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Written by Craig Drushella, Onsite Operations and Logistics Manager at CDS. In the past eight years, Craig has traveled to more than 180 events across numerous industries.
Attendees want a memorable onsite experience, and show managers cannot deliver this alone. With so much happening at every show, exhibitors need to find creative ways to not only draw attendees into their booth but also encourage them to stay. CDS staff is onsite at hundreds of events each year and has seen it all. Based on their observations, here are four of their favorite techniques to keep your booth buzzing.
Provide an interactive experience: oxygen anyone?
The trend of interactive experiences in booths is not going away. Activities do not have to be grand to draw attention but simply creative and interesting. Memorable activities at recent shows that successfully increased booth traffic included a photo booth, massage chairs, interactive map displaying home states or countries for all attendees, and an oil painter creating a masterpiece to be raffled and won by an attendee. More creative experiences included one booth with an oxygen bar where attendees could sample flavored oxygen and another booth that featured a robot serving ice cream.
Bring in local flavor
When planning your booth, a great idea is to bring in elements from the event’s host city or from your company’s hometown. For example, at a recent show in New Orleans, one booth featured live jazz music. At a show in Las Vegas, one booth had Cirque du Soleil performers. Another way to provide a native experience is by offering local food samples.
Give away promotional items
Popularity will never diminish for offering visitors promotional items. Some shows have large-scale contests where attendees collect tickets from each booth visited for a chance at a grand prize—sometimes even a car. Popular promotional items seen at recent shows included portable chargers, designer sunglasses, and luggage tags that were engraved on the spot.
Create a photo opportunity
Because social media plays such a significant role in promoting events, having a fun or unique photo opportunity in your booth is an outstanding way to attract attention. CDS displayed a giant pair of glasses at an IAEE Expo! Expo! that received a lot of visitor attention and resulted in many social media posts (check out #CDSTakesExpoExpo). At a medical show, one booth had a giant blow-up colon that attendees could walk into and take pictures, which was certainly an unusual idea but created lots of interest.
What experiences do you remember? Thinking about show experiences that left a lasting impression is a great exercise when planning the booth for your next show. Building relationships by creating memories is an excellent goal for all attendees and exhibitors. Any experience that you remember after the show can be considered a success.