Research: People Want Learning Opportunities At Tradeshows!

Best of Events 2011

Many (exhibition) attendees have dual needs for attending: shopping (69%) and learning (66%). ~ CEIR, What Attendees Want From Exhibitions, February 4, 2013

They come to your tradeshow with very real learning needs related to their own personal and professional development.

If you are not integrating more education experiences within and at your tradeshow, you are missing a valuable opportunity to reach more exhibition attendees.

50% Of Top Needs Included Learning

The CEIR report demonstrated that exhibition attendees felt 50% of their top ten most important tradeshow needs included learning experiences that provide:

  1. Industry Trend Insight

  2. Professional Networking

  3. To Better Job Performance

  4. Personal Development

  5. Seminars/Speakers

The findings suggest that many tradeshows are doing a good job at providing learning opportunities (70% or more) but they could be doing better. Let’s remember that in America, a 70% is one point above failing. In my opinion, tradeshow organizers could do a much better job at intentionally providing better learning opportunities to meet their top attendee needs.

Exhibition Learning Experiences Attract Attendees

Similarly, the CEIR report, Attracting Attendees, April 2, 2013 demonstrates that selecting and registering for show learning activities is the most common pre-exhibition planning activity. Second to selecting education sessions is searching the exhibition directory and registering for special events.

These two pre-exhibition activities mirror the previous report, What Attendees Want From Exhibitions, with shopping and learning as their dual needs for attending.

Providing quality education experiences as part of the exhibition mix is a factor in securing attendance and maximizing pre-registration show-up rates.

In the CEIR Report, Trends In Use Of Exhibitions, November 8, 2012, respondents cited the need to achieve education objectives as their reason to increase attendance in their near term at tradeshows. To learn about products/services and job opportunities was less important than learning about innovations in the industry and personal and professional development.

Exhibition Organizers Need To Focus On Learning Experiences

Clearly tradeshow attendees value education experiences during the exhibition. They want to find solutions to their pressing needs and issues in addition to finding products and services.

Show organizers should encourage exhibitors to consider offering learning opportunities in their booths that are not directly tied to their products and services. If exhibitors will find ways to actually help attendees learn and grow professionally, they will be seen as thought leaders and stand out in attendees minds.

Offering more learning experiences on the show floor not directly tied to specific products and services is one clear way to meet attendees’ needs. Learning lounges, learning quarters, app arcades, BYOD sessions and more of some of the ways some organizers are meeting their attendees’ needs.

What are some learning experiences that you’ve seen on show floors recently? What are some ways organizers and exhibitors can offer learning opportunities on the tradeshow floor?

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