Another Trade Show Trend? Five Fantastic Benefits of a Hosted Buyer Program
Jun 03, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

buyerHosted Buyer programs have been catching some traction over the last couple of years. Rather than luring attendees to your booth with giveaways and contests, this system allows "buyers"  (attendees) and "sellers" (exhibitors) to sit across from each other and talk one-on-one for an allotted time period. 

According to Smith Bucklin, this is how the system works: 
 
Once a hosted buyer has agreed to attend the show, he or she must commit to make and attend a minimum of four individual appointments with exhibitors per day. Attendees make appointments using an online system that allows buyers to book appointments well in advance. Buyers also complete an online profile indicating what types of meetings they are looking to book, which allows exhibitors to invite buyers for a personal meeting. 
 
The trade show organizer picks up the cost and accommodations for the buyers who attend the trade show. Because this cost can be quite large, many shows limit the number of buyers allowed to attend. An average program may have 100 to 175 buyers. 
 
According to MPI's One+ magazine article on this topic, event organizers know this approach works well for exhibitors. Here are two concrete examples: 
 
  • Brian Perkins a Partner at Highliner Events, LLC stated that two exhibitors at his hosted buyer seafood event closed $8 million of business. 
  • Gregg Herning, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Peabody Hotels said his sales team expects to close up to $8 million in business from MPI's WEC hosted buyer program. 
But other than revenue opportunities, what is the point of this methodology? Check out these five fantastic benefits: 
 
  • Because they are small in scope, they allow buyers and sellers to forge a real connection. 
     
  • There is no traditional trade show floor, just timed face-to-face meetings. 
    "Long before the actual face-to-face meetings, both planners and suppliers can see what products and services work best for them and they can set up appointments, so they can prepare and speak accordingly," said Meaghan Ferrazza, Event Operations Manager for MPI. 
     
  • Exhibitors save money because the cost of the booth is reduced and they only have to ship a limited amount of marketing collateral and giveaways. 
    If exhibitors rent iPads, their costs go down even further because all information can be accessed from the mobile device and sent directly to the buyer's email account. 
     
  • ROI is easier to justify because exhibitors know in advance the buyers they will be meeting with and what they are looking for from the seller. Business won can be traced directly back to the program. 
     
  • Buyers are pre-qualified and have to have "x" amount of business planned in the next 12-18 months. Because of this prequalification, sellers take the buyers very seriously. 

AV Event Solutions is a professional, affordable, experienced California-based event services company that is now part of the SmartSource Rentals national family! They can offer state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals for your next hosted buyer program. Get the process started today through their Express Quote form! 

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