Attracting New Attendees to Your Trade Show

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newly released study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research offers some insight into what you can do to ensure your first-time attendees have a good experience at your meeting, and the same holds true for your long time attendees. But before you can focus on their onsite experience, you need to get them excited and interested enough to register, right? What’s an association to do?

The study asked 421 exhibition attendees whether they expected their exhibition attendance to increase, decrease, or stay the same in the coming year. Fifteen percent said that their exhibition attendance would increase and that they do not necessarily attend the same exhibitions every year, making them representative of potential new attendees.


To sum it up, they’re executives who attend lots of tradeshows—and who have the power to make purchasing decisions. Sounds like an audience any association, as well as its exhibitors, would definitely welcome to its expo.



The study concluded that attendees decide to go to an exhibition for the first time if they can trust it “to deliver the best experience to connect face to face with colleagues and gather information they need to help them make successful business decisions.”

The consideration they listed as most important in deciding whether to attend an event is its reputation, followed closely by the ability to network with other colleagues and to obtain specific information for issues and decisions they are currently facing. Quality of speakers and value for the money also were in the top six.

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On the other hand, least-important considerations were the ability to purchase products onsite, ability to earn continuing-education credits, and attractive locations. The survey featured respondents across industries, and it’s likely that continuing education would rank higher for certain association meeting attendees, but the ability to connect face to face and get solutions to problems are things most association meeting attendees are looking to do.