A Look at Current Trade Show Trends
By Robert Gilbert President & CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Int. (HSMAI) | August 21, 2011
Our organization is always working to meet our partners' needs in order to help them reach their business goals. It's important for us to be watching trade trends and making sure we're at the forefront of our industry. With more than 20 years of success with connecting planners and suppliers at trade shows, we understand the importance of monitoring these trends and incorporating them into conferences to best meet the needs of our attending exhibitors and planners.
Our association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights and expertise through programs such as our conference and trade show series, HSMAI's MEET, which we've recently rebranded to be able to provide the best possible experience for attendees. Along the way, and with our National event coming in September, we've taken a deeper look at current conference and expo trends.
The following includes current trade show trends we're observing and experiencing:
- Increased pressure on exhibitors to demonstrate ROI
- Attracting attendees who are time impoverished to attend
- Greater difficulty of securing attention of attendees at expo booths
- Increasing costs of exhibiting and producing a trade show
For the past few years, businesses across all industries have been forced to examine their return on investment (ROI), and that is especially the case in the trade show and exposition world. Exhibitors have been pressured to ensure that they have a meaningful ROI at each and every event they attend. Without the ability to prove significant ROI, exhibitors have a difficult time seeing the value of spending their staff's time and resources at a trade show.
With the aim of helping exhibitors make their goals a reality, trade shows across the board are offering more options to connect exhibitors with potential prospects in order to develop stronger business leads, which ultimately leads to stronger ROI. While the quantity of business cards that can be collected at any trade show is usually very significant, what's important after the show is the quality of those contacts and the potential of doing business with those contacts. Volumes of databases are available for anyone to prospect from; the face-to-face time at a trade show is where those prospects can turn into relationships and ultimately confirmed business.