Exhibit Industry Leaders Work Together to Secure Future

ASAE Foundation, Exhibition Industry Foundation, Freeman, Gaylord Entertainment and PCMA Education Foundation will fund Future Meet project to prepare for the future of trade shows.

CHICAGO, IL — ASAE Foundation, Exhibition Industry Foundation, Freeman, Gaylord Entertainment and PCMA Education Foundation announced today they have joined together to fund a unique industry project, Future Meet, in collaboration with Insight Labs and Manifest Digital, to predict and plan for the future of convention exhibits and trade shows.

Acknowledging the initial exhibit and trade show model was constructed before the internet, email, Google, social media and the expectation of instant gratification, this elite industry group believes there will be negative consequences for the future of exhibits if significant changes are not made in the way the industry currently functions.

According to PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton, FASAE, “The convention exhibits and trade shows professional needs new options. In the original model, buyers had to wait 12, 24 or even 36 months to meet face-to-face with suppliers to seek out new products, solutions and innovations. Those days are long gone. Today, with the click of a few key strokes, buyers can obtain immediate answers and quotes to their queries.”

These funders are focused on the future and believe one size doesn’t fit all. In this, the first phase of the project, we have begun to craft five potential models of the future trade show. The models, currently in development, have been influenced by discussions around the country with numerous industry leaders, association and trade show organizers, and others; in-person and online over the course of several months.

“One of the things ASAE has noticed is how the digital environment brings an added dimension to the attendee experience at trade shows through different expectations about what is delivered, what platforms the experience is delivered through, and in the case of social media, the ability to share their experiences immediately,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE. “By participating in this project, ASAE will be able to discover how the digital environment will impact future trade shows, so that we can inform our members and allow them, and ASAE, the opportunity to plan and incorporate experiences that will enhance attendee experience and overall value.”

IAEE President Steven Hacker, CAE, FASAE, underscored the importance of this project to his members, “as communications channels and society continue to evolve, it becomes more essential than ever that IAEE and its members fully understand how change may usher in new opportunities as well as new realities. One of our principle challenges is to understand how technology may enhance the exhibition experience in the future. The ‘Trade Show of the Future’ may yield valuable new insights that can help lead us along an imprecise path.”

Freeman and Gaylord Entertainment are both passionate and participative supporters of the Future Meet project. “We are firmly committed to discovering the trends, ideas and solutions that will impact trade shows in the future” says Carrie Freeman Parsons, Vice Chair, Freeman. “Our obligation is to ensure the health of trade shows. This project has stimulated creative thinking and idea generation that will enhance the experience for attendees, show organizers and exhibitors.”

Over the next few months, the industry can engage with the project online at http://wheredoesthefuturemeet.com/ as well as at various industry events.

About The ASAE Foundation
The mission of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity of ASAE, is to advance association and nonprofit leadership. It focuses on enhancing knowledge by conducting research and developing existing and new professionals who will lead the profession of association management. The Foundation works to ensure that associations are provided with innovative solutions to manage the challenges and opportunities of the future. For more information, visit www.asaefoundation.org.

About The Exhibition IndustryFoundation
The Exhibition Industry Foundation (EIF) is a non-profit organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The principal purpose of the Foundation is to ensure the success of the exhibition industry as the premiere marketing medium by supporting research and education. More information is available at www.exhibitionfoundation.org.

About Freeman
Since 1927, Freeman has provided customers with comprehensive services for face-to-face marketing events including expositions, conventions, corporate events and exhibits. Headquartered in Dallas, with 70 offices in North America, Freeman produces more than 14,000 special events annually, including more than half of the 200 largest U.S. trade shows. Freeman has the ability to assist customers in all aspects of the trade show process, from set-up to take-down and everything in between. An employee-owned company, Freeman places an emphasis on respect for people, providing unparalleled customer service. Freeman has received numerous awards for excellence in the trade show industry. For more information http://www.freemanco.com.

About Gaylord Entertainment
Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., owns and operates Gaylord Hotels (www.gaylordhotels.com), its network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts and the Grand Ole Opry (www.opry.com), the weekly showcase of country music's finest performers for 85 consecutive years. The company's entertainment brands and properties include the Radisson Hotel Opryland, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM-AM. For more information about the company, visit www.GaylordEntertainment.com.

About Insight Labs
Insight Labs is a foundation leveraging the best and brightest to solve intractable challenges facing international NGOs, domestic non-profits, government agencies and businesses working for the common good. Launched in 2010, Insight Labs has enlisted hundreds of senior executives, entrepreneurs, academics and artists in unconventional philanthropic projects to develop new models, programs and practices. Insight Labs is a partner with or member of the leading innovation and public interest organizations, including TED and the Clinton Global Initiative.

About Manifest Digital
Manifest is a next-generation interactive agency with a unique ability to spark lively conversation, connection and exchange. We apply a multi-dimensional technique that results in clear and powerful insights. Our perspective is honest and unbiased helping people and companies connect in more meaningful ways.

About PCMA Education Foundation
The role of the PCMA Education Foundation is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on education and research that will benefit the meetings and conventions industry. Established in 1985, the Foundation supports educational programs to improve professionalism in the meetings industry and to provide a university-level meeting management curriculum. The Foundation provides educational programs for meeting managers, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, and other members of the meetings industry. It also conducts ongoing research of industry issues and concerns. The Foundation continually designs and creates new programs to encourage the highest levels of professionalism in the meetings industry. Learn more at www.pcma.org/foundation.