Exhibition News March 2019 - Page 13

Analysis The greatest show on earth? What do the world’s highest rated shows have in common? Sophie Holt, global strategy director at Explori, reveals all on stands and sponsorship, their presence is a critical factor in driving visitor experience. Shows which actively encourage new product launches at their events see much higher levels of visitor and exhibitor satisfaction than those that don’t. The opposite is true where organisers focus on the cosmetic look and feel of the event – this actually has a negative impact on visitor and exhibitor satisfaction. There is a close match between the exhibitor and visitor T he team at Explori often get asked what makes a great show. While organisers might quite rightly respond: “the one that drives the most profit”, I’d argue this doesn’t give the full picture. In isolation, profit is a lagging metric: it only tells us about the historical performance of the show. The Explori data set offers us something particularly interesting here as it focuses on leading metrics – the customer- centric measures that suggest whether or not a show will continue to deliver top performance in future cycles. Looking at a longer-term perspective, perhaps ‘great shows’ are the ones that consistently satisfy their visitors and exhibitors, and so benefit from high levels of loyalty and advocacy? Our data suggests these shows are more likely to experience growth in visitor numbers, exhibitor numbers and exhibitor revenue. How to satisfy visitors and exhibitors is a huge topic – so let’s focus on trade shows in particular. While the market varies by sector and region, we do see some universal areas where successful shows outperform the rest. The elusive ‘great show’ is the one that can consistently satisfy the most important objectives of both its visitors and exhibitors at the same time. I can see some notable common factors between these high performing shows: Impact of organiser strategy on visitor satisfaction 3.65 3.81 3.97 There is no correlation between exhibitor satisfaction and the number of visitors; shows with 50,000 visitors don’t have happier exhibitors than shows with 1,000. Perceived quality of visitors is a more important factor, which presents a challenge as quality is subjective. Shows that perform well are likely to have spent time gaining a detailed understanding the objectives of each exhibitor and have been transparent about the audience they are capable of delivering. The organiser has de-risked the exhibitor experience We actively encourage exhibitors to launch products at the event 72% Agree strongly 19% Agree slightly 7% Disagree slightly 2% Disagree strongly 4.06 3.84 3.89 We often redesign the look and feel of the event 34% Agree strongly 50% Agree slightly The organiser focuses on innovation 14% Disagree slightly The organiser will have a clear strategy in place to identify innovation within the sector it serves and will incorporate this into the show. While some of the newer, more innovative companies may have less to spend 2% Disagree strongly As part of our Global Exhibitor Insights report, in partnership with UFI, Explori interviewed 60 senior commercial team members from organisers all round the world. We asked them how their team approached the exhibitor relationship and compared their responses with the levels of advocacy amongst the exhibitors at their shows. Certain traits among commercial teams were more common among shows that had high levels of advocacy from their exhibitors (measured by NPS). One trait that really stood out was teams that de-risked the exhibitor experience by offering consistent and comprehensive exhibitor training. Whatever format it takes, exhibitor training is a critical way of improving the exhibitor experience. In the study, we found trade shows that offered training to all or most of their exhibitors saw a 23-point boost in NPS vs those who did not. Exhibit marketing is a real skill. Successful organisers support and educate their exhibitors as much as they can. So, who does run the greatest trade show? Professional discretion (and a hefty NDA) prevents me from naming names, but the answer might just surprise you! EN March — 13