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Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the release of the final report in the CEIR Digital Toolkit series. The new report, entitled Focus Report on Exhibition Organizer Onsite and Post-event Offerings provides an in-depth look at attendee preferences compared to business-to-business exhibition offerings for show mobile apps, as well as other onsite digital amenities and post-event digital communications.

CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM notes, “Results in this report indicate exhibition organizers are doing well in providing a number of digital amenities that help attendees plan, stay on schedule and connect with each other. They are also doing well in terms of how they communicate with attendees post-event. However there are gaps, opportunities for organizers to do an even better job to maximize an attendee’s experience. Insights in this report help pinpoint how. Examples include attendee demand to make purchases through their mobile devices, the ability to register for special events and other offerings on-premise.

“Another area of opportunity is using attendee tracking technology to personalize the attendee experience. Today, few organizers are using it. This research reveals many attendees are comfortable with the use of this technology on the exhibition floor, particularly if it delivers value to them. A demand for personalized experiences will inevitably grow as they are offered these opportunities regularly in their everyday lives. Target Cartwheel, a new mobile app, is just one example of a retailer customizing coupon offers to a customer’s profile. When will we see such experimentation in our industry?”

CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC notes, “This report is the final report to be published in the Digital Toolkit series. We are pleased to offer these reports which provide business-to-business exhibition organizers and exhibitors with benchmarks they can use to evaluate their practices to industry norms and see how well they align with the preferences of today’s attendees. This activity helps assure organizers and exhibitors are making the right digital investments to reach and effectively engage attendees.”

Several key findings from this focus report:

  • Eighty-seven percent of organizers offer a mobile app and seven percent plan to for their next exhibition. Organizers say on average, 42 percent of attendees download an app they offer. This result compares very closely to the percentage of attendees that say they typically download a mobile app offered by an organizer, 44 percent.

WHERE MOBILE APP OFFERINGS ALIGN WITH TOP RANKED ATTENDEE PREFERENCES: Organizer mobile apps do well in meeting most of the top-ranked, important features mobile app users want, those ranked by 70 percent or more of these attendees, including:

  • Searchable exhibitor/product directory
  • Review of education sessions
  • Interactive map features
  • Create a schedule
  • Find location of general or education sessions
  • Receive alerts/reminders

WHERE ORGANIZERS CAN DO BETTER: Ability to complete transactions – register for education sessions or special events

  • Nearly half, 47 percent, of exhibition organizers do not use attendee tracking technology. The largest percentage, 15 percent, use the technology for 10 percent or fewer of the events they run or manage.
  • As reported previously, results on a question posed to attendees suggest there is a level of comfort with the use of attendee tracking technology. A majority of attendees, (very comfortable 21 percent, and 29 percent comfortable) are at ease with the use of technology to track attendee movement on the show floor; while 31 percent are neutral, they do not have strong feelings either way.  

In addition to the findings highlighted above, this report provides a comparison of attendee preferences to organizer offerings for:

  • Other resources, besides a show mobile app, made available to help attendees plan and stay on schedule.
  • Other on-premise digital amenities, such as free wifi, charging stations, ability to download speaker presentations, ability to see product that may be of interest based on an attendee’s profile, interactive screens at new product showcase or demo areas, access to live or delayed feeds of general or educations sessions, among other offerings.
  • Post-event communication methods.

This report also details unique attendee preferences by age, gender, industry sector, role in purchasing decisions, organizational size, and frequency of attending exhibitions, in addition to reporting overall results.

Special recognition and thanks goes out to Global Experience Specialists (GES) and Feathr for their financial contributions to this study.

Click here to download Focus Report on Exhibition Organizer Onsite and Post-event Offerings. The three other reports published in this series include:

BACKGROUND ON METHODOLOGY
This study involves research from the vantage point of attendees, exhibitors and exhibition organizers. Online survey research was conducted in the summer of 2015. A nationally representative sample of 421 business-to-business exhibition attendees was generated using ResearchNow’s online business panel. Qualified executives at organizations that run or manage business-to-business exhibitions, belonging to IAEE, SISO and PCMA were invited to participate in the organizer study, generating a sample of 194 executives. For the brand marketer perspective, sample from Exhibitracs and Global Experience Specialists was used, to which a total of 186 qualified executives responded.

About CEIR
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

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Media Inquiries:
Mary Tucker
+1(972) 687-9226
mtucker@ceir.org