2019 Trade Shows: The Visitor Experience

Explori surveyed trade show visitors around the world and received a massive 13,000 responses in over 152 countries covering 8 languages. The data retained from the survey provides some great insights on how the industry will be shaped over coming years, uncovering visitors’ new and growing expectations and how venues and organisers need to adapt to overcome the challenges visitors are bringing.

“It doesn’t matter if trade shows are entertaining if I can achieve my business objectives”

This statement was included in the survey and less than half of 25-35-year olds and only 35% of 18-24-year olds agree. This is a massive proportion of attendees – and the future visitor landscape – who want more than just business results. It is clear venues need to provide a unique, memorable and enjoyable experience to retain footfall and entice event managers to use the space again.

88% of CEOs aged 24 and under are much more likely to spend more time at shows that are entertaining.

Venues are already implementing new experience strategies to ‘wow’, engage and meet guests’ expectations. Some tactics include implementing innovative technologies, design trends, state-of-the-art interior, diverse tenant mix, improved car parking facilities, heightened security, commercialisation units, way-finding apps, interactive screens, beacons, additional entrances/exits, the list goes on! Venues are transforming into destinations visitors can enjoy and want to visit irrespective of the event scheduled and are becoming a place that organisers aspire to hold their next event.

42% of visitors under 24 would not attend an event if it did not have a responsible attitude to sustainability.

Global warming issues are becoming increasingly more serious with awareness of human impact on the planet much more widely understood. This had resulted in rapid growth in sustainability importance, forcing venues to implement healthier CSR strategies to align with guest values.

In an interview with Eventbrite, Christopher Cashman, Sales & Events Manager at LSO St Lukes said: “Savvy event professionals will be looking more closely at ways they can reduce their carbon footprint and offset event pollution, especially if they are keen to attract a younger demographic.”

Venues need to consider how they are operating, from waste disposal to lighting to what products they use and sell. Visitors are more serious and conscious about their impact on the environment so to retain footfall and entice new visitors, sustainable strategies need to be implemented and publicised.

Two-thirds of UK organisers are planning on an international launch during the next two years.

Inclusivity is a global trend across all sectors, and it is no different for events and venues. It is crucial all visitors feel welcome regardless of race, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, religion, belief, gender reassignment, civil partnerships, marital status or sexual orientation. The Explori survey highlighted just under one in ten visitors from developed countries felt less welcome, however, in developing markets (Middle East Asia and Africa), one in five felt this way.

Personally, I believe both statistics should be zero! Venues have a massive opportunity to support acceptance and eliminate discrimination. It is crucial, as events grow internationally, venues and event organisers consider all factors to ensure they are appealing and satisfying the needs of the entire audience.

Perfecting the experience for event attendees on a global scale is a constant struggle, especially with visitors growing their expectations and demands. There are plenty of challenges venues are faced with, but all bring exciting opportunities to create new strategies and implement original and diverse campaigns. Looking forward to watching the new placemaking trends unravel this year…

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