Skip to Main Content

Do Parties and Golf Increase Trade Show ROI?


Hospitality and other ancillary events abound at trade shows and conferences. Often times, these are not included when the ROI goals are established for an event. However, it is not unusual for receptions, mixers, networking opportunities and even golf outings to produce important and valuable accomplishments for your company. Consider these activities to expand the value derived from participation in the main marketing event or trade show.

Answering the following questions will help identify and measure ancillary opportunities that could contribute to overall program and trade show ROI success.

1. How will an ancillary event increase sales opportunities as the host?

Meeting new prospects and accomplishing the initial steps in establishing relationships benefits sales results. Sales may be able to provide an estimated value for a new prospect.

2. How will the activity protect and retain existing customers and revenue?

A private affair for current customers is a good example. Using an event to maintain your existing customer base, as well as up-sell with new products or features, could provide significant value. An ancillary event might be a great venue for introducing current customers to new programs or incentives. Understanding customer retention rates, the average revenue value of a customer and estimating the cost to replace a customer are ways to value this approach.

3. How will the event save money?

Bringing high-value contacts, prospects, partners and suppliers together at the same time to see something or someone, such as an executive or industry experts that works for your company, in one place may avoid costly future trips. Another example would be to invite the press, analysts and other industry influencers to a mixer where you announce a new product. The cost and time dedicated to a press tour around the announcement could be reduced.

4. How much exposure will the event generate for the company’s brand and product offerings?

Exposure is counted in the form of impressions. This is the same metric used in advertising and PR efforts. Use signature ancillary events and their associated promotion and publicity to position your company, products and service offerings.

Another worthy objective is to establish your company as a thought leader by providing provocative and valuable content during the event. If possible, seek out assistance from your communications team members to help estimate what the exposure might be worth.


Develop your event plan to deliver accomplishments in each of the four elements of value. Then you can apply metrics to document achievements.

The basis for all measures is personal interactions. Counting interactions with people that fit your targeting criteria is the basic measure for elements 1-3. Estimate a value for each person “activated” via their interaction with your team at the event for each of your defined goals.

For Promotion, Question #4, count impressions based on the number of people that see or hear your brand messages. One method is to use your advertising cost per impression as a guideline to estimate value, or look at value for time invested in creating promotions.

If you collect and report results in the form of accomplishments in any, or hopefully, in all of these four elements of value, your management will be more confident in their investment and will recognize you as a competent manager and a valuable member of the team.

For more information about the process of improving your program, contact the Exhibitus Results Division today.