Consumer Exhibitions: How Does the Atmosphere Influence the Visitor?

Consumer exhibition "HAUS-GARTEN-FREIZEIT" at Leipzig Trade Fair, Photo credit: Leipziger Messe, Lutz Zimmermann

The atmosphere allows organizers of consumer exhibitions to differentiate themselves from the competition. But how is the atmosphere perceived and what is its contribution to the success of such an event? Dr. Martin Wiedmann examined these questions in his dissertation, which he completed under the tutelage of Prof. Dr. Manfred Kirchgeorg at the SVI-Endowed Chair of Marketing, esp. E-Commerce and Cross-Media Management and which was just recently published. He incorporated a multi-method setting with eye tracking, thinking-out-loud protocols and a questionnaire. The impact of the atmosphere at the exhibition on the visitors and their intention to return was examined as well. The findings have resulted in specific recommendations for event management at consumer exhibitions.

Based on his research, Dr. Wiedmann advises organizers “to keep an eye on the atmosphere of their event. First and foremost, they should pay attention to negative visitor experiences as these will prevent people from returning an exhibition.” From an exhibitor’s point of view negative visitor experiences include unattractive booths, obtrusive personnel or loud music at the booths, according to Dr. Wiedmann, From an organizer’s point of view, these could be insufficient air-conditioning in the halls or a bad combination of exhibitors. Even visitors themselves can cause negative experiences by crowds of people pushing through or a lack of identification with other visitors. Dr. Wiedmann concludes, “If you only ignore one single hall where there is a bad atmosphere, it may dampen the spirits for the entire event and cause visitors not to come back the next year. Keeping systematic records and eliminating negative influences on the atmosphere are helpful in this context.”

The book “Live Communication – Atmosphäre als Profilfaktor. Eine multimethodische Untersuchung der Wahrnehmung von Atmosphäre auf Publikumsmessen”, issued by Springer Fachmedien publishing house, addresses lecturers and students of business administration with a focus on exhibitions and marketing but also organizers, exhibitors, service providers and agencies as well as associations from this field.


Wiedmann, Martin

Live Communication – Atmosphäre als Profilfaktor. Eine multimethodische

Untersuchung der Wahrnehmung von Atmosphäre auf Publikumsmessen

Publishing house: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH

2016, 296 pages

ISBN: 3658145935 (print)

Available as a soft-cover and e-book.

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