As senior director of operations, global exhibitions for Informa Exhibitions, Brian Rubin has 19 years of experience working in the trade show and expo industries. His expertise ranges from registration and management to exhibition, operations and client services. You can call him a jack-of-all-trades.
What are some of the keys to achieving your goals during the event?
The operational goal—the things that transpire behind the scenes, which is the domain I live and breathe in—is to have proper planning, making sure you think through the needs and wants of the audience, knowing the audience and what their expectations are, and having smart, dependable partners. We use a lot of third-party planners who help us with housing, registration, service contractor, floral, etc.
What are some ways Informa gets to know its audience?
We run a customer service group to get constant feedback from what a certain group is looking for and what is expected. Every event is different—the size, location, etc. When pulling those pieces from all your resources—the sales team, customer service group, post-show surveys—you have to use all those tools.
What are some criteria used to select a venue/host destination for events?
We start with the basics of size. We work with the market team to see where
your key exhibitors, concentration of attendees and the demographics of the event are. We look at all those things and decide. We also look at show needs. Is it a manufacturing event where you need to be in a metropolitan city to do tours? We have a couple of large agricultural events. Those are outdoors and we need farmland, so that dictates certain parts of the country. It’s all those things, and sometimes it’s just seeing where people will travel and finding cool locations.
What’s the average attendee number?
It can be anything from a 25-person breakfast conference road show to 100,000-plus for an agriculture event or 125,000 for a consumer-voting event. It’s all over the board.