As meeting planners, show managers and exhibitors work together toward a successful trade show experience, there are things they can do to make it better, as recently pointed out in the February 2014 edition of The Meeting Professional. So, rather than fight to make things happen, seasoned trade show pros highlighted ways managers and exhibitors can work more effectively as a team
Here are the ten items outlined in the article:
Get exhibitors involved in the planning process.
Instead of working in a silo, invite booth exhibitors – a segment of small, medium and large vendors – to participate on the committee. By getting all parties involved, you will make certain the total objectives of the show are met.
Schedule exclusive trade show time.
"There must be dedicated hours for the trade show when there is nothing major competing with it," said Susan Friedmann from The Trade Show Coach.
Don't be too rigid and put your revenue objectives above anything else.
I get it – you want to have standards and make money. Who doesn't? But you have so many rules when it comes to EACs that make it virtually impossible for outside vendors to come in, even if they have a long-term relationship with the exhibitor. Standards make sense but knocking a vendor out because you don't personally know them, doesn't.
Also, adding exhibitors that are not a right fit for the show is a mistake. You will get them once and then they will be gone.
Give exhibitors information in the way they want to receive it.
Some will want attendee information on paper, others digitally. Some will want detailed information about attendees others just a cursory scan. The important thing is to give them what they want.
Allow for flexibility on the floor.
Some exhibitor's will want to set appointment, others will want to have a product launching event and others yet will want to set up a relaxing lounge armed with a charging station.
As long as the booth participants don't create a safety hazard or infringe on others, let it happen.
Target your attendees.
Every attendee is not a right fit for you. If you receive #4 from above from your show manager, you should be able to target a very small segment of attendees in hopes you will have long, mutually beneficial conversations with them.
Go to the education.
If you and your team attend the conference as attendees, you may learn about the concerns and challenges of your market and be able to highlight the products and services you offer when they come by your booth.
Keep it interactive.
Rent iPads and have touch screens in your booth so attendees can be more in command of the experience. The more visually appealing your booth should equate to more traffic to it and can foster engagement with attendees.
Man the booth with experts.
"Attendees don't want to be sold to anymore — they want to be educated," shared Traci Browne, Owner of Red Cedar Marketing.
Emphasize what's new.
Attendees want to know what new products and services you have and what is on the horizon. They can go to your website to see what you currently offer. Think of the lure of the auto show; it isn't about what is on the road today, but what is coming.