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Attendee ROI Playbook Series

Background on the Study

A random sampling of B2B exhibition organizers from the CEIR Census was pulled to generate an attendee sample for this project. A total of 21 exhibition organizers in the United States and Canada agreed to participate, with a Attendee ROI Playbook minimum of one event per sector, with the exception of Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment. Despite the absence of exhibition participation for this sector, the attendee sample includes a cross-section of professionals across all 14 CEIR industry sectors. Fielding of the survey occurred in April and May of 2018.

A total of 3,719 qualified attendees responded to the invitation to participate in the study, a response rate of three percent. Total results have been weighted to reflect the distribution of attendance by industry sector per the CEIR Index to make results projectable to attendees in general. Total survey results are accurate at the 99% confidence level, carrying a very small margin of error, 2.1% or less.


Many thanks to the PCMA Education Foundation and International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) for sponsoring this landmark research. All reports released in this study series are available at no charge.

See the collection of reports in this series on the CEIR Store.

Part One: Decision to Attend and Factors Driving Attendee ROI/Value

This report documents 22 different metrics used by survey participants to assess the value of attending by pinpointing which are most popular, how users determine an event performed to their expectations and where they feel B2B exhibitions deliver the best value/ROI against each specific metric.

Part Two: B2B Exhibitions Top-ranked for Value in Meeting Business Information & Purchasing Decision Needs

This report explores the range of sources that business professionals who attend business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions relied upon to meet their business information and purchasing decision needs and documents the B2B exhibition channel’s rank as a valued source in meeting their needs compared to all other primary sources relied upon.

Part Three: Pre-Planning and Tracking Activities – Impact on Perceived ROI/Value of Attending

This report documents the positive effects pre-event planning and tracking activities have on an attendee’s opinion of a B2B exhibition they attend and evaluates the impact these activities have on attendee Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

Part Four: Attendance Today and 2019-2020 Outlook

This report documents the volume of attendance to business-to-business exhibitions in the past two years and plans for the near-term future, as well as reasons for these future plans. It also provides advice offered by attendees on how B2B exhibitions can be enhanced to further increase the value of their attendee experience.

Part Five: Generational Differences and Similarities

This report summarizes all aspects in the 2018 Attendee ROI study, pinpointing how the value proposition for attending varies and is the same generationally.

Part Six: Gender Differences and Similarities

Take a deep dive look at how gender influences what men and women strive to achieve at B2B exhibitions, how they navigate an event and what they value most. This 21-page report provides an analysis of attendees by gender including workforce profile; decision-making process for attending; metrics used to determine value/ROI of attending and attendee job level and job function to name a few.

Part Seven: Where Value and Metrics Vary by Event Size

This report provides an analysis of how attendee preferences and behaviors vary by an event’s size.