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EMAC 2021 Regional Conference

Virtual Trade Fairs - here to stay? – antecedents and effect of virtual trade fair implementation and learnings for a hybrid future

Published: September 22, 2021


Thomas Bauer, Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) Ravensburg; Timo Kargus, Cloudfest


virtual trade fairs; hybrid business events; digital B2B platforms


The purpose of this paper is to propose a research design to evaluate exhibitor activity and performance at virtual B2B trade fairs resulting from covid-19 disruption of the business events industry. The study utilizes and adapts a widely intact research framework for trade fair marketing evaluation to gather insights at a unique time of transition from on-site to on-line and ultimately hybrid trade fairs. Exhibitors’ pre-show promotion, at-show selling and after-show follow-up activity at digital trade fair platforms are evaluated in conjunction with their capabilities and motives. Performance measurement with an enhanced scale to account for online potential of virtual trade fairs determines the merits and limits of online-only formats and practices. An outlook and first step to research of a hybrid trade fair future is expected.