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PROOF: Trade Shows Lead ROI for Sourcing New Business


In the fall of 2009, the U.S. Travel Association reported about a study prepared by Oxford Economics USA called “The Return on Investment of U.S. Business Travel”.  This research produced some interesting findings that, not surprisingly, reinforce the importance of face-to-face business interactions on a company’s bottom line.

For purposes of this blog post, a few of the study’s key findings include:

  • For every US$ 1 invested in business travel, US$ 12.50 is realized in incremental revenue.
  • For every US$ 1 invested in trade show or conference attendance, an average return of US$ 4 – 5.99 is realized.
  • Cutting back on business travel can translate to reduced profits – the average business in the U.S. would forfeit 17% of its profits in the first year of eliminated business travel.
  • Survey respondents estimated that 28% of current business would be lost without in-person meetings

And in particular:

  • Survey respondents estimated that approximately 40% of their prospective customers are converted to new customers with an in face meeting, versus 16% without an in face meeting.
  • More than half of business travelers stated that 5% - 20% of their company’s NEW customers were the result of trade show participation.

The economic situation over the past couple of years has been “challenging” to say the least, and all business expenditures have come under increased scrutiny, as well they ought.  But unfortunately the result sometimes has been to pull back, circle the wagons, and focus on core business activities, and hope that somehow things will improve on their own eventually.

As this study concludes in part, trade shows are perhaps one of the best ways to realize a return on investment while at the same time finding new business partners and cultivating existing ones.  Participation in a trade show – either exhibiting or visiting - can save time, money, and resources otherwise spent on conducting market research and individual sales trips to existing and potential customers in the various markets where the trade shows are held.

We’ve been showing the way for nearly 30 years!

Since 1982, Messe Düsseldorf North America has been a resource for US companies seeking new international market opportunities.  We have served as an international link to innumerable U.S. companies over the years, assisting with everything necessary to exhibit at or visit one of the trade shows organized by the Messe Düsseldorf group of companies worldwide.


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