People are tired of the Vienna Opera and the Eiffel Tower. Yes, we are far away from Europe, yes, we are far away from the USA, but we are amazing and interesting
Q: What are the main goals and objectives of the Ekaterinburg Expo?
First of all, we work on the recognition of our region and on the expansion of its business contacts and tourist attractiveness. Ekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk region are making great efforts in this direction. Therefore, our tasks are built into the general system of promoting the region and the city: working with international event customers, organizing concerts of world stars and celebrity performances, positioning at global events among industry professionals.
Q: Why do you think meeting planners should choose Ekaterinburg as their next destination for events?
MICE-industry is rapidly developing. Traditional destinations become outdated and cannot offer modern solutions, new products in accommodation. It will sound pompous, but people are tired of the Vienna Opera and the Eiffel Tower. Our city has devoted a lot of time to creating infrastructure, preparing new type of entertainment programs. Yes, we are far away from Europe, yes, we are far away from the USA, but we are amazing and interesting.
Q: What role does Ekaterinburg Expo play in promoting tourism for the city?
Our facility today is designed for business travelers from around the world and regional tourists. Our development strategy, of course, implies that we want to attract world-class entertainment, but this is a medium-term perspective. So far we are the largest Russian exhibition and congress center beyond Moscow. That is, if you want to do something in Russia, then we are the best regional facility that has several advantages relative to the capital: there are no traffic jams, internal logistics are simpler, procedures are easier, infrastructure is more compact. Therefore, our center is attractive for business. Occupancy rate is constantly growing as evidenced by following events:
- 8-11 July 2019 – International Industrial Fair INNOPROM which is annually held in Ekaterinburg since 2010
- 9-11 July 2019 – Second Global Manufacturing & Industrialization Summit (GMIS)
- 29 October – 1 November 2019 – the World Cities Day 2019 – UN-Habitat
- 7-21 September 2019 – Ekaterinburg 2019 World Boxing Championships
Q: Where are you focusing your marketing efforts in 2020?
Our principal interest is the business event segment. There are three key areas.
The first one is congress events. In this segment we focus on attracting the Russian federal events, as well as on increasing the visibility and appeal of our venue and territory for organizers of rotated international events.
The second one is the exhibition segment. It is more complex at the regional level due to a number of reasons – in particular, because of its centralization around procurement centers, significant fragmentation of events on major topics, the dominance of outdated formats – but there are opportunities for development in it, associated with the integration of activities by building point partnerships, as well as the inclusion of interactive and entertainment elements of the program.
And the third one is a segment of corporate events where we expect increasing the interest in our venue due to the fact that a new congress center was put in service. The infrastructure of the congress center now allows us to hold high-quality corporate events of various formats and for an audience of various numbers.
But, of course, the scale of our new congress center suggests a significant increase in revenue from mass entertainment events. Today we are able to receive from one thousand to 15 thousand people, and there are no analogs for us from 2.5 thousand people in the Urals market. The entertainment element is increasingly in demand even by participants in business events, not to mention the residents of Ekaterinburg, the Sverdlovsk region and the nearest regions, for whom the Ekaterinburg-EXPO presents a unique opportunity to take part into the various concerts, sports and entertainment projects of a federal and international scale. We are working with all major concert operators at the country level, and on the other hand, we are developing the capabilities of our venue in providing services to end visitors: food, transportation, VIP service.
Q: How do you see Russia’s meetings industry right now?
We see that congress and exhibition activity today is a truly sought-after instrument of economic policy. We see the efforts that have been made in the past few years at the federal level, at the regional level for the development of Russia’s meeting industry: specialized development institutions are being created, major international events are being held with the support of national government and with the direct participation of top management, or almost every region is being built or declared its intention to construct event infrastructure objects. And we understand that the volume of the market, which is now, does not correspond to its real potential at all. All meeting industry experts agree with us.
And, of course, there are enough constraints that impede the development of the Russia’s meeting industry at an adequate pace: the lack of full legal regulation, outdated work approaches and the low quality of services offered by large number of industry players, especially in regional markets, and a shortage of qualified personnel in the labor market. Organization of exhibition activities is an ambitious task, requiring highly qualified staff and well-coordinated teamwork of partners and suppliers. The Ekaterinburg-EXPO is aware of this not by hearsay, because it acts not only as the owner of the venue, but also as a direct participant in the organization of events, providing a full range of services to its guests and implementing its own projects.
Q: Where do you see the Ekaterinburg Expo in the future?
The main priority of the Ekaterinburg-EXPO has always been and currently is to maintain the highest standards of exhibition and congress activities aimed at creating a positive user experience for each of the participants and achieving maximum efficiency for the organizers, operators and participants of events.
As a joint-stock company with state participation we consider following tasks as the most important in order to develop exhibition and fair activities: increase in the investment potential of the region, support to state programs in the development of the economy, production and the social sphere.
Of course, to realize our ambitious plans into reality we have to solve in the medium term such tasks as digitizing user experience and production processes,
building a developed partner network with international exhibition operators, academic and business leaders, developing hybrid formats for events, as well as mechanisms how to collaborate by organizing various events and how to integrate into the program most attractive business and entertainment elements.
Thank you for your attention and welcome to the Ekaterinburg-EXPO!