Traditional showcase events are failing to meet the expectations of 81% of event buyers research by The Delegate Wranglers and CUSTARD has found.

Although the survey of event buyers and venues identified that venue showcases are well-attended – 87% of buyers attend them with 78% deeming them ‘essential’ to review a venue’s facilities – only 19% of buyers said the showcases they attended were impressing them.

Furthermore, event buyers are only accepting one in five of the showcase invites they receive each month, meaning venues have to work hard from the outset to boost attendance figures.

With venues generating an average return of £94k in confirmed bookings following a showcase, the benefits are evident. However, on average, 13% of the annual marketing budget is being used with many planning to increase this amount in 2024.

As venues set aside budgets and time to host showcases in the coming year, the findings and suggestions, highlighted in the Delegate Dispatches report Are the days of the showcase numbered? will be essential reading.

Other key findings:

• There is a disconnect between venues and buyers when it comes to the best time to hold a showcase. Two-thirds of venues prefer Thursdays and autumn, but two-thirds of buyers prefer to attend an event on a Wednesday in spring.
• The best time of day to start a showcase is 5:30pm according to both buyers and venues.
• More innovative formats are sought after by more than half of buyers and many are keen to know what they can expect from the event before they turn up.
• For almost all (93%) buyers, visiting a venue they’ve not been to before is the main reason to attend a showcase
• Venues typically experience a 68% attendance rate for those who have accepted an invitation
• 79% of buyers would like the venue to follow up with them within three days of the event.

Lesley Whyte, senior account director, CUSTARD said: “It appears that while buyers are attending showcases and they remain a firm part of the venues’ marketing strategies, in their current guise they’re only hitting the mark for a fifth of planners. In the year ahead it’s imperative for venues to understand their audience and make sure every element of their marketing spend delivers a strong return on investment. While showcases are great, they will only work when they sit within the marketing team as a strategic marketing tool as well as a sales driver.”

Neil Thompson, founder and managing director of The Delegate Wranglers, said: “Our research shows that event buyers are inundated with invitations, so it’s crucial to avoid a blanket approach. Whether that’s on the timing of the showcase, through to the various approaches to the format, understanding what it is that buyers are looking for will go a long way in shaping future strategies that deliver what is actually wanted.”

To download a copy of the report visit: