Improved Technology for the Trade Show Industry Propels ExhibitForce
EventsInAmerica.com (EIA) spoke with Gwen Hill, Senior Vice President, Business Development for ExhibitForce at the ExhibitorLive conference in Las Vegas.
EIA: Tell us about ExhibitForce. What’s the brand story?
Hill: We started 12 years ago providing event and project management technology for the industry, giving customers a better solution from the Excel spreadsheets and the many other programs they were using at the time to try to manage events. Our product started with inventory management, and since then has grown to full-blown project management, CRM and all the way through to accounting – but all specifically designed for the tradeshow industry. We’ve provided over a half-million projects. We’ve shipped over a half-million shipments. And 1.6 million shipped items have gone out through our system.
When you say ‘projects,’ what do you mean?
Anything related to an event. So for a standard event from the exhibit house side, companies have to do estimating, proposals, work orders, change orders – ExhibitForce handles all of that for them. On the client side, through the client portal, ExhibitForce handles everything from staffing, housing, budgets, expenses – everything event organizers need to do – all the way through to the full measurement of the show, including lead capture.
What problems does ExhibitForce solve for the client?
It centralizes their data. It reduces the redundancies that companies have to go through. So for instance, if you participate in the same shows year after year, you don’t have to re-enter the same data each year. You can simply hit ‘copy’ and then update, as needed. On the exhibit house side, they can use the project management function to forecast what projects will be happening. This improves cash flow and helps them better determine what their upcoming year will look like.
You’ve made some product enhancements recently.
Yes. For asset management, we’ve added barcoding. Now, our customers can use any type of scanner, including smart phones, with our program. For client management, we’ve added more business intelligence. We’ve taken lead data and can process it, showing everything from event spend by division, staff members, inventory – the whole measurement.
There are a number of technology companies out there. Why ExhibitForce?
We’re designed specifically for the industry and have been the leading provider for both sides of the market – the exhibit house and the client. A lot of other companies focus on one or the other. We bridge that gap and bring the collaboration to both sides, because they have to work together. So in order to make these shows successful for everyone, we support the entire process.
What’s your prognosis for 2015?
Currently in Q1, we are absolutely ahead of last year – and last year was a record year for us. I think this year will be another record year.
Change of direction now. What was the best business or career advice you ever received?
As a female in this industry and trying to approach exhibit house companies, two of the things I was told: 1) Don’t let them bully you, and 2) You have plenty of stories to tell. Tell your story. Tell the story of how the technology has supported you in your role as an account manager for an exhibit house and what it has done for the clients.
What else would our readers want to know about ExhibitForce?
Our average employee tenure is 5 years. I think that speaks a lot about our company culture. We are here to make things happen and the forward-thinking of everyone on the team is super exciting. We’re always working to come up with new ways to help our clients. We listen to our clients and take action on those things that will help support them and make them the heroes.
EventsInAmerica.com is a comprehensive directory of tradeshows, conferences, meetings and conventions in the USA and Canada. Search for free to find extensive details on thousands of upcoming shows. Add your event at no charge to get higher visibility, promotional value and leads from potential exhibitors and attendees. Click here to see an example of an event listing.