This Just In

CEIR Releases Report on the Value of Face-to-Face Events


Dallas, TX — The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released the Use and Value of Face-to-Face report, the first of a series of reports that will be released over the next quarter from the landmark study, The Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction.

The good news:  Despite the Great Recession, a majority of exhibitors and attendees have not reduced face-to-face interactions, which include exhibitions, educational conferences with a small exhibit component, educational conferences without exhibits, hosted-buyer events, in-person sales calls and private events. More than half of attendees report no change or an increase in face-to-face interactions due to the economy while four out of ten attendees report decreased activity in each category.

For a majority of exhibitors, face-to-face activities — exhibitions, private events and in-person sales calls — have not changed or increased in response to the Great Recession. But 47% of exhibitors said the downturn has prompted decreases in exhibiting budgets, 40% have reduced the number of exhibitions and 44% report the number or budget for private events has decreased.

In addition, attendees report that exhibitions offer the highest value of all face-to-face interactions. Nearly half of attendees (48%) said that exhibitions are the most important, followed by 26% who report in-person sales calls offer the most value. On the exhibitor side, 44% of respondents said in-person sales calls offer the most value against other face-to-face interactions, while 43% said exhibitions are the most important.

Over the next two years, a modest increase in attendance at exhibitions is expected, with 23% reporting they plan to attend more exhibitions in the next two years while most (59%) will attend the same number. For exhibitors, a modest rebound is anticipated with the majority of exhibitors (53%) maintaining the same number of exhibitions while 24% plan to add events to their schedule.

The study examines the long-term value of face-to-face marketing and exhibitions in light of major economic fluctuations and the influx of technology and alternative marketing tactics, including digital media. More than 9,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors participated in this initiative. Respondents included domestic and international participants from a sampling of the top 250 U.S. business-to-business exhibitions.

To view a complete copy of the survey, go to IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost.

Reach Nancy Drapeau, director of research, CEIR, at (207) 332-9839 or

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