People call it a mixer, others a networking event and some even dare refer to it as a reception but no matter what you name it, it’s a party. Parties are fun, an occasion to look forward to and a great way to socialize. Why wouldn't you want to include one after your conference or trade show?
We’ve all seen it. As the clock starts to click towards “closing time” at the show, vendors begin closing up shop. As the show floor beings to clear we can’t help but wonder if it’s the chicken or the egg principal… did the exhibitors back up because the traffic is gone, or is the traffic gone because the exhibitors backed up (the jury is still out on this one folks). I have just the remedy to cure these woes, and that is what Total Events does better than anyone else, PARTY.
Creating an after show reception/mixer/event is a great way to ensure that your exhibitors stick around. It gives people the opportunity to mingle and chat about the business they may be able to do with or bring to each other. Get crazy, even invite show goers to stay and vote on best booth, most compelling sales person, top product and more.
Worried about the cost of hosting this party? Don’t be! Exhibitors will often sponsor the after party in exchange for having their company promoted. Offer signature drinks named after sponsors, or give away goodie bags with the sponsor products inside. There are a million ways to sneak in some marketing for your after party sponsors and you should be taking advantage of every one of them!
The next trade show you attend, push for an after reception. Total Events has the theme décor and rentals to make your finish with a powerful bang that attendees will not forget!
No matter how you slice it, trade shows are meant to generate new business. While it's wonderful to speak with the public and see how your product or service is perceived by the public, it's largely driven by the goal to increase sales and revenue. Total Events Convention & Expo Services handles a large volume of trade shows annually and has some tips and tricks for helping you succeed this next season!
1. Expand your region and begin to attend shows outside of your immediate market.
2. Attend shows outside of your market to discover how similar businesses present themselves.
3. Do a raffle or giveaway to track the attendance of your booth. It will give you the opportunity to reach out to the people you met after the show.
4. Request a larger (double) booth in an area that will see a majority of traffic, such as on a corner.
5. Be bold and cutting edge with your booth design to draw attendees in 6. Sometimes with decor, less is more. Showing fewer items but with more impact will help you focus on what you are trying to display. You do not want clutter.
7. Research your target market at the show and design your booth around exactly what they would want to see (IE: Don't push honeymoon travel for a Baby Boomer Show)
8. Remember to re-vamp your booth space and marketing material annually - especially if you attend the same shows every year.
9. Invest in something that sets you apart from the best of the booths such as a different color drape, tall signage or lighting - you don't want to look like everyone else there.
10. Send out e-mails and social media reminders about the show to encourage attendance of your target market.
11. Create a QR Code for your website to track how many people are visiting you from the show.
12. Unveil a new product or service at the show to encourage interest and promote attendance.
13. Offer a free goodie with your logo or website on it for guests to take with them.
14. Make your booth interactive with a game, giveaway or service. If people are going to stop to partake in your special activity you have a better opportunity to talk with them.
15. Use video to show what services and products you provide. If you are speaking to someone else you won't miss the opportunity to educate the other visitors to your booth.
16. Become a sponsor for the registration or after show reception. This is a great way to continue to get your logo on trade show material and at the event.
17. Offer a show special or discount for attendees.
18. Have at least 2 people at your booth. This will ensure that even if you need to take a break, someone is there to handle traffic.
19. Don't sit down! The best way to attract attention is to be engaged and at eye level to your crowd.
20. Collect cards! It is just as important to collect the information from your potential client as it is to hand out your own. Following up after the show is a great way to keep the dialogue going!
The things I have learned over the years about trade shows
#1. Don't have them on holiday weekends
While many people think that it's a good idea of have a trade show/convention over a holiday weekend, it generally isn't. Yes, people maybe have an extra day off but they generally will spend that time going for a short trip or spending time with family. The last thing anyone wants to do it A. work and B. fight crowds in a busy expo center. From a business perspective, holiday weekends are also very busy for the venues and companies hosting your show and installing your equipment. You may be paying a premium for this sort of date.
#2. After Work Hours Are Not Appealing
Sometimes we see "after hours" mixers and shows come through. Generally, this is a lot of activity cramped into a small amount of time. After spending 8+ hours at work, a lot of people have a hard time committing to more work. Even if cocktails are involved, you are going to loose a lot of your target market to parental responsibilities, later hours and personal matters.
#3. The Best Shows are Unique
We have all been to the standard "X” show. Whether that “X” is bridal, chamber, business professional etc, it doesn't matter. Just gathering a group of people who are similar doesn't make for a great event. Have a reason for people to want to be there. Make people feel entertained and pampered. So much of our day is spent catering to everyone else, make your guests AND your exhibitors feel like their presence will be rewarding and fun.
#4. Move away from the same old boring "booth" concept.
Everyone has been to a trade show, but maybe they haven't been to a wedding pro speed dating session, or a Chamber wine tasting. You can still accomplish the same goal of networking and relationship building without the label of "show". Add some tall cocktail tables, lounge furniture and unique activities for people to engage in rather than the same old format. You will be surprised with the result!
#5. Everyone wants to win.
Vendors want to feel like they are capturing quality leads and attendees want to feel like they have gained something for their time. Do a give away for both! Promote and encourage people to vote on the best booth or presentation. Have guests walk away with something for offering their feedback and opinions. The way to their heart is through goodies!
Whether you are just starting to exhibit or you are a trade show veteran, understanding the basics is crucial to your success.Let Total Events walk you the basics if you are a trade show novice or provide a few tips to veteran exhibitors to make planning for your trade show events an easier venture.
What is your booth exactly?
A general booth space is typically an 8'X10' Pipe and Draped structure with a skirted table, (2) chairs, wastebasket and Vendor Identification sign.Depending on your venue, you may have items such as: carpet, electrical drops or internet. Make sure you are aware of what any “extras” are and use them to your advantage when you are able! These items can help shave off hundreds of extra dollars from your trade show costs, and the best part is you are already paying for them!
Where are you going?
Are you facing an aisle?Is there a column in your booth?Are you next door to a direct competitor?Ask questions!Waiting until a month before the show to ask to be moved can be tricky business as many materials for shows (like show books and exhibitor maps) are already in production.Making changes too late in the game can mean you miss out on potential clients, solely because they didn’t know where to find you!Knowing details about your booth can help you and your exhibit house determine the best way to take advantage of your space AND your trade show assets like hanging rings, video monitors and table/seating placement.
Who is you Show Decorator?
After you have secured your trade show display space, one of your first steps is to contact the Show Management and determine who the show decorator is.The Show Coordinator typically books business like Total Events as a first step in their event process.The decorator is the company that provides services such as:carpet, A/V, material handling, etc.Knowing who your decorator is will help you troubleshoot any issues you may have in the planning of your event.
Have you filled out your Exhibitor Kit?
Once you have determined who your decorator is you will want to request a Show/Exhibitor Kit.Show kits are invaluable assets on virtually everything to do with your show.The Exhibitor packet is a summary of all the essential show information on one page:discount deadlines, shipping dates, move in and out dates, show hall hours, etc. Keep this document handy!This document will help keep you organized at a glance.This single document has a majority of the information needed to help keep you on budget and on schedule.Make sure to double check all deadlines listed on forms.
Gathering the information and items above early in your trade show planning process will help ensure the long term success of your event. Knowing this information will help lower costs, reduce frustration, and keep you organized.If you have questions about an upcoming trade show or convention, contact the experts at Total Events, the leader is Upstate Expo services!Visit our website at www.conventionexposervices.com.
The mark of a good business expo might be hard for some people to find. While many people might think it is all about the glitz of the show floor, others believe the proof is in the heavy swag back they tote home with them. Here are some trade and true ways to evaluate the next trade show you attend.
The people behind the booth are the barometer for how well a convention is doing. A hall filled with smiling faces and the buzz of commerce means an A+ convention. Keep in mind that this event is an expense for the businesses exhibiting and they want a successful show to ensure a good return on their investment. Happy vendors means the show is going well. If you can hear a pin drop or the people working at the exhibit booths appear bored, the prognosis of the show is poor.
#3 Did the show have amenities?
There are a few markers of a first class show, and having "extras" is at the top of the list. Trade shows with quality convention services will likely offer additional features that a lower budget show may not be able to afford. If you can spot a guest lounge, refreshment kiosk, guest services counter or upgraded theme decor in the convention space it is likely that you are at a high end show. Many lower budget shows don't attract high big spenders and probably have a more simple display. The shows that have their pick of exhibitors and expect a large crowd will often invest in more colorful drapery, upgraded guest conveniences and eye catching designs.
The economy has been difficult to navigate for all business in the last few years. More than anything, a tough economy has bonded professionals together and encouraged a return to more personal relationships, better customer service and some much needed innovation in products. The trade show circuit combines networking with the introduction of new product innovations, making these events more important than ever.
Some businesses have had to cut their marketing budget and being an exhibitor at trade shows can be an expensive venture. If you find that you are unable to exhibit at a show you have always displayed at, make sure you still attend as a guest. It is still important to be in front of the rest of the industry, even if it is simply from a show goer’s perspective. Use the time to focus on what other business are producing, how they display their services and in what ways you can improve upon your own exhibit. Keep in mind that a lot of new products developed have been developed in 2011 as the economy began its rise back up, and they’ll need to be rolled out at 2012 shows.
No one wants to take time out of an already packed schedule to attend anything optional, but go anyway. The opportunity to speak with colleagues is important and can only help you in the long run. Become acquainted with the ways your competitors are marketing themselves from a different perspective. Having your biggest competition pitch their product to you will give you incredible insight and allow you to understand how to more effectively align yourself in the market.
The biggest draw to go is to take advantage of specials that may be available at a trade show. Many businesses offer promotional rates and convention deals to entice their audience to purchase. Know what products and services you need to acquire before heading to the show and you will certainly walk away with some bargains.
If you have questions about an upcoming trade show or convention, contact the experts at Total Events, the leader is Upstate Expo services! Visit our website at www.conventionexposervices.com.
Skeptics would say that a convention is about business and not style. These skeptics are wrong. From the moment we step out of bed, the decisions we make are based on what looks good. Clothes, food, cars, houses… we live in a world of coveting what looks desirable. A trade show is no different. Let Total Events style your next convention so that attendees will want to be there.
The main element of a trade show is the exhibitor booths and if they look boring, so does your show. Total Events has the solution for these boring booths. Our extensive collection of fabrics and drapery colors and styles combined with unique linens to replace that dull table skirting will flip the generic trade show floor on its head. Now that we have the bones of your event amped up, we can focus on the details.
Signage is important when promoting a business or product; take the opportunity to make it great. Custom balloons are also a great way to grab attention and spread the word about your business or product. Total Events can create custom signage and promotional balloons for your vendors, adding to the distinctive design of their space.
Making the space inviting for attendees is a major component to keep them on the show floor as long as possible. Create an attendee lounge for guests to rest their weary bones in. Given a few minutes to relax and enjoy a refreshment will rejuvenate your crowd and persuade them to take another lap through the show space to check back in on any exhibits they may have missed the first time around.
Give guests a break from business and let me relax. Total Events can accommodate Casino tables, Carnival games and other entertainment requests for your upcoming event. Adding some amusement will lighten the mood and enhance the friendly vibe of the tradition. Encouraging guests to let their hair down and network more socially takes the pressure off of what can be a dry, tense environment.
If you have questions about an upcoming trade show or convention, contact the experts at Total Events, the leader is Upstate Expo services! Visit our Convention & Expo Services page!