Weekly News & Insights: Happy Attendees + Happy Exhibitors + Happy Show Organizers = Happy Venues

It’s a simple formula, really. If attendees are happy they’ll come back and spend more time on the show floor, which makes exhibitors happy. When exhibitors are happy, they rebook for next year’s show and make show organizers happy. When organizers are happy, they continue to come back to the same city and venue that has been proven to be a success.

This is the story of last month’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago. The show provided opportunities for attendees to connect with exhibitors and also have some fun. A major attraction during the show was a car built right there on the show floor in five days. The last day of the show, the Rally Fighter debuted with much fanfare. IMTS also hit the 100,000-attendee milestone this year. So it’s no coincidence that  this week, the Chicago Sun-Times ran an article announcing that IMTS (along with the National Restaurant Association Show), have extended their agreements to host events at McCormick Place. Of course, the recent labor changes at McCormick also played a huge role in that decision, but ultimately those also tie back to creating happier exhibitors and attendees.

As a side note, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released a report this week that defines what attendees are looking for in exhibit booth staff. Turns out it’s not just sales and marketing people they want to meet, but also research and development staff. Problem is, only about 3 percent of exhibitors have R&D people in their booth. So if you want to keep attendees happy, work on having the right people staffing your booth.

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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