Media Releases

Global Recovery Insights 2020 report published

– Latest data from global study shows no evidence of a major customer shift away from live events

– A majority of exhibiting companies expects a fast return to pre-COVID levels of investment into the marketing channel


Paris/London – 20 October 2020: UFI and Explori are today publishing the first edition of the Global Recovery Insights 2020 report, which presents the findings of a global study conducted by live event research specialists, Explori, in partnership with UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and supported by SISO, the Society for Independent Show Organizers.

The study findings, based on more than 9,000 responses from across 30 countries, show that exhibition visitors and exhibitors overwhelmingly prefer live events, and that there is no evidence of a major shift away from face-to-face meetings. Although the intended frequency of participation has dropped for both groups, this is only marginally the case for exhibitors, indicating a clear desire amongst exhibiting companies to return to on-site show floors.

The social aspect of events remains a critical draw for both groups, who rely on live events to create connections within their communities. Study participants, globally, believe that this aspect of events cannot be served effectively by digital events. There is a clear message from visitors that the quality of exhibitors is paramount, while exhibitors are now also valuing visitor quality, over quantity.

There are signs that budgets will also be restored quickly, with 53% of exhibitors expecting their show investments to return to pre-COVID-19 levels within 12 months, while 28% report that their investments will return as soon as trade shows start running again. Whilst funds allocated to live events have been put on hold, overall marketing budgets were yet to see severe cuts as of late summer.

Both visitors and exhibitors will look at their previous experiences when deciding to return to a show. They will turn to show brands they trust to deliver both robust safety measures, and, perhaps more importantly, a high-quality audience.

“This study delivers important insights and reassurance to organisers and the wider industry, as they plan ahead in these uncertain times. It underlines the clear preference and importance of being able to meet in-person to do business, and the desire for both visitors and exhibitors to again meet face-to-face. It also underlines the negative impact all industries are experiencing as a result of industry events not going ahead,” said Kai Hattendorf, CEO and Managing Director at UFI.

Sophie Holt, Managing Director at Explori, added: “On behalf of Explori, UFI and SISO, I would like to thank all of the organisers and partners who participated in the study, making it the largest and, possibly, most-timely we have ever undertaken. I hope it is of value in shaping thinking over the coming months and in supporting those who advocate for the industry. The results are extremely encouraging, and I look forward to sharing more insights over the coming months as the research progresses.”

The full report will be shared with UFI and SISO members in the coming days. Meanwhile, watch the UFI connects session on the Global Recovery Project here.



– Global Recovery Graphic


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UFI Global Congress goes digital from 16 to 19 November

– Live and on-demand sessions, networking and match-making, across all time zones

– Three registration packages available, making this the most accessible UFI Global Congress ever for our global community

– Grip and Glisser announced as partners for the digital delivery of the Congress

Paris – 13 October 2020: UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, confirms that this year’s Global Congress will be a digital-only event, taking place from 16 to 19 November. The event’s main theme is “Resilience”.

“Our members have been telling us they want to connect, learn and have the global UFI community brought together. Since COVID-19 will not allow us to do this face-to-face, we are moving online, to host the most accessible UFI Global Congress ever. Quality content, flexible timings and accessibility – these are the best ways to serve the global UFI community right now,” says Mary Larkin, UFI President and CEO of Diversified Communications USA.


From 16 to 19 November, the Global Congress will host a strong line-up of speakers from across the world to deliver world-class content, while bringing the industry together to network, meet and share experiences. Confirmed speakers include economist Dr. Florence Eid-Oakden, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger (Munich Security Conference), industry leaders Charlie McCurdy (Informa Markets), Carina Bauer (IMEX), Hugh Jones (Reed Exhibitions), Mary Larkin (Diversified Communications) and Simon Kimble (Clarion Events), digital experts Dahlia El Gazzar (DAHLIA + Agency) and Marco Giberti (Vesuvio Ventures), and many others. The programme is growing by the day and is available at


Scheduling has been designed to offer a simple solution to the challenges of hosting a global, digital-only event online. “We have built the programme around prime regional time slots for Asia/Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and the Americas – so people don’t have to be online around the clock to follow the event. Instead, everyone can connect and follow live from their own time zone, and review other sessions on-demand. On top of this, participants can use the platform to network with peers around the world before, during and after the event, at whatever time works best for them,” says Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO at UFI.


Three packages are available for UFI members globally, including single tickets and discounted tickets for groups of five or ten colleagues from an UFI member company. “Budgets are tight everywhere, so we are making it possible to join the Global Congress for as little as €145 per person for group bookings, and €245 for a single registration. We are doing what we can to allow anyone who is interested from our member companies to join the event,” says Sonia Thomas, COO at UFI. Colleagues who registered for the previously planned face-to-face gatherings in Basel and Dubai will be contacted and rebooked based on their preference. Participants can secure their place now at

The home of the digital Global Congress will be an online portal, hosted on the Grip platform, with technology from Glisser embedded. Grip is filling the role of UFI Technology Partner for the event, while Glisser is UFI Digital Event Partner. The platform will go live approximately a week before the start of the Global Congress, allowing participants to become familiar with it and to already begin networking, using the platform’s match-making and scheduling features.

Tim Groot, Grip CEO and co-founder says: “UFI has always pioneered opportunities for engagement across the global exhibition industry, and their monumental efforts to continue their mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have helped to keep the industry galvanised. As social distancing restrictions still err on the side of caution for physical events, UFI are again demonstrating that they are at the forefront of events, by partnering with leading event technology firms. The Grip team are honoured to be part of creating the first fully digital UFI Global Congress, and while I’m sure there will be many learnings from this ambitious plan, we couldn’t be more excited to connect and inspire the global community via our market engagement platform.”

“We’ve supported UFI’s physical events for many years, so it makes total sense to continue this relationship in the new world of digital and hybrid events. We are immensely proud of the virtual event platform we have created, and we’re sure the Global Congress will be another successful global showcase for what both businesses can deliver,” adds Mike Piddock, Founder and CEO of Glisser.

Open to more than 50,000 industry professionals globally who work for UFI member companies, the UFI Global Congress is known as the exhibition industry’s largest global meeting of the year, combining international networking with unique content. It is an opportunity to gain insight into topics of strategic interest, as well as into the trends and challenges that the exhibition industry is currently facing.


– Global Congress Visual

– Grip Logo

– Glisser Logo



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