Top Four Trends Coming Out of the TSNN Awards

January 4, 2023

Joe Colangelo

Joe Colangelo is the CEO and co-founder of Bear Analytics. He drives the strategic vision designed to unite technology, user-friendly visualization and the client story. 

The atmosphere and conversations at the 2022 TSNN Awards, held in November at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, were a welcome transition from the recovery and survival mentality of 2021, as the focus was on the future. Hot topics among the group of hundreds of top trade show, conference and for-profit event organizers included DEI, returning to revenue best practices and tactics to overcome new challenges for enhancing the on-site experience while keeping expenses in check.

However, the most poignant question of the week, in my opinion, was asked by Rich Stone, CEO of EXPOCAD, who asked the esteemed panel of industry experts (paraphrased), “Now that we have the last two years behind us, what trends did we see during that time that will be with us into the future?”

While the panel spoke of macro trends in inflation and technology, perhaps we can outline the top four data-driven trends that we saw emerge in 2022 as a lead-in to 2023.

Alumni Drift

For market or industry-centric events, the drift or movement of employees across companies or out of the industry has exacerbated the challenges at the top of the funnel. Average drift can impact your reach by 7%–15% depending on industry, meaning as an event marketer, the stale data problem is more real than ever and likely to stick around for two to three event cycles.

Emphasis on Top of Funnel  

Given the alumni drift trend and understanding the reduced ability to reach an audience from direct mailings to offices, the average event organizer is likely feeling a pinch at the top of the funnel. The result of this macro trend is the following micro trends:

  • Emphasis on digital conversion channels. We’re seeing an increase in retargeting, social media and paid ad tactics for event organizers.
  • Getting serious about audience management. Whether in a traditional CRM or marketing automation platform, a firm understanding of audience churn or prospect aging is now in vogue. 
  • Content marketing to juice top of funnel. Increasing meaningful content distribution to add prospects to the top of the funnel.

Exhibitor Demand for ROI Metrics  

There’s no question that exhibitors have been one of the first groups to materially jump back into live events. The value of face-to-face, in conjunction with reopening of many corporate policies, is resulting in a strong bounce-back. However, that participation commitment is coming with a request: Show me the data! 

As companies look at their event marketing mix heading into 2023 and 2024, those who measure and plainly articulate the ROI back to their exhibitors will stand a better chance of returning that revenue to their events.

Digital Sponsorship Wave

With increased on-site costs and tighter lead times, the environment is ripe for new thinking around digital sponsorships. Ancillary benefits for more digitized sponsorships are margin expansion and potentially scaled deployment for the event organizer.  

Meanwhile major brands are leading the charge on digitizing across their other marketing channels and are looking for that strategic alignment from the events they engage in.

This hunger for more digital sponsorship offerings is combined with the desire to have strong measurement, benchmarking and overall tracking metrics.

By using events to extend brand value, companies are looking to event organizers to supplement their on-site experiences with pre- and post-event sponsorships to extend the value. The time is now, and the strategic mix around sponsorships is happening right before our eyes.

What trends are you seeing in your market?

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.