FKM: How important are certified exhibitor and visitor figures to UFI as the global association of the exhibition industry?
Hattendorf: One of the success factors in our industry is the trust exhibition organisers enjoy with exhibiting companies. This trust is based on fair and transparent cooperation. Audited exhibition data increases this trust. In an more and more digital, data-driven business world, credible statistics are becoming more important than ever.
Our research shows that audited figures strengthen this trust – and we have seen that work of FKM clearly benefits Germany as an exhibition location in the face of increasingly tough international competition.
FKM: How widespread have audit systems become, for example in central and eastern Europe or in Asia and other regions?
Hattendorf: Audits of exhibition figures were initially established in Western Europe. Worldwide there are currently around 1000 “UFI approved events” – this is a certification from our association for exhibitions that comply with a series of international quality criteria. A key criterion here is audited exhibitor and visitor figures. Most of these “approved events” take place in China, Germany and Russia, followed by Spain, Turkey and Poland. Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong and Ukraine complete the Top Ten. In individual markets – South Korea, for example – there are industry-driven institutions comparable to FKM.
What’s interesting is that a new awareness seems to be emerging, even in markets where organisers have so far avoided the effort of auditing and questioned the sense of it.
FKM: How do you assess the work of FKM in Germany from a global point of view?
Hattendorf: The fact that most German exhibition data is audited is attracting great attention abroad. The work of FKM and its partners make it one of the reputation drivers of the German exhibition industry. This means we as a global association frequently and confidently cite the principle which FKM uses as a best practice case.
To put it in a nutshell, there’s a lot of talk in our industry about more data-driven business models, and many exhibition organisers offer their exhibitors data products for this purpose. So it ought to be a matter of course that the absolute core data of every exhibition is validated. Thanks to FKM and the broad consensus it has established, this is now actually the case almost everywhere in Germany. That means it would be good if the FKM standards and procedures were to become even better known internationally.