Although planners do value industry conferences and trade shows, most aren't attending as many as in the past, according to an M&C survey of 180 respondents in late July. Ninety-three percent identified industry shows as either extremely important or somewhat important, but two-thirds will attend fewer shows this calendar year. What's more, 19 percent don't plan to go to any industry shows this year, whereas only 8 percent typically don't attend any.
The economic climate, not surprisingly, plays a significant role. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents are attending fewer shows because it isn't economically viable to go to more, or because their companies have cut back. More than one-fifth (22 percent) simply can't spare the time.
Most respondents (83 percent) attend shows primarily for the educational seminars. Making new supplier contacts (66 percent), meeting with familiar contacts (56 percent) and making new peer connections (53 percent) also were common objectives.
Interestingly, 43 percent of planners would like to see meetings industry associations consolidate and colocate their shows.