On January 19-21, 2021 North America’s only event for all things Halloween, Party, Celebration, and Haunt, the annual Halloween and Party Expo and co-located HAuNTcon launched their first fully virtual tradeshow, the Halloween & Party Expo Virtual Experience.
The interactive, online platform delivered the valuable aspects of the in-person experience in order to foster new business opportunities and connect exhibitors and retailers from the comfort and safety of their own homes, stores or offices. Along with returning businesses who typically attend the Halloween & Party Expo, without the constraints of travel and geography, the virtual event welcomed 34% new buyers in 2021 and allowed retailers from across the world to come together with leading suppliers to discover new products, place orders, attend live product demonstrations, network and attend retail education.
“While the Halloween & Party Expo Virtual Experience does not replace connecting face-to-face at our live event, we think this robust alternative was the best way to pivot to guarantee the health and safety of the industry and cope with ongoing and changing local regulations and travel constraints. We would like to thank all of our exhibitors, partners, retailers and sponsors for a great Virtual Experience. It was incredible to hear many of the great connections and success stories that were made during the event,” commented Show Director, Marni Golden Vinci.
The Halloween & Party Virtual Experience gave exhibitors showcasing costumes, accessories, décor, makeup, party supplies, and business services the opportunity to create a showroom featuring information about their brand, latest products and lines. Buyers were able to access exhibitor showrooms, view products, start a chat, set up private meetings and more on the platform. The Halloween & Party Expo was once again co-located with HAuNTcon: The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow & Convention – providing buyers access to an additional category of unique products and décor and uniting the entire industry in one online experience.
The three days of the Halloween & Party Expo provided ample time for placing orders for the 2021 season as well as discovery of new leads and products. Through advanced algorithms and matching software, the platform was able to provide 53,500 recommendations to connect buyers and exhibitors based on their profiles and product categories they were searching for and offering. This led to 15,000 new leads, 13,000 chats and messages exchanged, 4,500 connections between buyers and exhibitors and 1,000+ one-to-one meetings within the platform and more taking place following the event and between exhibitors and attendees.
In addition to exhibitor showrooms, there was also a full schedule of content including 15+ live product demonstrations, held by premium sponsors, where hundreds of attendees watched exhibitors showcase their best-sellers, trending or new products and answer questions live. Premium sponsors included Box 1903 Solutions, D.M. Merchandising, Dreamgirl, Ellie Shoes, elope, HauntPay, Ghoulish Productions/Caretas REV S.A. de C.V., KBW Global Corp, Kryolan Professional Make-up, MOM – My Other Me Costume Co., Music Legs, Trick or Treat Studios, FunWorld, Party Supply USA, Tinsley Transfers, Inc, Underwraps, Party Club of America, Disguise, and Wolfe FX Makeup & Dental Distortions.
Kelli Borel Riedmiller, B2B Chief Sales Optimizer at elope commented, “The elope sales team was impressed with our HPE Virtual show experience. This was our first organized virtual show and HPE is our biggest show of the year. Once we got the hang of it, it was very user friendly. The portal made it easy to set up our virtual showroom and products. I personally liked how you could see the buyers’ interest and their activity with elope. We could see what products they viewed and if they registered or attended our live demo. The meetings were easy to manage and attend. We were able to generate new leads and meet with many of our existing customers. The HPE team provided excellent support throughout the entire process.”
The Halloween & Party Expo team also teamed up with Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of and publisher of RetailMinded.com, to host daily Live Virtual Roundtables and On-Demand Retailer Learning Experiences exclusively for the Virtual Experience attendees. Hundreds of retailers came together to learn insights on topics such as selling online, marketing and social media, increasing customer engagement, setting goals and more.
“The Halloween & Costume Association knows how important it is to the industry to connect, drive business and create connections. The Virtual Experience was developed to support the industry and host the safest and best possible experience. We are encouraged by the Virtual Experience and looking forward to continuing to promote the celebration of Halloween throughout the year and to reunite in person for the 2022 Halloween & Party Expo,” said Michele Buggy, Executive Director at the Halloween & Costume Association.
The Halloween & Party Expo will be continuing the momentum and excitement in-person next year. The 2022 dates and location will be announced in the coming weeks.
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