For CloserStill Media U.S., Face-to-Face Events Are the Way to Go

Frances Ferrante, Senior Editor
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LONDON — The U.S. Vet Division of CloserStill Media showed both exhibitors and attendees that it was listening to their feedback when it decided to do away with its hybrid meetings altogether in favor of face-to-face events, blazing a path that many trade show organizers are sure to follow in 2022.

CloserStill Media’s regional two-day U.S. Vet Shows are the world’s fastest growing veterinary business events, taking place in four cities each year. “After our Austin Vet Show in April, we made the decision to remove the hybrid component of our shows,” Christina Zoccoli, Group Event Director for CloserStill’s U.S. Vet Portfolio, said. “When hybrid was necessary during the pandemic and its various peaks, there was a tremendous amount of value, both for our exhibitors and our attendees. But as months went by, we began to see a trend. While our industry was excited to get back to in-person events, the virtual component allowed attendees to register for in-person, yet decide to just experience the sessions virtually from their offices.”

This caused the event conversion rate to be lower than expected, Zoccoli said. “Our exhibitors could feel that. For the Chicago Vet Show in May, we saw in-person pre-reg really tick up in March when Chicago lifted their mask and vaccine mandates, demonstrating the importance of face-to-face events for this community. We received 72% of our pre-reg attendees between March 1 and the show dates, May 12-13.”

Her event management experience reflects the broader industry intention of returning to live events in 2022. A recent report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Omnichannel Marketing Insight Series found that, despite being forced to rely on digital channels, 94% of respondents to the survey plan to go live again in 2022.

In addition to its return to live events, CloserStill’s events for the U.S. veterinary industry put an emphasis on quality education. “Unlike any other veterinary event, we build our theaters right on the show floor to maintain a steady flow of traffic to your booth throughout the entirety of the show,” Zoccoli said.

What was the end result in Chicago? “Exhibitors were thrilled as they knew the show floor would be buzzing,” Zoccoli said. “Our speakers were top-notch and received on-site feedback that the program was one of the best they had seen. To accommodate those who pre-registered for the virtual sessions, we personally upgraded their badges to full-access passes to better support our exhibiting customers. For us, we saved on the AV and streaming! So it was a win-win for sure.”

Reach Christina Zoccoli at (516) 654-7335 or c.zoccoli@closerstillmedia.com

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