Well, after a few days to recover from the jetlag and some typical Bank Holiday rain in the UK, it's time to consider what we gathered from RIMS 2015...
As a newbie to the event, everything that people said about it was true – the scale is vast, from both the number of trade booths to the number of delegates – 10,000+! However, the thing that really struck us – apart from the monsoon like rain and the lightning hitting the building, was the focus on ‘meeting’ rather than ‘talking’ – a subtle difference over typical European trade events.
Whilst a large number of exhibitors focused all of the effort and budget on the booths themselves, many of the major players had supplementary areas dedicated to spending time with the clients and prospects – aiming to make the very most of the time available. Whilst we have been working with clients over a number of years in Europe to develop this element, it is clear that it is much more evolved in the US – has this anything to do with the cost of floorspace in UK/Europe, where it is significantly more expensive than the US? Congratulations to Willis for winning Best Booth.
External branding was very much in evidence – from the moment you stepped off the plane to the venue itself, as well as the sponsored transport – thanks to Swiss Re for that, especially with the rain!
In addition, the investment made in hospitality was notably higher there than here, with each trying to add that something extra/different and gaining valuable time with customers and prospects.
All of the above said, one area that did surprise us and one where Europe/UK is ahead is in the area of ‘client engagement’ on the stand and the use of digital platforms to convey information and insight. There were certainly many very large AV screens – Liberty for example, but nothing really that advanced in terms of ‘engaging’ with clients. Lots of brochures, but nothing developed such as Apps etc. Perhaps something that we will see more developed in 2016.
See you in San Diego!!