Attendees want more and better access to product experts on the showfloor, according to the latest report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
The study, “What Attendees Want from Exhibitions,” broke interests down into shopping and learning needs, with the former assuming the greatest importance. Seeing new technology received the highest ranking of the 22 possible reasons for attending a tradeshow, while the ability to talk to experts and getting insights on industry trends rounded out the top three.
While 73.6 percent of attendees were satisfied with the availability of product experts, the survey indicated those experts may be doing a poor job of discussing specific technical issues in a timely fashion: Having questions answered on the spot (67.6 percent), finding solutions for existing problems (60.4 percent) and gathering info for upcoming purchases (59.6 percent) were the three least-met attendee needs.
Attendees were more satisfied with learning needs—satisfaction levels were above 70 percent for each reason—though they were deemed less important overall. Gaining insight about industry trends was rated both the most-important and most-satisfied need in the category.
“These results are higher than many shopping needs,” write Jeff Tanner and Nancy Drapeau, authors of the report. “This finding suggests that exhibition organizers are doing a great job, but exhibitors could be doing much better.”
Tanner and Drapeau also identified scouts—attendees who gather and curate information from an exhibition or tradeshow to bring back to a home company—as a new, but increasingly important attendee type.
As gatekeepers, scouts can offer significant multiplier effects for exhibitors, if identified and catered to properly.