Face-to-Face Meeting & Travel Trends

Graphic: Digital Juice

Graphic: Digital Juice

A recent study on face-to-face meetings reports an interesting contrast of results: Even though 94 percent of those surveyed believe F2F communications are important for good business relationships, 91 percent have never seen many of the people they work with on a regular basis. What’s even more intriguing about this survey is that it was conducted by an online video conferencing service (Blue Jeans Network). In another study by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, 47 percent of respondents believe they may have lost a client or contract due to a lack of in-person meetings and 81 percent view F2F meetings as better for building long-term trust and strong client relationships.

Two recent shows at opposite ends of the audience spectrum are seeing an uptick in F2F participation: the IAAPA Attractions Expo and Hart Energy’s DUG East Show. At IAAPA last month, more than 27,000 people descended on Orlando for the world’s largest expo in the amusements and attractions industry. The show featured about 1,100 exhibitors in more than a half-million square feet (a 10-year record). Indoor space sold out and outdoor space was the largest ever, showing off rides, ziplines and bounce houses. Meanwhile, DUG East, whose audience is oil and gas professionals in the shale industry, had a 30-percent jump in attendance at their show in Pittsburgh, Penn. It just goes to show that whether your audience is serious about business or in the business of fun, people understand the importance of meeting in person.

But in order to meet with other like professionals from around the world, that requires travel. And as any road warrior will tell you, there are good and bad sides to that coin. Part of the bad side is the sheer expense of travel, which includes tourism taxes. USA Today recently published a list of the best and worst cities for travel-related taxes, and it may not be the ones you expect, including number 1. (Sadly my hometown of Kansas City makes the “bad” list, largely due to high car rental taxes.) But on the plus side, many airports are striving to make your travel experience more enjoyable. USA Today also published a list of the best new airport amenities, including lounge-like checkpoints and better food and beverage options.

And speaking of F&B … PCMA gives us a peek at what’s in store for 2014 trends. Roast chicken with foie gras or a side of dandelions, anyone?


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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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