniversary. This project has considerable state support and many achievements. With time, the project has taken on a different character. It is the only agro-industrial forum which represents the interests of owner-operated farms, private subsidiary farms and agricultural co-operatives. Agrorus is a large-scale trade fair, a genuine festival for the city and local owner-operated farms.
‘Each of our events is unique. Expoforum is successfully following its strategy, ‘Expolet: New Event Horizons’, which is a powerful driving force for promoting and developing not only our own exhibitions, but also the complex as a whole. Our convention and exhibition centre is aiming for the stars, and we really will reach them,’ – concluded Natalia Serebrovskaya.
Elena Ubliyeva, PR director of Expoforum International, discussed cooperation as a business model in the example of the RUEF’s strategy in her report.
Denis Papyshev, IT director of Expoforum International, took part in a roundtable called ‘Big Brother is watching you: how to collect data at events and use them legitimately’. The head of the information technology department talked to those present about Expoforum International’s successful experience of collecting and processing information. Expoforum International has colossal experience in exhibition and fair activity; in one year the forum holds over 200 events.
‘We at Expoforum are striving to collect as much information as possible about our clients. For example, we collect the MAC addresses of all mobile devices at the forum using special WI-FI antennae. They are positioned in the pavilions, convention halls, in locations where lots of people gather, the eating areas and the cloakrooms. In this way, we control the flow of people and their movements. What’s more, we obtain a target audience for online advertising. By combining this information with statistics from the event’s site we can build an effective marketing campaign. Another important data collection system is the integrated system for registering and selling tickets. With the help of questionnaires, we collect a lot of useful information, including advertising information,’ – revealed Denis Papyshev. ‘Then there is the CRM system, which we use to collect and process information about our participant clients, company profiles, details about their activities, contact people, orders and stories of relationships. There is also a system for arranging meetings, which we are launching as a pilot project, and with which we plan to collect information about every meeting held at our forum. In future this will allow us to automatically create personal suggestions for clients of people they might be interested to meet. I should mention that when working with personal data we completely follow the letter and spirit of Russian law. By collecting all this information, we gain an opportunity to effectively plan the resources needed for an event, such as transport, eating areas, cloakrooms, registration tables, the logistics of moving people around the forum and much more. All in all, by drawing from the information collected and analysing it, we are striving to make our clients’ time at the forum as comfortable and efficient as possible,’ – the expert summarised.
EFEA has traditionally opened the convention and exhibition season in the Northern capital. Since 2012, the Eurasian Event Forum (EFEA) has been one of the most important events for industry specialists.