The International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and The EXPERIENCE Institute® have collaborated on in-depth research that studies attendee behaviour and the influencing factors when choosing the exhibitions, meetings and events in which they will attend. The Decision to Attend Study – Phase One report is now available for download from the IAEE website, the PCMA website and The EXPERIENCE Institute®’s website.
“This is a powerful collaboration among organizations whose members rely on the ROI of their exhibitions and events,” said IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “It is our business to know what is at the forefront of attendees’ decisions to attend or pass on a meeting, and this study really delves into that information.”
PCMA President & CEO, Deborah Sexton, FASAE, agrees. “Maximizing attendance and developing a positive attendee experience parallels PCMA’s mission. We are excited to be part of this landmark research and encourage our professional and supplier members to become actively engaged in shaping best practices and strategies to maximize attendance, together.”
Decision to Attend Study – Phase One is an extensive report that presents information collected from an online survey resulting in 7,171 responses from current and potential attendees. The survey examined the reasons individuals chose to attend or not attend conventions and exhibitions, held by 10 different organizations representing a wide variety of professions and industries. This data will be used as the baseline metrics for measuring what influences and what deters attendee participation. The goal of the study is to go beyond the traditional group profile by adding behavioural data that will allow meeting professionals, show organizers and DMOs to tailor their conventions and exhibitions to maximize on needs, attitudes and preferences indicated by potential attendees.
Samplings of the data presented in Decision to Attend Study – Phase One report include:
- One-half of attendees combine attending a meeting with a vacation opportunity, resulting in additional room nights.
- Another half of attendees bring someone with them, multiplying overall spend.
- Three-quarters of attendees take advantage of destination offerings by ‘getting out and about’, with Gen Y Millenials leading the pack at 85 per cent.
- Eight in 10 will recommend the destination, exhibition and/or event to others, if the experience is positive.
- Three-quarters of attendees will consider returning to the destination for leisure travel, if the experience is positive.
“This study proves that today’s attendees are seasoned, discerning consumers,” said Mickey Schaefer, FASAE, CAE, CTA, Founder & CEO of The EXPERIENCE Institute®. “Yet, the true group profile of what attendees do ‘outside the walls’ of the event remains elusive. The vision is to maximize attendance by learning the nuances of each group in order to match attendees to their preferred environment – an environment where they will thrive, talk about it, and decide to return.”
Decision to Attend Study – Phase Two will gather information from all sides of the industry in an effort to create a new behavioural profile of attendees. By blending industry input with the study’s findings, strategies can then be created to inform site selection and develop content and networking that best meets attendees’ needs. Throughout 2015, dialogue will be generated across the industry through chapters, surveys, sessions, articles and webinars. To give your insight, take the first survey at www.DecisionToAttend.com.