Ah trade shows…they have been debated, depleted, virtualized, and finally revitalized. But why such debate over their value and how valuable are they really? Well that all depends on your point of view…whether you are the organizer, attendee or exhibitor.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) published a report called “The Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction” in 2012. It highlighted the following facts:

  • 71% of attendees placed a high importance on face-to-face interactions to build long term relationships with vendors
  • 67% of attendees ranked interactions between themselves and exhibitors important in investigating, evaluating and narrowing down their buying choices
  • 48% said face-to-face interactions at exhibitions, conventions and annual meetings are more important now than they were in 2010 and
  • 43% expect that the trade show setting will be more valuable in 2014

While all of this information is good, what about ROI and the decision whether or not to participate in the show? CEIR recently came out with a ROI toolkit  for exhibitors that is free (however you do need to sign-in  to access it) that provides a pre- and post-event ROI calculator.

The Pre-Event Calculator answers the following questions:

  • Should your organization exhibit at the trade show given the total number of attendees and percentage in your target market
  • How many staff will you need to engage with attendees and
  • How much space is required to accommodate your audience, including open space

The Post-Event Calculator helps measure the tradeshow’s ROI through your input of the following information:

  • Total number of inquiries and leads you obtained
  • Total number of staff on duty
  • Direct exhibitor costs, including staff travel and entertainment expenses
  • Average conversion percentage of leads to sales
  • Average revenue generated per order
  • Your organization’s gross margin

How can technology assist you with the ROI effort? Below are a few of the interactive technology tool rentals that both AV Event Solutions and SmartSource Rentals can assist with in getting more individuals to your booth and keeping them there.

  • Rent iPads to replace all your marketing collateral. Not only is this a green solution, but you can save your organization money on writing, editing, printing, shipping and storing your printed materials.
  • Touch Panel Kiosks are a great solution to keep attendees interested in learning more about your products and services while they are waiting to speak to a sales person. With an intuitive navigation system, an attendee can view videos, photos and testimonials about your organization and email back to the home office your product information.
  • Lead Retrieval Systems can help you automate and disseminate leads while you are still on the trade show floor! By scanning the attendee’s badge or a magnetic strip you can gather vital, accurate information about the attendee in a few seconds.
  • Charging stations are a great way to get attendees to your booth and keep them there for at least 10 minutes while their phone or tablet is charging. This is the perfect opportunity for exhibitors to gather the lead and qualify the attendee.

AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, is the largest Total Technology rental company in the United States with 22 full-service locations. They offer a complete range of cost-effective solutions from Lead Retrieval Systems, Audio Visual, Digital Document Libraries, Charging Stations, iPad solutions, Video Walls, and much, much more! All of this with 24/7 technical support. Let them help you make your next trade show fantastic!