Publication Date

8-2014

Abstract

Tradeshows and conventions continue to thrive in the twenty-first century, both for information exchanges and direct selling, but numerous forces have meant changes in show operation and in participants’ selection criteria for attendance. A study of more than 2,500 tradeshow exhibitors and attendees document a clear bifurcation in the reasons for attendance in these two groups. Exhibitors are primarily focused on business and contact development, whereas participants seek a unique experience and are motivated heavily by educational goals. Successful tradeshows will need to satisfy both of these complementary sets of goals. The effects of social media and mobile technology on tradeshows are noticeable but still in flux, as many shows increasingly use virtual methods for information exchange and contact development. Environmental sustainability has become important to both exhibitors and attendees, and budgetary constraints continue to be an issue. Not only are there differences in relative preferences of exhibitors and attendees, but subgroups within each category also show different tradeshow criteria, based on age, frequency of tradeshow visits, career stage, and their technology readiness.

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© Cornell University. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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