About EDPA ACCESS
EDPA ACCESS, hosted by the Experiential Designers & Producers Association, is an events and exhibitions industry gathering. The 2023 event was held from November 28th to November 30th at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida. The three-day conference featured keynote speakers, off-site excursions, break-out sessions, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities for the attendees and participants – members of EDPA.
EDPA, founded in 1954, is an international organization comprised of thousands of members, representing several hundred corporations across 18 countries. The individuals within this group bring together expertise in marketing, design, and production leadership. Their collective aim is to assist organizations in crafting compelling in-person customer experiences and environments across various settings, including tradeshows, events, corporate spaces, museums, retail outlets, educational settings, and entertainment venues.
“EDPA is committed to driving growth within the experiential, exhibit and event industry through Advocacy, Networking, Education and Good Works. The EDPA is THE network for leaders in the customer experience industry.”
Condit’s Presence In the Exhibit Design Industry
Condit Exhibits was represented at the event by VP of Sales Jenny Koehn. Jenny said of the event, “It’s my favorite event of the year! Such a blast to connect face-to-face with industry colleagues and friends. Although attendance records were broken, it really did feel like a family affair! The crowd of Future Leaders was inspiring – bright young faces that are eager to push boundaries and improve our businesses. And the awards gala always highlights the industry’s dedication to good works and those individuals who give their time to make it a success!”
Insights from EDPA Access
The general sentiment at the show, heading into another year post-pandemic, was cautiously optimistic. Revenue has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, but profits have declined for many businesses and staffing remains a challenge. Honest and transparent conversations amongst business owners and leaders are critical at this time. Presenters were engaging and enthusiastic, and they spoke on a wide variety of topics that were relevant to the industry. Their insights are summarized below.
Good News Across the Tradeshow Design Industry
The state of the tradeshow and event industry is indicating a number of positive trends:
- It is predicted the B2B exhibitions 2024 performance levels will surpass 2019.
- In 2022, B2B exhibitions contributed $138 billion in business sales and $78 billion in GDP as well as supported 2.2 million jobs.
- The economy is projected to soften in 2024, followed by 5-7 years of strong performance.
- Client feedback says, overwhelmingly, that they want events, meetings and more!
2024 Event Industry Trends to Monitor
We’re looking ahead to a number of tradeshow and general economic trends predicted throughout 2024 and beyond. EDPA ACCESS speakers highlighted a few areas to monitor for the future:
- Potential recession
- Weakening economic conditions projected for 2024. Assess cash needs as credit conditions are tightening. A more severe recession is possible in 2032.
- Geopolitical tension
- Artificial intelligence
- The list of AI tools is constantly growing, and younger generations have quickly adapted to regular use. Though AI is a powerful and disruptive technology, you need a human to curate – to bring empathy, creativity, strategic thinking, and warmth. AI can augment your business model and your offerings, but it cannot replace years of experience.
- Building the right team but remaining lean is suggested as the primary strategy.
- Cost retention
- Consider offering alternative bonuses, extra vacation days, flexible schedules, and other alternatives to cash outlay to help drive down the rising cost of staffing.
- In-Person vs. Hybrid vs. Remote workforce
- Fostering team collaboration is key and consistently drives performance.
Additional Lessons for Exhibit Design and More
EDPA offered some fantastic insight into the conference and event industry at large. While it’s impossible to include everything that was presented and discussed, here are a few key takeaways:
- Paul Teutul Jr. Designs (formerly of Orange County Choppers) recommends visualizing in three dimensions and not being constrained by the page.
- Jonna Menez, whose husband Tony is the central figure portrayed in the movie ‘Argo’, believes in harnessing the power of magic and optical illusions in experiential spaces.
- Jane Gentry says that an authentic leader is vulnerable, transparent, and teachable. Communication and appreciation from authentic leaders, that is honest, consistent, and compassionate, can move employees through the neutral zone and into the new beginning, helping them to discover their purpose and create meaningful work.
- Tout your competitive advantages to protect margins. Sell more than exhibits.
- Ideas are king. Some clients will find money for the big idea!
Condit and the Events Industry
Condit Exhibits strives to be at forefront of the events and exhibitions industry by participating regularly in conferences like EDPA ACCESS, joining associations like EDPA, and attending meetings about the latest trends, technologies, and happenings in our vertical market. Condit can then pass these insights effectively onto our partners and our clients. Supporting these organizations and their events is crucial to keeping our sector robust in the face of changing times.
To learn more about Condit’s industry advocacy, contact us today.