According to a recent survey by eBrain Market Research (www.ebrain.com), trade shows are becoming the backbone of business travel in this post-September 11 world. Thirty-two percent of the 354 respondents to the Business Travel Survey said trade shows were more important to them now than they were before September 11. And while 26 percent said they are looking to find ways to reduce overall business travel, almost two-thirds of the respondents said they would be more likely to go on a business trip if it included a relevant trade show. Only client prospecting ranked higher than trade shows in importance for business travel.

"This study reinforces the importance of trade shows in today’s economy," says Todd Thibodeaux, eBrain COO. "Trade shows are one of the most convenient ways to accomplish multiple business goals while reducing employers costs and minimizing employees business travel."

Fourteen percent said they plan to increase travel to trade shows, as compared to 8 percent reporting that they will increase travel to intra-company meetings, and 5 percent increasing travel to conferences.

While a third of respondents reduced business travel due to financial concerns, and 67 percent list the state of the economy as a reason for their company reducing travel, 16 percent say they reduced their travel because meetings or conferences were canceled. Thirteen percent say that meetings or conferenced they attended in the past now are being conducted by other means.

"It is significant that 16 percent of the companies surveyed indicated that they were shifting their sales focus to exhibitions rather than standard sales calls. Our research revealed that 88 percent of exhibition attendees had not been called on by a sales person in the last year. The research also concluded that using exhibitions can reduce sales cost by 62 percent. Given these statistics, it’s no wonder the leading companies are increasing their participation in exhibitions," said Douglas L. Ducate, president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. (For information on the CEIR survey, go to CEIR Survey Shows No Plunge in Attendance