You Can’t Have Too Much Event Intel

You Can’t Have Too Much Event Intel

Read how Wendy Holliday of PLM World uses the free CEIR tool - Event Performance Analyzer to benchmark her event!

By: Wendy Holliday, Executive Director, PLM World

Your IAEE membership comes with access to CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research).  And, if you’re not accessing this fantastic free service – you are missing out.

When planning and implementing change to your show floor, your gut instinct can only get you so far. Using CEIR data will help you understand how your event stacks up against others in your industry and identify trends to help make data driven change. It’s basically like hiring a consultant – but hey – it’s free!

And – it is easy to get started.

There are lots of great reports – some of my favorites include the 2018 How to Grow Attendance Series and the 2017 Attendee Floor Engagement Study.

But let’s start at the top – and I think the most meaningful for you – analyzing your own event with the Event Performance Analyzer.

Three steps to analyzing your event against industry trends. Bonus – you don’t need to know how to use Excel to make great custom charts.

  1. Collect your basic data. I personally create a chart that lists each of these from 2014 – present.
    • Net Exhibit Space: List total exhibit net square feet sold for the event, including space provided for non-cash consideration (does not include aisle space or meeting rooms).
    • Total Exhibiting Companies at the Event: List number of companies and other organizations with exhibit space at your event, including exhibit space swapped or provided for other non-cash consideration.
    • Total Professional Attendance at the Event: List the number of professionals attending your event. Exclude exhibiting company personnel, friends and family, staff, or other non-business attendees.
    • Total Revenue of the Event: List the total revenue for your event from all sources: the sale of exhibit space, conference fees, advertising, sponsorships and all other revenue. The IEPA will automatically compute real revenue by adjusting your nominal revenue with consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  2. Log in to CEIR and click on the Event Performance Analyzer.
  3. Plug in your data from step 1 above. Don’t forget to log in when using the analyzer. It will keep your data over the years, so it is easy to update your information.

That’s it.

Sample chart

Now for the fine print – yes, your information is kept and available to CEIR but only in the aggregate. Your individual event and company or association information is not identified. This helps CEIR create the industry averages.

So – what is holding you back from analyzing your event?

How does your event compare?

Wendy Holliday is an experienced senior level association professional with broad background managing and implementing change, organizational growth and strategic development. Her opinions are her own. Wendy can be reached at

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