Trade shows (i.e., business-to-business exhibitions) and public fairs (i.e., business-to-consumer exhibitions) are an essential instrument in the marketing of goods and services. They provide vendors with a focused platform for communication and exchange with customers of different kinds (cf. Kirchgeorg 2005). The fair and trade show business itself has become an international multi-billion dollar industry (cf. Hansen 2004), in which organizers of trade shows and consumer fairs earn the biggest share of sales with exhibitors, who are paying fees for exhibition services. Like other services, trade shows and consumer fairs exhibit intangible elements and a high degree of customer integration as co-producer of perceived service quality at the point of service (cf. Parasuraman et al. 1988). Thus, public fair and trade show managers strive for high levels of exhibitor (and visitor) satisfaction in order to foster desired attitude and behavior among exhibiting companies (like, e.g., intention to buy, positive word of mouth and purchase or repurchase behavior cf. Keaveney 1995) which are positively related to financial performance (e.g., Anderson et al. 1994). The measurement and evaluation of customer satisfaction (i.e., exhibitors’ and visitors’ satisfaction) are therefore key success factors for managers of public fairs and trade shows, who need to decide how to deploy their limited resources to achieve high levels of satisfaction.
M. Reinhold, Stephan Reinhold, Christian Schmitz
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