World Travel Market sets industry standards

Independent research has indicated high levels of visitor satisfaction. Mike Fletcher analyses the data.

World Travel Market has been hailed as the best performing UK trade show, according to recent independent research. The Reed Exhibitions-organised event, which takes place at Excel from 14-17 November, last year attracted a higher rating of visitors with direct purchasing responsibility than any other business show previously researched by Vivid Interface.

The research agency identified Critical Success Factors (CSF) for the event from major stakeholder groups, then conducted interviews at the show and e-research during the first few months of 2005 to see how last year's event performed against these CSFs.

Vivid discovered 54% of visitors to World Travel Market had direct purchasing responsibility. Trade exhibitions researched by Vivid Interface average around 26% of visitors with direct purchasing responsibility, 33% with joint purchasing power and 21% with an advisory influence.

Respondents to the survey were asked questions about show- visiting objectives and asked to rate their importance. The top-scoring objectives were 'keeping abreast of industry trends and developments' (95%), 'seeing existing suppliers' (91%), 'obtaining information on specific products and services' (90%) and 'looking for new products' (88%).

Vivid Interface managing director Geoffrey Dixon says: "It was interesting to see a wide range of CSFs and a relatively narrow 'importance' gap between the top and the lowest-scoring objective, which was 'looking to exhibit in future' at 62%. This indicates that visitors expect to get a lot from their visit and World Travel Market has to deliver on many levels."

Visitors were also asked to rate how satisfied they were with their visit in terms of meeting all of their objectives. 82% of respondents had been at the show long enough to answer this question, of whom 69% were completely or very satisfied with their visit. Vivid's average response to this question across other trade shows saw around 54% of visitors say they have met their objectives completely or very well.

"World Travel Market is clearly a show where business is conducted," says Dixon. "From qualitative focus group work we were aware of the perceived importance of the show to both exhibitors and show visitors as a business forum. The quantitative research provided us with statistical evidence of this. In addition, a very high 98% of visitors surveyed agreed to some degree with the statement that World Travel Market is a must-attend event and once again this is the highest rating we have ever found for a show of any type. Reed's show is setting standards for the entire industry."

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