Skip navigation
Fish surrounded by fish hooks

Conference and Expo Ambushing

Let's look ahead to ASAE '17. By coincidence, I'm going to be in Toronto in August. If you are a registered attendee and I (an unregistered attendee or exhibitor) invite you to a trendy restaurant near the convention center for lunch on Monday (my treat), would you come?

Before you answer, consider that accepting this invite will take you away from the show floor for two of the seven open hours. It's still a good deal, because a) there will be wine 2) great conversation c) a better dining experience than on the show floor and d) I'm a cool, well-connected dude.

While I'm not breaking laws by luring you away, ASAE and many of its sponsors or exhibitors would not be happy with my evil plan. Sponsors and exhibitors invest big time into the opportunity to spend time with you. ASAE theoretically charges a lower registration fee because of those investments. You and I just ambushed their business model.

Ambushing conference and expos is a growing problem. The primary trends fueling the ambush include:

  • The rise of the solopreneur and specialist
  • The preference of brands to have more intimate, targeted customer events
  • The alternatives offer more desirable, less hectic experiences
  • The tactics are cheap, yet effective

The best strategies to avert the ambush are to make your main offerings more attractive, put photos on attendee badges, or educate the profession on what's OK, and not OK, like CES does in this FAQ.

Is this a growing concern for your show? What steps have you taken to diffuse the ambush?

Reprinted with permission from Velvet Chainsaw’s Sticky Conference newsletter.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.