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Mark Shashoua on the transformation Hyve Group (formerly ITE).

CEO Mark Shashoua and his team at Hyve Group have successfully transformed the fortunes of ITE (now Hyve) in an incredibly short space of time. But, how is this possible when revenues had plummeted by 11 per cent per annum since 2013 despite delivering industry-leading margins, through cost-cutting and withheld investment?

On arriving at the business in September 2016, Shashoua knew he had a challenge on his plate. Exhibitors wanted shows that delivered a better return on investment (ROI) and visitors were demanding improved experiences with more choice from a larger pool of exhibitors. It was simply not enough to operate as a single-minded trading platform. 

Shashoua decided that the only way to survive and grow was to run market-leading events, thus he announced a new vision: “to create the world’s leading portfolio of content driven must-attend events that deliver an outstanding experience and return on investment for our customers.” 

As a result, the Transformation and Growth programme (TAG) was created.

What is TAG?

The TAG programme involved three pillars, Shashoua explains: “We needed to create a scalable platform to generate organic growth; actively manage our portfolio; and make product-led acquisitions to leverage our scalable platform in order to accelerate growth.” 

Since announcing TAG back in May 2017, we put investment back into the business in order to create that scalable platform.

A new management team has been put in place over the past three years, which allowed us to centralise our operating model and instil operational rigour across our core shows. This was done by recruiting heads of best practice and rolling out best practice blueprints.”

Hyve also invested in its core shows, giving them stronger content to boost attendance and enhance experience. They introduced a strategic review, pre- and post-show to analyse and create a roadmap for growth.

Shashoua adds: “To drive new business, we also rolled out a systematic lead generation process based on an analysis of the market. We also introduced our first ever Customer Service team to enable exhibitors to market themselves effectively at our events. 

“We also invested in our people by upskilling and incentivising our sales teams to create a performance-based culture. New marketing, CRM and HR systems give us a single view of our customers and people worldwide for the very first time. We will be rolling out Enterprise Resource Planning across our finance function to provide us with better management information.”

Hyve Group has reported a seven per cent increase in revenue to £220.7m for 2019. The company has also reported a statutory profit before tax increase to £8.7m (2018: loss of £3.7m). Headline profit before tax increased to £50.4m (2018: £35.4m), a 42% increase on last year.

The company also attributes a strong performance to the completion and integration of Ascential Events and Mining Indaba, strengthened portfolio with the sale of 56 non-core Russian events and the closure of 24 small Russian and Central Asian events during the year, and successful delivery of the transformation element of the TAG programme (a more centralised operating model from a decentralised federal organisation). 

TAG has fundamentally transformed the business to a more balanced international presence from an emerging markets focus. 

What makes Hyve different? 

Shashoua explains that by scaling back the number of shows and building on market leading brands, he has, in effect, built a more profitable and robust business with significantly improved ROI.

Shashoua adds: “We have a centralised operating model and we are the only event company to run events exactly the same way, wherever they are. This has been challenging, of course, but we now have a scalable operating platform that can deliver events of a consistently high standard. 

“Notably, we have invested in our business which means we are well-placed to benefit in difficult conditions. “Mosbuild demonstrates this: despite a decline in the construction industry in Russia, its revenue has grown 50 per cent over the last three years as a result of TAG and by increasing our customer market share through putting on the best shows.”

Hyve’s new approach has seen a significant improvement in their key commercial KPIs for the Top 10 events that have received TAG investment. Research is strong with customer and visitor satisfaction up significantly year on year, the group says.

Shashoua concludes “We’ve not only returned Hyve to sustainable growth, we’ve created a world-class operational platform, we’ve streamlined a much stronger portfolio comprising fewer events that are bigger and better.” 

This article recently featured in Exhibition News magazine. For more content like this, click here.

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