In any type of business or organization, nobody wants to see current members, clients, customers or patients leave.  We value customer loyalty.
What is astonishing is how many marketing and sales programs focus on the opposite…. we tend to focus on the new customer and our prospective list.
As meeting organizers in a very niche marketplace, keeping current exhibitors is essential. There simply aren’t enough new business in our industry to pick up if a loyal exhibitor decides not to come back for one or more conferences.
Often, we hear that exhibitor prices only seem to go up, and traffic is slowing down. So where’s the ROI? What is keeping exhibitors coming back?
Let’s face it. Getting traffic into the exhibit hall is tough – for every conference! There certainly doesn’t seem to be a magic button or solution that will automatically fix this issue.
So what can we do to entice loyal exhibitors to return year after year? There are some things that meeting planners and boards of organizations may be able to afford in order to ensure that previous exhibitors always come back.
One major recommendation would be to offer a return-exhibitor discount.
Another could be a discounted space on a premier location every five years for consistent exhibitor participation.
Let yourself get creative and determine unique ways that you can keep your current exhibitor base coming back. Here’s an even better idea – ASK THEM! Get feedback from your loyal exhibitors and ask them why they come back from year to year, and ways you can continue to make them a satisfied customer!
And finally, keep these statistics in mind every time you feel you are focusing more on NEW exhibitors, vs. keeping your CURRENT exhibitors happy:
Customer acquisition and retention marketing stats
  • Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
  • Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
  • The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
(statistics source: