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Study: What Millennials Look For In An Exhibition

By / Aug 18, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A new report from two exhibition industry organizations details how young professionals choose an event to attend and what they seek out once they’re there.

What do millennials want out of your meeting? Pretty much what all attendees want—information.

This is according to a new study from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research and the Society of Independent Show Organizers that examined the experiences young professionals seek when attending business-to-business exhibitions and how they determine which events to attend.

The “2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study” found, for example, that four out of five reasons listed by study respondents for attending an event related to learning. Information on building career skills and career advancement were the most popular education content topic. Respondents also indicated a desire for interactive learning formats as opposed to those that simply require passive listening.

This finding translates to the exhibit floor, where millennials seek interactive product demonstrations and interactions with booth staff. They search out booths that can demonstrate products and services in an entertaining way, and they look for giveaways. Forty-two percent also reported taking photos of booths and products with their mobile devices to share with others.

Despite that particular use of mobile tools, most young professionals reported using printed show programs, while only 26 percent used a mobile app version. Reasons were roughly split between a preference for the hardcopy version and dislike of downloading a one-time-use app.

What information do young professionals rely on to choose the events they attend? More than half reported email from event organizers, while 41 percent said direct mail from organizers as well as emails from exhibitors or vendors helped them in their search.

This group’s preferences matter, according to the report. Ninety-seven percent are involved in making the decision whether to attend an event, and 66 percent provide recommendations to their boss.

“These results are a call to action for organizers to market directly to young professionals,” the report noted.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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