Providing exhibitors with a valuable and vibrant experience not only profits exhibitors, but is also key to gaining their loyalty ensuring they return for future conferences. So making their experience profitable, dynamic and pleasurable benefits both your exhibitors and you.
Event managers and meeting planners can do several things to ensure show attendees want to be in the tradeshow area. Below are a few ideas that we’ve seen work really well.
- Serving food
- Organizing events and competitions
- Setting up the space for a flawless, easy flow ensuring that delegates have a reason to walk through each section of the room
- Adjust the room temperature accordingly. If the room is too hot or stuffy, delegates won’t want to stick around – the same goes for a cold room.
- Organize a tradeshow game that encourages delegates to go to multiple booths, such as a passport
- Talk to long time exhibitors or sponsors about what they want to do at their booth. For an additional fee, you can likely work with them to set up a business lounge, Wi-Fi lounge, charging station or happy hour around their booth to attract delegates
As well as taking matters into your own hands to improve the tradeshow environment, it is also important that you show exhibitors that you want them to have a positive experience and that you care about their overall experience. Planners need to show a lot of support to those who decide to purchase exhibition space at our events. Share tips with your exhibitors on how to increase booth traffic to help them get the most out of their experience at your show.
Here is a list that you could share with your exhibitors:
- Organize contests or competitions at your booth
- Set up a creative and interactive activity at your booth such as a photo booth statio.
- Use social media. The conference likely has a hashtag that is being used by delegates. Use this hashtag and creative wording to catch their attention. Stay away from posts such as “Come see us at booth #12”. Why should delegates come to your booth? What makes your booth worth the stop?
- Spend a bit of extra money to work with the event planner on setting up a lounge area, Wi-Fi station or other services in your space. The event planner would help you promote this to attendees.
- Customer service is key. Exhibitors should stand in front of their table (or remove the table completely). The booth space should be inviting. If exhibitors are sitting behind a table on their smartphones, delegate will walk right past. Employees at your booth are your ambassadors.
- Give away promotional gifts or product samples. You don’t want delegates coming to your booth simply to grab a free promo item, but this really can be a great way to get them there. When delegates see others walking around with a cool item, they’ll want to get one too. Once they are at your booth, it’s your job to wow them with information about your organization, products or services.
- Get delegates excited about your booth before the show. Depending on the association or organizer, you may have the opportunity to send an e-blast to all registered delegates ahead of time; you may also have access to the list of delegates with email addresses. Use social media prior to the show. For large shows, attendees likely plan ahead and make a list of whom they are going to visit.
- Plan early. You can’t cede responsibility to the show organizer to get all the traffic to your booths.
- Be aggressive, but not abrasive.
- Set up a visually attractive booth. Be imaginative, use colour and set up clear signage that can be read from across the room.
- Booths with a lot of visitors tend to attract more visitors because people want to know what’s going on. If the show organizers allow it, serving food or drinks at your booth might be a good way to create a crowd.
- Provide seating at your booth. If your booth space allows it, seating is beneficial to those who need a break or a place to sit and eat their food. If they are sitting, they are staying at your booth longer and will likely be open to a conversation about your product or services.
- Give attendees the opportunity to watch products being used or let them try out your product themselves. One of the best ways to engage visitors is through hands-on demonstrations.
There are many ways for exhibitors to make the most of their experience and it is up to you to share this information with them. Some of your exhibitors may have been doing this successfully for years, but others might really appreciate the additional advice that you can provide. By helping exhibitors have a successful, enjoyable and stress-free conference increases the odds are that they will be returning next year.