Remember the golden days of the early 2000s? It was a time when it seemed like every member of the trade show industry had a reason to smile. Then, the housing bubble burst; spending stopped; attendance declined. Since the financial crisis, the trade show industry has been working to return to those days of bustling activity in booths across the country.
It looks the waiting game is over. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index for Q4 in 2014, the number of trade show attendees has finally exceeded its previous peak in 2007. The year-over-year increase of 2.6 percent helped trade shows welcome 68.7 million attendees.
“With the fourth quarter’s results and 18 consecutive quarters of growth and our predictions closely matching outcomes, we are confident in the continued growth and progress of the industry,” Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. and CEIR’s economist, said.
Attendance wasn’t the only piece of data that delivered good news. Net square feet increased by two full percentage points, and real revenues rose by 2.1 percent.
SEE ALSO: 4 Tips For Connecting With Trade Show Attendees
Organizers Must Work to Engage More Exhibitors
As the industry welcomes more attendees, show organizers should take this opportunity to leverage the good news in their conversations with prospective exhibitors. The number of exhibitors rose by just two-tenths of a percentage point in the year-over-year comparison.
However, attracting new companies to the show floor is about more than promoting the number of attendees who might pass by their booths. In an informative educational session at Convening Leaders 2014, Trevor Barlow, AVP, Manager, Trade Shows & Events, Wells Fargo Practice Finance, shared one of the key components of getting companies like his to pay attention to pitches.
“I like to partner with organizations,” Barlow said. “I appreciate it when associations come to me to ask what my objectives are and how they can help me achieve them. It’s not revenue, revenue, revenue. They’re genuinely interested in the partnership.”
SEE ALSO: 4 Secrets To Securing More Sponsors And Exhibitors
Looking for ways to help your exhibitors maximize their booth investments? Click here to get some wise tips you can share for a more successful show presence.