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Avoiding an Exhibitor Revolt

A document created by a group of disgruntled suppliers in one industry could help trade-show managers build better virtual exhibit halls.

When it comes to gaining a solid return on investment from a virtual exhibit-hall presence, vendors in one industry have taken things into their own hands.

This article in the Journal of the American Bar Association presents the perspectives of both meeting planners and suppliers in the legal industry on the topic of exhibitor sentiment for their expo-hall experiences during virtual events. The verdict: Exhibiting firms are decidedly more negative than positive, to the point that a group of about 20 legal vendors came together late last year to produce a Vendor Value Manifesto that they believe will help conference organizers improve the virtual-event experiences for exhibitors.

The group was convened by Filament, which designs, facilitates, and hosts in-person and virtual meetings. Filament founder and CEO Matt Homann says the most common complaint he has heard from legal vendors in the past year is that virtual expo halls don’t generate enough leads and, as a result, are a waste of time and money. “We cannot afford to repeat last year’s experiences,” he says.

The Vendor Value Manifesto features six ideas for conference planners that would better incorporate exhibitors into the attendee experience. The document then provides a few specific ways to implement each idea. 

The overarching theme across the six ideas: Sharing year-round attendee data and having frequent conversations between an event organizer and exhibitors will let exhibitors deliver the right content and interactive experiences to benefit not just themselves but attendees and the host organization as well.

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