New Research Series Helps Trade Show Organizers Court Repeat Attendees

Attendees who return to trade shows time and again are more likely than first- or one-time attendees to be senior executives with purchasing influence in their organization. They're therefore a key target for exhibitors, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which last week launched a new research series designed to help trade show organizers cultivate a loyal fan base of repeat visitors.

The "2016 Attendee Retention Insights" series consists of five reports, the first of which -- "Part One: Basics for Creating Your Attendee Retention Strategy: Tracking, Profile, and Why They Come Back" -- was published Thursday.

"This study series offers organizers a resource to help them benchmark their attendee retention efforts with industry norms or a guide post on how to start attendee retention efforts," said CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey. "This series explores how exhibition organizers engage in attendee retention efforts and provides profile data on repeat/loyal attendees or alumni, in addition to what motivates them to visit a specific exhibition repeatedly."

According to "Part One," 77 percent of top-ranked exhibition organizers track attendee retention. Among those that do, 98 percent track it on a per attendee basis and 48 percent on a per attendee organization basis.

The most popular definition of "retention" applies to those who attend at least two of the past four editions of an exhibition, according to CEIR, which reports that 81 percent of trade show organizers who track individual-attendee retention use this definition, as do 86 percent who track attendee-organization retention. Based on this definition, average trade show retention rates are 58.9 percent per attendee and 65.8 percent per attendee organization.

Future installments of the "2016 Attendee Retention Insights" series will explore what generates loyalty among attendees and how event organizers can motivate them to return on a regular basis. To be published in the next several months, remaining reports are:

• Part Two: Exhibition Floor Features that Build a Loyal Alumni Attendee Audience
• Part Three: Education Content that Builds a Loyal Alumni Attendee Audience
• Part Four: Special Activities and Amenities that Build a Loyal Alumni Attendee Audience
• Part Five: Eleven Real-world Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizer Attendee Retention Approaches

Reports from the series are available for download from CEIR's website.

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