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TRAVEL GUIDE
The results of EXHIBITOR Magazine's 2018 Travel and Accommodations Survey show that in addition to overseeing their organizations' face-to-face marketing programs, exhibit managers also serve as de facto travel agents for their trade show and event teams. By Travis Stanton
Business travel is par for the face-to-face marketing course. Exhibit managers alone spend myriad hours in flight and countless nights in hotel rooms each year, not to mention the dozens – or in some cases hundreds – of sales reps and booth staffers that accompany them to trade shows and corporate events in locations near and far. But orchestrating the choreographed migration of employees to and from their intended destinations is an epic undertaking. So EXHIBITOR surveyed nearly 200 readers to understand precisely who is responsible for that task, as well as how they complete it.

According to the results of our 2018 Travel and Accommodations Survey, that burden often falls on exhibit managers themselves. While slightly less than half of respondents are responsible for booking some or all of their staffers' flights, eight out of 10 routinely book hotels and accommodations for their trade show and event teams. In fact, the average exhibit manager books roughly 35 round-trip flights and nearly 350 room nights each year. Not surprisingly, all that travel planning takes time. Respondents report allocating approximately eight hours per month to researching and arranging travel and accommodations.

Once on site, exhibitors and their staff travel to and from the airport, hotel, and event venue primarily via rideshare apps such as Lyft and Uber, rather than relying on taxis, shuttles, and public transportation. When it comes to per diems, they range from a low of $40 to a high of $200, averaging out at $86 a day. And while some companies budget for travel and accommodations separately from their overall exhibit- marketing allocations, these two line items account for an average of 16 percent of U.S. exhibitors' annual expenditures.

As might be expected, the most frequently visited cities for trade show- and event-related travel include Las Vegas; Orlando, FL; and Chicago. When asked to name their favorite destinations for exhibitions and corporate events, respondents added San Diego and New Orleans to the list of aforementioned business-travel hot spots.

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