by Art Pfenning | November 01, 2004

chartMeetings and incentives industry associations spend a lot of time and money organizing trade shows highlighting destinations, products and services. To gauge planner interest in these events, M&C conducted an online poll in October. Of the 367 people who answered, more than half (57 percent) attend industry trade shows. 
    Among the 209 respondents who participate in shows, the most popular are the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Affordable Meetings (50 percent), Meeting Professionals
International’s annual trade shows (39 percent) and The Motivation Show (25 percent).
    On average, 4.1 exhibitors contact planners about scheduling a meeting during the show, but only 12 percent of these conversations actually turn into a face-to-face meeting. This does not mean, however, that planners are averse to making appointments. In fact, 91 percent of those polled take the initiative to call up to five exhibitors to arrange a meeting on the exhibit floor. 
    In terms of visiting booths, most planners surveyed walk the entire hall, stopping at the vendors that interest them (83 percent); 16 percent visit just booths they target beforehand, and 1 percent take a quick look around the floor and then use the rest of the show’s hours as free time.
    Making new contacts with suppliers (84 percent) is the top trade show objective of planners, followed by finding new destinations for future meetings (78 percent) and connecting with familiar contacts to discuss business (64 percent).

By Art Pfenning, director, M&C Research;