The Kiplinger Letter says, "it will be 2003 before attendance (at trade shows) recovers to 2000 levels." And air travel continues at a depressed level - 14% lower than last year at this time. Getting attendees remains really tough, but here are some thoughts on increasing the qualified bodies at your show:
First, focus your efforts on attracting a key representative of your target attendance base; for example, Jane Doe, a widget production engineer in Dallas. What will convince Jane to get on a plane and come to your show in Chicago? Is it the conference, the latest widget machines on the show floor, networking opportunities, tours of local widget plants, finding a new job?
Next, create content to respond to Jane's needs. For example, have a conference track for newly promoted production engineers. Followup with an exclusive networking reception for those neophytes. Then implement a promotion plan that convinces her (and others like her) to actually come to Widget Expo.