Attending a conference is one of the main ways businesses and consumers network with each other, but is a 10×10 or 20×20 booth scattered with brochures and branded pens the best way to do this? Do you really need to give away gimmicks to attract attention? Below find a number of ideas to make your next conference, expo or trade show stand out from the other booth-loving events.
One of the simplest ways to make your booth stand out at a conference is to change up the style. Design and decorations can make a big impact in a sea of endless booths and dried sales pitches, injecting creativity to create a unique experience that vendors will love joining and attendees will jump to return to.
Swapmeet style can change the perspective from onlooker to active shopper and help an investor see potential from the consumer’s standpoint. That is exactly how Access Asia, hosted by Alibaba, approached their trade summit. Booths were set up in swapmeet styles, with products on display similar to what the buyer would be exposed to. Investors were able to then browse the different companies, test products, and mingle with entrepreneurs in an open, trade-friendly environment.
For food & beverage industry conferences and trade shows might approach by sorting booths by meal type (breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner, desserts) or by the origin of cuisine (think, “Around the World” theme). Sprinkle beverage vendors throughout to ensure taste testing is not lost to thirst for a successful approach. Remove the walls and classic table design from the menu and opt for a restaurant style where attendees can “order” the experience they want. Custom printed menus can display taste-tempting options from your vendors that are delivered right to the attendees at a beautiful, conversation-starting table. Here, word-of-mouth and experience blend in a boothless environment.
For the tech and communication industry, embrace the future. Include new and innovative solutions to displays, including interactive apps that are triggered as guests pass a display or LED screens that take the place of printed banners and backgrounds. Professional installation and power management limit liability while enhancing the visitor’s experience!
Gone are the days where attendees wander aimlessly through a sea of booths housing increasingly clever gimmicks to get their attention. Unify your conference with a theme that really grabs their attention. Having a unified theme also creates structure from chaos and encourages booth vendors to remove the monotony of the same old-pitches and get creative (and involved) with their displays and your attendees.
The Big Tent Circus theme is perfect for expo vendors who want to express their creativity. Adding elements such as an acrobatic artist or jugglers can enhance and unify your boothless conference.
Still love a give-a-way? Make the entire expo experience like a game show where guests actively participate in a variety of show-stopping inspired activities like Spin-to-Win, Price-is-Right or Jeopardy-like interactives are featured at each station.
With the advancement of technology growing increasingly available, booths at conferences and trade shows no longer need to rely on paper brochures and attractive gimmicks to get the conversation started.
Virtual reality (VR) can take the attendees out of the trade show and right to the source of imagination. Architects and realtors and can provide open house walk-throughs to interested participants without ever leaving the show. VR can provide an entertainment experience first hand, including live performances, rides, and more far superior to a few pictures in a brochure or a clip on loop in the background.
Augmented reality (AR) tells a story that sells and takes education to the next level. Seamlessly combine the past and future without asking attendees to put down their cell phones. In fact, take advantage of their device attraction by incorporating it into your booth with AR. Exploit all the senses with visual, auditory, haptic, and even olfactory additions that take attendees to a whole new time and place. This is one futuristic bit of technology that is sure to get your booth lots of attention, both at the conference/trade show and beyond.
Social media allows you the rare opportunity to take your show on the (digital) road. Embrace it and allow it to drive your reach even further. Simple hashtags (posted throughout the event) give you an easy way to connect attendees online with your vendors and/or event itself. Don’t stop there, encourage this behavior with a hashtag generated mosaic. Create your conference, expo or trade show’s logo with guest-generated photos from Instagram. Sounds complicated, but tools like Luster and other programs make this a work of art you can display in real time on your entrance/exit and at your after-party/future events.
Don’t let guests leave premature. One sure fire way to get attendees to remember your show or conference is with an after-party. After parties give attendees and vendors a more relaxed environment to engage in conversation about their experiences, make real connections, and network over hand-passed hors d’oeuvres and cold cocktails.
Further your show’s success by using all that data gathered at the conference (such as RSVP, on-site registration or even a custom app itself) to reconnect with attendees. Organize participating vendors to offer e-coupons and discounts right in their inbox or on their phone. Share photos from the after-party and give a list of contact details for vendors to be reached, well after the show’s past. Reuse the same data to invite vendors and thrilled attendees to the next event!
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