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The findings
also have significant managerial implications for trade show organizers.
Satisfaction with organizers and satisfaction with visitors contributed
significantly to exhibitors’ positive behavioral intention and are within trade
show organizers’ control. Organizers can ensure that exhibitors’ concern is
heard and addressed. In addition, organizers can provide an environment that
facilitates exhibitors’ agenda (e.g., giving out awards for the best booth) at
the trade show. And, organizers can enhance outcome quality by helping
exhibitors reap what they sow by following up with visitors.

The results
of this study indicated that visitors’ job ranking, job function, purchase
authority, and community quality all positively affected exhibitors’ positive behavioral
intention. Organizers should build on this finding by recruiting visitors with
fitting positions and purchasing power and then ensuring that exhibitors will
have plenty of opportunities to interact with them. Organizers could even give
more incentives to high profile international buyers (i.e., visitors) to attend
the trade show to increase exhibitors’ positive behavioral intention.This study
has several limitations. First, positive behavioral intention might not
transform into actual behavior. Many factors (e.g., budget cuts, time conflict,
new management, and change in strategy) might come into play during the
one-year or six-month gap between trade shows. Furthermore, some effects of
trade shows are delayed and might influence exhibitors’ positive behavioral
intention long after the trade show. For example, securing qualified leads
during the trade show might encourage exhibitors to return. However, if these
qualified leads fail to convert into actual sales through follow-up activity,
the exhibitor might end up disappointed with the trade show and change his or
her intention to return. In some industries where the purchase price is very
high, it can take months or even years for exhibitors to realize the effects of
a trade show (Seringhaus & Rosson, 2004). Hence, future studies should
adopt a longitudinal design and study the factors that impact exhibitors’
positive behavioral intention for an extended period of time after the trade
show. Doing so likely would be valuable to organizers interested in ensuring
exhibitors’ positive behavioral intention.

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Second, this
study addressed the three key determinants of exhibitors’ positive behavioral
intention: satisfaction with self-performance, satisfaction with organizers,
and satisfaction with visitors. The results showed that two out of three
constructs contributed significantly to exhibitors’ positive behavioral
intention. However, there are other factors that could influence exhibitors’
positive behavioral intention. For example, previous studies have found that
members of the local community, attractiveness, and accessibility of the event
venue could impact attendees’ participation experience (Oppermann & Chon,
1997; Zhang, Leung, & Qu, 2007). Thus, future studies should include these
factors and examine their significant effect and relative strength on
exhibitors’ positive behavioral intention.

Third, the
measurement instrument used in this study consisted of 46 items, which might
not be feasible for trade show organizers to use because exhibitors and
visitors do not like lengthy surveys. Future research should modify the model
established in this study and develop a short-version that is more amenable to
the trade show environment. Trade show organizers could use the model proposed in this study to
measure and improve their exhibitors’ positive behavioral intention.

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