How do you know a good trade show? They’re easy to spot. Sellers sell. Buyers buy. But these days—in a tough economy and with associated costs mounting—such success must be certain before either will even attend. Once there, swinging business and a high ROI are far from guaranteed.
That’s why we’re champions of hosted buyer events. While the traditional trade show can indeed be profitable, these exclusive affairs promise engaged interaction and truly lucrative commerce.
What is a hosted buyer program?
Hosted buyer programs invite pre-qualified customers to attend an industry trade show and pay their way to encourage attendance. To ensure they get down to business and maximize sales potential, buyers commit to appointments with exhibitors in advance of the show. Their itineraries are structured, so no time is wasted wandering the show floor aimlessly.
The hosted buyer model has been adopted as part of annual vast-scale trade shows and for stand-alone hosted buyer events. Themes are varied, ranging from the Global Beauty & Wellness Exchange to the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA).
Win-win all around.
Buyers aren’t the only ones who get a sweet deal. A hosted buyer program is efficient and effective, and it opens the door to the highest-value return for everyone involved. Top-quality exhibitors show up for priceless networking opportunities—face time with pre-qualified, key decision makers who have the budget and influence to close business. Each has the other’s personal, undivided attention in a focused atmosphere.
The result is unparalleled, powerful, business-making potential right on the show floor. Meeting Professionals International (MPI) reports that at the World Education Congress (WEC), this kind of connectivity has historically helped to deliver attendees an average 308% ROI on their time and resources.
They book it.
In early October, Las Vegas witnessed IMEX America 2012, the largest hosted buyer program ever held in North America. In only its second year in the States, “America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events” recorded 2,400 hosted buyers, plus another 1,700 attendees who came on their own. At this three-day industry extravaganza, nearly 40,000 appointments were set.
Before their arrival at IMEX America, buyers use an online scheduling system to search exhibitors and reserve appointment times as individuals, or sometimes as small groups of 10-12 buyers from a single company. Additionally, buyers benefit from walk-up opportunities to learn more about exhibitors they might not have considered previously.
They buy it.
Hosted buyer programs typically attract top-level, high-spending buyers from all over the globe. At IMEX America this year, orders of up to $2.2 billion were signed with exhibitors. Organizers report that 53% of IMEX America’s hosted buyers have spending budgets worth more than $1 million.
Your booth or mine?
If hosted buyer programs have a place in your event portfolio, pull up a chair and let’s chat. Contact Dana’s resident hosted buyer program expert, Tracy Stottler, at email@example.com.