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An exploration of the techniques, outputs and outcomes of circulation management at exhibitions

Sabine Elisabeth Töppig (Department of Sport and Events Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Miguel Moital (Department of Sport and Events Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 5 June 2020

Issue publication date: 11 August 2020

321

Abstract

Purpose

To establish how and why exhibition managers manage circulation, this study explores the techniques (specific activities used to influence circulation), outputs (tangible enhancements in the performance of the exhibition resulting from changes in circulation dynamics) and outcomes (benefits of those enhancements to exhibitors, attendees and the exhibition organiser) of circulation management.

Design/methodology/approach

In face-to-face interviews, 10 exhibition managers were asked how and why they manage attendee circulation, which also involved a card-sorting exercise to elicit tacit circulation management knowledge. Four different experienced exhibitions managers from three continents were asked to validate the findings.

Findings

Four types of techniques were identified: magnet, layout, curiosity and playfulness and guiding techniques, with these implemented to achieve five outputs: greater footfall, better exposure to exhibits, enhanced navigation, greater buzz and managing congestion levels. The results further show that circulation was managed to achieve a variety of organiser-, exhibitor- and attendee-related outcomes. The study uncovered a large range of factors influencing the employment of circulation management techniques. Conflicts in outputs resulting from several techniques are highlighted, requiring the exhibition manager to establish which outputs and resulting outcomes take priority over others.

Originality/value

This exploratory study is the first study to propose a circulation management model for the exhibition context, equipping exhibition managers with knowledge to strategically manage attendee circulation.

Keywords

Citation

Töppig, S.E. and Moital, M. (2020), "An exploration of the techniques, outputs and outcomes of circulation management at exhibitions", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 311-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-10-2019-0050

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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