Do Technology and Educational Opportunities Boost Tradeshow Effectiveness?

[We’re pleased to welcome Rohit Verma who collaborated with HyunJeong (Spring) Han on their article “Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.]

Tradeshows remain more important than ever in the internet age. Our paper “Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” finds that people attend tradeshows for the classic reasons of making business contacts and gaining new knowledge. But technology and sustainability have added new elements to the tradeshow equation.

cqx coverThe paper outlines the reasons given by 2,527 exhibitors and attendees for their tradeshow participation and also examines some of the ways that technology and sustainability have augmented tradeshows. We found that exhibitors and attendees have quite different reasons for participating in a tradeshow. Exhibitors are focused on selling or demonstrating their products and meeting qualified buyers. On the other hand, attendees are seeking educational opportunities. Since product demonstrations are a part of that education process, the tradeshow can be an effective way to meet both sets of goals.

Technology is increasingly used to improve the efficiency of that meeting and education process. For example, many events have an app that allows participants to schedule meetings with each other or to connect people with common interests. And, of course, most tradeshows have wi-fi, video displays, an internet café, and mobile apps. In general, the participants appreciate the availability of technology that helps them make the most of the tradeshow.

Event organizers are aware of the push for sustainability in the hospitality industry, and many tradeshows have an on-site recycling program, virtual collateral to cut down the amount of paper flyers, and reusable and environmentally friendly display materials. In addition, many operate in LEED-certified facilities. While sustainability options at tradeshows does not increase the likelihood of attendance, it significantly improves customer satisfaction for those who do attend the event.


“Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly can be read for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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