Original Research

The information seeking and procurment needs of attendees at an industrial trade show

N. C. Bresler
Acta Commercii | Vol 9, No 1 | a88 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v9i1.88 | © 2009 N. C. Bresler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2009 | Published: 06 December 2009

About the author(s)

N. C. Bresler, School of Tourism & Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe what attracts visitors to an industrial trade show, and to profile them. This will enable the show organisers to attract the right mix of exhibitors and fulfil their dual role of satisfying the needs of both attendees and exhibitors and improve the role of exhibitions in the latter's marketing mix.

Problem investigated: The research seeks to elicit the attendance objectives of participants in order to ascertain their information seeking and procurement needs. This can be used to improve the marketing communication of both the organisers and exhibitors.

Research methodology: The research design is a multi method, descriptive study. A non probability, judgemental sample was drawn; 1020 interviews were conducted per Electra Mining Africa expo in 2004 and 2006. Both open ended and fixed response questions were posed and due to the similarity of responses, 300 per show were analysed. The researcher fulfilled a participant observer role to enhance the validity and reliability of the findings.

Findings/implications: The prime reason for visitation was to see what is new, discover, and gather information, and attendees were not disappointed in that. The trade shows attracted an informed, niche audience. Exhibitors gained access to key decision makers with buying influence. Attendees represented all roles in the buying process and intended to buy some capital items exhibited within the following year. Business contacts were made. The attraction and contact efficiency of the exhibition's were high and may result in conversion efficiency. In terms of market and geographical coverage it is a vertical international show.

Originality: This paper contributes to limited research conducted on trade shows, especially in South Africa. It is unique in that it describes the effectiveness of an industrial trade show from a demand perspective in order to improve the facilitating role of exhibition organisers. It develops a knowledge base for improved show participation and future comparative studies.

Conclusion: For effective communication to take place exhibitors need to align their objectives with those of attendees. Organisers must provide exhibitors with a profile of expected visitors to enhance their performance and improve show participation.


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