A new follow-up to 2014’s Decision to Attend Study for Conventions & Exhibitions confirms and expands on the original report’s conclusions about attendee behavior across a range of industries. Sponsored by PCMA, IAEE, Destinations International, ASAE, and MPI, Decision to Attend 2 finds that “prospective attendees have a high level of travel expertise, a high propensity to want to continue their education, a need to network with ‘others like me,’ and a desire to explore local destination experiences.”
In other words, according to Mickey Schaefer, CAE, CTA, CEO of The EXPERIENCE INSTITUTE, which conducted both studies, attendees are consumers. “They want to have an exceptional destination experience,” Schaefer said in an interview. “The perceived destination experience is becoming more and more important.”
Decision to Attend 2 surveyed nearly 9,000 prospective and current attendees from 12 different associations about what makes them want to go to a meeting or conference, and breaks down the results according to a variety of factors — including by generation. The top three drivers in order of importance: education, destination, and networking.