How do you evaluate that your exhibition has given value to your attendees? The Attendee ROI Playbook series addresses the process of how attendees evaluate the outcome or the metrics most commonly used to determine whether the trip was worthwhile. To gather insight as to how CEIR subscribers benefited from the research, D. Bradley Kent of VisitDallas shares his takeaways from the Attendee ROI Playbook series.
Please describe your role at your organization. What responsibilities do you have?
As the Senior Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, my role is to develop our team, serve as the face of relationships with our customers and partners to help them achieve their goals and develop strategies to achieve the financial objectives of the city.
Describe a few reasons why you and your organization use CEIR research.
CEIR research is important to us for a couple of reasons: The first reason is to educate us on trends in the trade show industry, and within vertical segments of that industry, to help our convention center and hotel partners. The second reason is that we utilize CEIR and the data to identify ways to improve our product offerings, as well as with developers considering new projects in our city.
How did you first hear about CEIR research? How long have you been using CEIR research?
I was first introduced to, what is now CEIR, from Felix Niespodziewanski of American College of Surgeons when it debuted as “The Trade Show Bureau.”
What were your key takeaways from the Attendee ROI Playbook series?
As exhibitors, we underestimate how much attendees pre-plan their attendance at events. So now we need to shift our mindset from selling to understanding that attendees are looking for special events offered by the event organizers and exhibitors. By understanding this, we can create better experiences and be more attractive to attendees and buyers.
How do you plan to implement those takeaways to your organization?
Recently, we had a wonderful exhibiting experience at Cvent Connect in Las Vegas, where we attracted 1,115 customers for approximately 30 minutes each to our booth. Building on the Attendee ROI Playbook, we created a unique activation that included a 70-by-40-foot booth with a custom movie theater experience. The attendees visited the VisitDallas booth and were introduced to the Margarita Mile by ambassador Julian Rodarte of Beto & Son restaurant. While in the theater, meeting and event planners got a peek at Dallas through the eyes of Dallas famed TV show star, Linda Gray, who then surprised them with an in-person meet and greet. As a result, attendees extended the time customers were willing to spend with us in our booth and 38 percent of the customer attendees enjoyed our booth experience!
How has the Attendee ROI Playbook series changed your outlook on your organization’s event strategy?
Customers see these events as opportunities to learn about new products and services or, in our case, destinations. Within 24 hours, every customer that visited with us had very specific information regarding our destination, as we educated them on what is new in our destination, and how it can help them achieve success with their events. Attendee ROI Playbook Report 3 taught us 69 percent of those that pre-plan are at events looking for new products and services. Additionally, 62 percent of those who are not pre-planners are there for the same reasons. Thus, we created a video capturing customer feedback on their experience in our booth, and we truly hit the nail on the head as the feedback was consistently “I didn’t know that Dallas had so much to do.”
What is your overall feedback for CEIR regarding the Attendee ROI Playbook series?
The environment is changing so quickly. We must get our community to invest more in CEIR and in this research. The life cycle of an event is much shorter, and for those of us that get a great deal out of trade shows and events, we need to more data to help us stay ahead of the market trends and remain relevant.
Would you recommend the Attendee ROI Playbook series to others?
Are there any content or research you would like CEIR to work on and share?
Many customers I speak with are struggling with exhibit/sponsorship sales. In an era of huge merger and acquisitions activity, the number of potential exhibitors and sponsors is quickly changing. I would like to see some research around the changing sponsorship environment, as well as fundraising efforts for nonprofits and foundations.
CEIR Note: The B2B Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook will release later this month and touch on sponsorships from the exhibitor and organizer perspective.
If you’re interested in doing a case study over any CEIR research, please email Jannat Choudhury, CEIR Marketing Manager.