Virtual exhibitions: an exploratory study of Middle East exhibitors' dispositions

Liz Lee‐Kelley (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
David Gilbert (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Nada F. Al‐Shehabi (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The recent concept of the “virtual exhibition” (VE) arose from an excess of demand over availability of traditional (physical) exhibitions. This initiative emerged from the Association of Exhibition Organisers ( and paved the way for far‐sighted businesses to look to the Internet as an alternative platform. However, given its recent inception there is little empirical research on this promising new practice. This study examines the attitudes of organisers of Middle East exhibitions toward the use of the VE including its suitability in supporting international marketing activities. The evidence from this exploratory research, sampled from a selection of European and Middle‐Eastern senior managers, leads to the conclusion that there is a general agreement on the potential of the VE and that it is likely to be a useful medium for “product”, “promotion” and “price”, although not as strongly for “place”. The weaker response to place could be due to a preference in the use of VE to convey information rather than distribute goods. It could also be due to many companies currently being unable to automatically integrate Internet purchases through the VE with their fulfilment. The study also discusses the various operational issues, as well as the benefits and weaknesses that VE inception needs to address.



Lee‐Kelley, L., Gilbert, D. and Al‐Shehabi, N. (2004), "Virtual exhibitions: an exploratory study of Middle East exhibitors' dispositions", International Marketing Review, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 634-644.

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