Should You Add a Hosted Buyer Program to Your Event?

Matchmaking has gotten a bad rap over the years. How many of us have been on the receiving end of a match gone wrong? Too many to count. It feels like a dubious proposition at best.

Blind date? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Yet, we keep going there because we believe in finding the one and for all of its flaws, matchmaking can and does work.

So, why am I talking about matchmaking in a post about buyers and exhibitors in trade shows?  

Because we can all relate to the concept of wanting to find the right match and when it comes to buying and selling services and goods, we all want to find the holy grail of unions.  

Allow me to introduce you to the Hosted Buyer Program…

And the buyers and exhibitors aren’t limited to one partnership either *wink*.

Think of the Hosted Buyer Program as a pre-arranged meeting between exhibitors and buyers (high profile attendees) with everything already out on the table with no surprises. Both parties know exactly what they are getting into and there are zero strings attached…or commitment.

The show organizer (you) or an exhibitor sponsor (hence the word host in the name) picks up the tab for travel logistics like airfare, top tier hotel accommodations, food, and a good time.

You want it to be a no-brainer (and easy) for a buyer to come.


Now let’s analyze it because all good relationships deserve some agonizing over.

Hosted Buyers

For buyers and exhibitors to be matched, buyers must first go through an application-type process where Hosted Buyers are vetted to see if they qualify for the program.

They have to meet certain qualifications beforehand to make sure that they meet certain criteria, like having control over budgetary matters and purchasing influence.

When a particular buyer is accepted, they get to make personal selections out of hundreds of exhibiting companies to meet with or the Show Organizer will match them up with their ideal exhibitors. This means that they are only meeting with clients that actually fit within their business needs.

It ensures that time is well spent on both parties involved.

Wasted time? Not on my watch.

Side note: If a sponsor is responsible for hosting the buyers, you’ll need to recognize that by throwing a Hosted Buyers reception and having some awesome signage made up.

In return, sponsors get some much-coveted one-on-one time with buyers.


This is where I get really jazzed.

I love seeing my exhibitors gain qualified leads from buyers that are truly interested in what they have to offer.

The Hosted Buyer model adds so much value to the exhibitor experience. It guarantees face-to-face time with investors which makes their time at your show worth the investment they made in attending.

It also adds value to you and your show.

Just Keep Swimming

For example, if you host a food & wine show, you’re gonna want to try and make sure the buyer from Costco comes to your show. With over 750 stores worldwide and over $2 billion in wine sales alone, Costco is one of the big fish your exhibitors want to see.

Annnnnnd, if a buyer and exhibitor make a match at your show, your show gains a share of the profit from the buys at the show.

Say what?!?

Pretty good deal I’d say.

If an exhibitor sponsor arranges – and pays – for the buyer to come, as the show organizer you can also match the buyer with other exhibitors in attendance, which gives you a better chance of being on the receiving end of the deal-making process.

Sparks Fly

The Hosted Buyer Program is quickly becoming the best way to get the most value from your industry.

A sure way to see the sparks fly is the prospecting and direct solicitation of target attendees and that can happen when you embrace a Hosted Buyer program.

So, let those sparks fly and see where it takes you.