By 26 July 2017, the Association of African Organisers (AAXO) had gained more than 20 Associate members which resulted in major benefits for the new members, as well as the strengthening of the African exhibition industry at large, following the launch of its Associate membership offering less than two months ago. Despite the fact they are often overlooked, these suppliers, service companies and venues now have a voice and additional credibility – thanks to their association with AAXO as champion of credibility and professionalism in the industry.
Members of the media, association representatives and prominent exhibition venues, suppliers, service companies and venues were in attendance at the launch last month, coinciding with Global Exhibitions Day 2017. Since then, AAXO has continued to exhibit its pioneering focus on uplifting often neglected sections of the industry to drive overall growth and credibility for businesses and the industry as a whole.
In conjunction, AAXO has been intentional about organising various B2B events such as the first Supplier/Organiser “open conversation” sessions, the Exhibition of Exhibitions (EoE) in 2018, International Safety Training and the AAXO ROAR Awards to acknowledge excellence in the exhibition industry.
A recent industry survey by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI)1 reported that 67 percent of companies surveyed in the Middle East and Africa intended to focus on developing new activities. This was either in the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organiser/services), other live or virtual events, or in both. This is where AAXO believes its Associate Membership adds value.
Chairperson of AAXO, Carol Weaving explains: “Bridging the gap by bringing organisers together with suppliers, service companies and venues to air concerns, review current exhibition practices and share knowledge, has lasting benefits for the businesses involved. It also grows the exhibition industry. These types of events build networks crucial for sustainable businesses in South Africa and in many cases help them improve on what they are doing well already.”
As one of the most measurable of all media and the most direct form of marketing, exhibitions have proved to be a sector with phenomenal potential for marketers and advertising agencies marketing their clients’ products. The benefits of exhibiting include increased brand awareness, face-to-face meetings with customers, networking opportunities, knowledge-sharing and a place where real business is conducted and measured.
With the rise of the middle-class in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa, the number of shows and the amount of international interest has skyrocketed and with it, the need for excellence in all areas of exhibiting – another reason for AAXO’s move to include suppliers, service companies and venues.
AAXO’s members and associate members have to comply with a strict code of conduct in order to be classified as “AAXO-Approved” members, suppliers or venues. In turn, they reap a list of benefits including their participation in the EoE at a nominal fee, a short promotional video, mediation services, marketing across all AAXO’s channels and most prominently, the mark of excellence AAXO offers to its members. This places them at a strategic advantage against their competitors to reach their growth objectives.
Carol said: “The response has been fantastic. We have received queries from as far afield as Morocco. We have also partnered with Tsogo Sun to provide our current and associate members with preferential rates for accommodation during exhibitions.
“We are delighted to welcome the associate members who have completed our application and vetting process successfully, include: Efam Exhibitions, Barmotion, 3D Shell, TwoWay Exhibitions and Events, Brand Exhibition and Productions, Scan Display, Basilmin and GL Events South Africa. We look ahead to a successful partnership and the growth of these businesses and the exhibition industry in size and credibility.”