Tradeshows have just experienced the highest quarterly increase in eight years says the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
The Q1 2015 CEIR Index report marks the 19th consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth in the exhibitions arena. Revenue jumped 7.3 percent, net square feet grew 4.1 percent, exhibitor numbers increased 3.3 percent, and attendance grew 3.7 percent.
How does your exhibition stack up? If you’re like any of the B2B conferences that we’ve analyzed, you are probably underperforming in comparison. Don’t fret. We think that the CEIR Index may be getting a boost from mega-shows.
Your Expo Glass Ceiling
If your expo has hit a glass ceiling, these factors may be to blame:
1. Buying Has Changed
Procurement practices that reduce the number of preferred suppliers, coupled with buyers doing more online research, have reduced the amount of tire kicking.
2. Exhibitors Need Less Space
Instead of displaying physical products, companies are doing more digital demonstrations.
3. Exhibit ROI Is Difficult To Measure
Other digital-marketing alternatives provide quantifiable metrics. Face-to-face value can be measured. But its real value is more of a gut feeling.
Two Healthy Exhibition Factors
In my opinion, there are two primary factors that contribute to healthy exhibitions:
• Anchor-exhibitor performance
• Exhibit-company retention.
Tactics To Protect And Grow Your Show Floor
Here are four tactics for protecting and potentially growing your show floor.
1. Conduct advance on-site booth sales for your next event.
A growing trend for show organizers is to presell their top 20 or so anchor companies 13–14 months out. This further accelerates on-site booth sales and allows you to invest more time in selling new exhibitors.
2. Adjust your priority-points system to better influence behavior/spend.
We recommend that your priority-points system goes back for only the past three consecutive years. Instead of earning points on booth-space purchases only, be sure to award points for sponsorship and promotional-opportunity spend. It’s a huge advantage for exhibitors to earn the privilege to choose their location before their biggest competitor at any decent show.
3. Increase your islands.
A show with only 10’ x 10’ or inline booths is pretty unimpressive. Consider developing concepts to get some 20’ x 20’ islands on the show floor. We’ve seen some organizers charge a lower bulk-space rate for displaying large pieces of equipment, conducting demonstrations, or creating private hospitality or deal- making spaces.
4. Deliver on audience.
Ask each exhibitor to provide you with the top 10 clients or prospects that they’d like to see on the show floor. Develop attendee-acquisition campaigns to attract them. Report back to each exhibitor on your efforts and success.
What are some other ways to multiply ways for suppliers to invest in your event? What trends are you seeing that help foster your exhibition growth?
Adapted from Dave’s Forward Thinking column in PCMA’s Convene. Reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. ©2015