Event Design

60+ Tactics to Drive More Attendees to Exhibition Booths


drive more attendees to exhibition booths - trade show

Skift Take

Discover creative booth activation ideas, effective marketing strategies, and proven techniques to attract and engage attendees effortlessly. Boost your next event's success and turn visitors into valuable leads.

If you’re a trade show organizer, you want to ensure your exhibitors’ success. Successful exhibition booths mean a high return on investment (ROI), which leads to happy exhibitors. And happy exhibitors? They return year after year, creating a positive cycle.

For exhibitors, having a bustling booth means more sales and greater brand visibility. You want the event to attract your ideal customers, ensuring they visit your booth and understand how your product or service meets their needs.

But how do you drive attendees to exhibition booths and keep them engaged?

While some trade show models are as simple as sending out invitations, others demand a savvy mix of pre-event marketing, strategic live engagement, and irresistible booth appeal. In the latter case, maximizing your opportunities entails a mix of good booth design, interactive exhibits, social media, and novelty.

Here are 60+ tactics to ensure your booth becomes the must-visit destination at your next event.

Whose Responsibility Is It To Keep Booths Busy?

Booth traffic requires the effort of two groups of people: the trade show organizer and the exhibitor.

Organizer

The trade show organizer ensures that exhibitors and attendees are mutually curated to foster the most qualified connections. But getting the right people to the event is only the first step.

They must also ensure that the attendees make it to the exhibit hall and spend time engaging with the exhibitors. There are a number of ways they can do this:

  • Use interactive drivers, such as gamification or scavenger hunts, to encourage participation
  • Book exhibit hall hours strategically to avoid competing events
  • Provide education to vendors on how to best reach attendees before and at the event
  • Adopt smart matchmaking apps and other interaction-driving tech
  • Offer viable sponsorship opportunities for added marketing and attendee engagement
  • Enable pre-event meeting scheduling between exhibitors and attendees (and relevant data to help the former make decisions to meet or not)
  • Think about complementary services and offerings when planning your floor plan, and be cognizant of competitors

Exhibitors

The exhibitors/vendors share the onus of keeping the booth busy, and there are a number of strategies for ensuring a good ROI:

  • Select events that draw the crowd you want to attract
  • Use the attendee list to reach out to prospective customers and existing clients
  • Design your booth to stand out and draw a crowd, but also to tell your story
  • Train your team to develop engagement skills to make those conversations convert into sales opportunities
  • Use engagement techniques to hold the attention of the audience
  • Pre-arrange meetings with those who are looking for your products or services

The trade show organizer is responsible for setting vendors and exhibitors up for success. Still, it’s up to the latter to come prepared and strategically take advantage of the opportunity.

How To Build Momentum Pre-Event As An Exhibitor?

Promoting a trade show on social media.
Promoting a trade show on social media. Photo by Urupong/Adobe Stock

Before the event begins, you may have access to a registered attendee list, either as a PDF or via a website or app.

The organizer likely has strict rules about what you can do with that list. In most cases, emails are not made available. For this reason, be strategic in your approach.

One key place to start is to scan the attendee list for current customers. Then arrange meetings with them, invite them to cocktails, or look to create other loyalty touchpoints.

Hot tip:

Remember, current customers are your easiest sell and source for referrals.

  • Don’t randomly spam all attendees with your one and only contact allowance. Use the data available to see if you can spot your ideal customer. Then, send them a tailored message.
  • Take to social media and announce to people that you’ll be in attendance. Create a contest they’ll want to be a part of. You can even give away tickets to the conference.
  • Help market the conference or event. The organizers will appreciate it, and they might even share your social media posts.
  • Start conversations on social media using the event hashtag to engage prospective attendees and promote the event.
  • Provide worthwhile resources for attendees. Share blog posts, tips, and videos with useful information about the event and the host city.

Awesome Trade Show Booth Ideas For Event Planners

There are several areas in which you can help your exhibitors be more successful. The tactics of smart matchmaking, gamification, and wayfinding drive beneficial introductions and traffic to your trade show floor. Make sure you pair them with a way to collect and analyze data so you can report back to your exhibitors later to show them ROI.

1. Smart Matchmaking

The goal of any trade show is to make valuable, profitable connections. Exhibitors want to connect with people who are in the right demographic and who are in the market to buy.

You can use technology to arrange that perfect meeting. Many events now use smart matchmaking tech – some AI-powered – to match the audience’s needs with the vendors’ services or products. The app can then use things like beacon technology to “introduce” the two or scheduling features to facilitate meeting arrangements ahead of time.

This type of smart matchmaking makes the time spent at the event more productive and efficient for both sides.

2. Event Gamification

Gamification goes a long way to drive desired actions. If you want to increase traffic on your show floor, adding a gamified experience can do that.

Gamification uses game mechanics and competition to spur people on to collect points and level up. Game mechanics are what make games so addictive and compelling – things like competition, a sense of progression, and a mix of short and long-term gratification.

If you want to drive more traffic to your event floor, give each booth visit or vendor connection a point value. You can even create point milestones to give people a sense of progression or accomplishment. Badges are a great example of this. Create badges for seeing a predetermined number of vendors, like ‘nimble networker’ for 10 connections, ‘meeting marksman’ for 20, and ‘uncanny connector’ for 40. Make badge-winners eligible for things others aren’t to add another layer of incentive to play the game.

assorted badges to use for event gamification
Assorted badges for event gamification. Photo by Robert Anasch/Unsplash

Add a social element to the game by displaying a leaderboard on the show floor and in the event app. Seeing the top networkers get that recognition will motivate others to compete for a spot. Lastly, publicize the exciting things going on with your gamification and the exhibit hall to generate even more of a buzz. Add bonus points for social shares, and get your vendors involved by offering them the opportunity to sponsor games or challenges.

3. Wayfinding

When attendees don’t know where they’re going, it can be very frustrating for them and your vendors waiting for an audience. That’s why improving the wayfinding at your next event can greatly decongest the show floor.

Some people like GPS-powered maps, while others prefer static images. You might even use a chatbot to help direct them. The best wayfinding solutions likely incorporate several of these ideas.

Show attendees with particular interests likely have no interest in meandering the show floor. Shows like The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), which brings together music and sound professionals for networking, have an audience with specific meeting goals. The event organizers worked to design an app that would help attendees define the most productive path from one booth to another so they could move efficiently between meetings.

Vendors and Trade Show Promotion: How to Get People to Come to Your Booth?

Getting attendees to come to your booth when you have a large budget takes little more than creating a Hollywood-esque experience. But what do you do if that sort of extravaganza isn’t in your budget? The key to driving booth traffic on a low budget is user experience and memorability.

Regardless of your budget, here’s an array of exhibition booth ideas to help you make an impact at trade shows:

Interactive Booth Games And Fun Activities

Games and competitions make getting to know you fun and help to make a big impression on any budget.

4. Fishbowl Raffle

Ask everyone who stops by your booth to drop a business card into the fishbowl and come back later for the prize draw. The prize can be anything from a bottle of wine to a trial of your product.

The game collects contacts and encourages attendees to return later to see if they have won a prize, giving you a second opportunity to engage them.

5. Social Media Competition

If you want to focus your booth on serious content, you can instead hold a social media competition to win your products or services. Anyone attending your booth could use a QR code for easy submission, and they get a bonus entry for being there in person.

6. Sign-up Giveaway

happy business people at a busy trade show booth
Happy business people at a trade show booth. Photo by Surachetsh/Adobe Stock

Focus your budget on a larger prize as a giveaway and collect details and information for potential leads and prospects to follow up on. A simple sign-up to an email list could merit one entry into the draw, but you could offer bonus entries for signing up for services such as newsletters or updates.

7. Info Hunt

Create an info hunt contest with the potential of a large prize. Give attendees questions they can easily answer with company info before visiting the booth (i.e., with information found on the company website or YouTube channel).

This will help the person become more familiar with the company and product and provide additional touch points for you to engage with them before speaking to them at the event.

Encourage them to bring their completed forms/questionnaires to the booth where they will be registered for a giveaway of an amazing prize. The final prize must be something worth all the effort, such as airline tickets or a getaway.

8. Mini-golf

A miniature golf course works really well as a showcase of signage and branding. You can offer prizes for holes in one, amazing shots, a lucky hole, and just being a good sport. Make prizes relevant to you and your brand in some way so that they are more memorable and reinforce your marketing objectives.

9. Social Media Clue Hunt

There are a lot of ways to bring social media into the trade show. Encourage people to follow you and share a secret clue or a special codeword, then tell people to take that codeword and come to the booth for a special prize.

10. Check-in For The Win

Get attendees to call even more attention to your event booth by offering a “check-in for the win” contest. The idea behind this game is to leverage social sharing to generate a buzz about your booth.

If someone checks in at your booth on social media and uses the event hashtag (or your hashtag), give them a special prize or enter them into a draw for something spectacular.

Exhibition Stand Attractions and Activities

attractive trade show booth idea - Helsinki, Finland
Attractive trade show booth idea – Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Suzi Media/Adobe Stock

Another way to get people to your booth is to ensure something exciting is going on and advertise it as such. Here are a few interesting booth ideas that bring the crowds.

11. Booth Entertainment

You don’t have to be a performing monkey but entertaining attendees makes you more memorable and creates a more relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Bring your booth to life with hired entertainment. These entertainers don’t just excite the audience, they become a vital part of your demo crew. Think about those late-night infomercials with over-the-top personalities and have some fun replicating that in a lighthearted, but above all, informative way.

12. Bubbles

A cheap bubble machine can work wonders, and we all revert back to kids when the bubbles are in the air. This childish idea can draw people in and also add some whimsical fun to your booth, which is perfect if you have a cheery brand image.

13. Magician/Urban Tricksters

A magician, card, or urban trickster can add a wow factor and leave a lasting impression, especially with tricks that guests haven’t seen before. The magic doesn’t have to stop at drawing a crowd; adding an interactive element can make for a truly memorable booth experience.

14. Mini Massages

Offer a relaxing mini massage at your booth so that attendees can take a break, unwind, and feel comfortable, which will make them associate these feelings with your brand. Generally, you can have professional masseurs come in exchange for some signage of their services at your booth. This works as long as the two brands can complement each other rather than compete.

15. Brand Ambassador Stories

Crowd in motion at a futuristic trade show event
Crowd in motion at a futuristic trade show event. Photo by artsakon/Adobe Stock

Contact people already speaking highly of your products or services, and ask them to participate in the product demo and speak about their experience. You can also make them part of a panel discussion, allowing them to tell their story if you have any stage time.

16. Tech Bar

Set up a technology bar with plugs to recharge devices, then give people a reason to stay as they power up. This setup will attract tech-savvy prospects (or even those wanting to check in on their social channels). Creating an environment for clients and potential clients to relax at the booth makes attendees more receptive to talking to you about your company or product.

17. R&R Lounge

Your ‘R&R lounge’ will attract the crowd when you offer charging stations, comfortable seating, soft lighting, beverages, and other items to comfort fatigued attendees. In exchange for chatting with a rep or an email log-in, attendees get admission to this exhibit hall oasis.

For a twist, use exclusivity as a driver by pinging your ideal customers on the event app and inviting them to join the ‘guest list.’

18. Workspace

Futuristic exhibition booth design
Futuristic exhibition booth design. Photo by Shooting Star Std/Adobe Stock

A similar draw is to turn your event booth into a workspace with plugs and adapters. Most attendees are balancing work and their personal lives. Even at an event that is dedicated to fun, they may need to do some work or check-in.

Providing them with a comfortable and functional place to do it can keep them on the exhibit floor instead of trudging back to their rooms.

The trick is to create an exchange around the experience so they don’t just use your space and leave without engaging with you. One way around that is to ask people to sign up with their email to access the space. Another is to ask people to post about you on social media using the event hashtag (or another one of your choosing) to use the space.

19. Product Launch

If you have a major product or service launch, you can save it for a trade show event and announce it at your booth. Encourage people to livestream it, and they can be among the first to announce it. This honor alone can drive a lot of people. Just make sure you market the product launch and encourage people to be among the first to share it.

20. Live Demos

Attendees at a live demo at a trade show booth
Attendees at a live demo at a trade show booth. Photo by Vladimir Borovic/Adobe Stock

You can let your technology do the talking by allowing visitors to experience your technology through live demos at the booth. This is a great opportunity for new product launches or to display and troubleshoot products based on audience demand.

Different areas of the booth can allow innovation to shine. Customers will appreciate being able to take a hands-on approach through interacting with the product and asking questions of the experts.

21. Live Knowledge Sharing

Demos draw a crowd, but just because you don’t have a product that fits a demonstration doesn’t mean you can’t use this drive at your trade show booth.

Create mini-sessions where you tell people how to do something that involves your product or service. For instance, if you sell marketing automation, consider a mini-seminar on creating your personal platform or building an audience.

22. Awesome Swag

Branded Swag is still going strong. Promotional items, such as t-shirts or thermal mugs that keep drinks hot or cold are still go-to giveaways for exhibitors and snapped up by visitors.

Before choosing swag, make sure you understand the rules for exhibitors. Is food allowed? What limitations are there? A well-selected piece of swag can draw quite a crowd and have attendees hunting for you all over the expo hall.

23. Product Samplers

Attendees love free food and drinks, but you don’t have to produce food to use this concept. All sorts of samples are intriguing.

Food sampling can be a major part of the booth design to attract visitors. Think TV kitchen. Use a bar layout with a fridge and display behind the tasting area. They even fit in a flat-screen TV for product videos or entertainment. Then don’t forget to find a strong hook to link the food back to your product or service.

24. Photo Booths

Many attendees are eager to bolster their personal brands through regular social media postings, so photo booths can work incredibly well.

Photo booths can be a participatory activity, an ice-breaker, and a way to capture attendees’ attention. A well-branded, well-placed photo booth can be the perfect marketing trifecta for a successful booth.

Take an image series and use it to create an animation. Use a smart screen to create a ‘selfie mirror.’ Consider using a green screen for background versatility.

Frames and filters are a creative and clever way to include event information or hashtags on shared photos.

Your photo booth needn’t be limited to a flat 2D background either. Create an interesting vintage feel with upcycled goods. You can use frames, old lighting, textiles, lace, and vintage furniture, and for a professional-looking set.

Food/Refreshments at Exhibition Booths

Food and refreshment ideas at trade show booth
Food and refreshment ideas at a trade show booth. Photo by Erich/Adobe Stock

Trade shows and exhibitions are tiring, especially if attendees are aiming to stay all day. Food and drinks are always popular.

25. Trade Info for Sustenance

Require attendees to pay for items with contact details. An email could be worth a beverage and snack, while an email and number could be exchanged for a meal. Let people purchase items with social posts that mention you. Otherwise, ask people to sign up or leave their contact details to get open bar access.

Popular exhibition-friendly consumables include bottles of water, bags of popcorn, protein or granola bars, miniature foods, and depending on the type of event, cocktails and glasses of wine.

26. Brand the Packaging

For added value, brand the packaging to increase awareness and traffic. Thirsty attendees will see where their peers got the bottle of water and will actively seek you out, adding to your contact/lead list and helping to justify the expense of the service.

Are you worried you might not be the only one feeding the masses? Ensure you stand out by offering vegan options, sustainable ingredients, or even a healthier alternative, such as antioxidant-infused chocolate.

Vendor Booth Decorating Ideas

Your booth design and decorating can say a lot about your services or brand as a whole, so keep these trade show engagement ideas and booth examples in mind:

27. Bright Colors

Innovative tradeshow booth decorated with helium balloons
Innovative tradeshow booth decorated with helium balloons. Photo by DigitalArt Max/Adobe Stock

A bold color scheme can draw the eye and make people look at your booth first. Bright colors can be an excellent asset in the competition for attention, they tend to appear more inviting or welcoming and are harder to ignore.

28. Living Walls/Art Installations

These can be easy to create on a low budget, as you can create living walls yourself, and they add extra depth and dimension to your booth. A live art installation also intrigues attendees and offers a unique photo opportunity for attendees to take pictures with the model or subject.

29. Themes

Theming done correctly can cause a stir, particularly if it relates to your brand message. It doesn’t have to break the budget; committing to it is key here. Think of small, quirky details, and you will definitely leave an impression. If you have a larger budget, consider a larger theme.

30. Seating/Lounges

Adding some bean bags, beach chairs, or camping chairs can be a cost-effective lounge or seating idea, which is always welcome to attendees who have been walking for hours.

Creating a lounge encourages people to congregate and allows you to talk to them, get them interested in your products or services, and potentially make a sale.

31. LED Chandeliers and Lighting

Lighting effects can be very noticeable, particularly if they change color.

This booth has a seating area, double-height backdrop, and ceiling décor, which are branded with the company logo, colors, and message. The large backdrop is used for both digital and printed displays to sell the products and business at the show, giving it function and form.

Credit:  ComUnit

Lighting is a powerful tool that can change the mood and atmosphere of your booth. When used on a smaller scale, it is fairly budget-friendly. Use lighting to highlight your products and make them noticeable from afar. If you have a small space, try to pick one element and focus on that rather than overcomplicating things by using a lot of different lighting effects.

32. Tree House

This exhibition stand allows attendees to venture upstairs to different rooms and lounges where the exhibitor is showcasing their products in action, which not only creates a unique way of making their experience memorable but also allows attendees to resonate with the display and consider the products for their everyday lives.

The upper deck is designed in a similar way to a tree house (and features an actual tree) which could be accessed from different sides of the stand to allow for a lot of attendees at once.

33. Shipping Containers

If you have a lot of space to work with, this can be a unique and adaptable idea that is fairly self-contained (although tricky to set up).

It’s particularly useful if you are a company trying to showcase a variety of different products or services at once. The modular design lends itself to different unique spaces. You can play this up with glass walls or walkways.

This giant unit is connected and forms two levels that are accessible from within to allow you a vast showcasing space.

Credit: Boulyguy, BudeContainerizedSolutions

34. Modular Light Up

This modular idea allows you to change colors throughout the event to accommodate certain moods or to get attention. It is highly adaptable, and the way it is built means you can create interesting or different shapes to suit the space or your needs. This double-height booth also has the signage front and center so that it is illuminated for all to see.

35. Cardboard Interlocking

You can use interlocking cardboard segments that connect the furniture inside to the outer stand itself. The design adds height and dimensions to the booth. The printed board is simple and effective. This buildable idea could be adapted to suit different dimensions or extra supported height if necessary, although it probably wouldn’t suit walkable areas. This design would be particularly popular for brands or trade shows with a sustainability or eco focus. Once dismantled, some of it could be used again for future event furniture or quirky seating.

Credit: Cartonlab

36. Overhanging Roof

For bold statements and big budgets, high custom builds can be an excellent integration for your stand design. This overhanging roof looks professional and extends the branding and colors to create the appearance of a branded space without sacrificing openness.

Credit: KOPexpo

37. Big Billboards

Giant billboards are simple but effective. This interesting booth mixes things up with the brand’s signage and levels by featuring branded barriers, temporary canopies, and large billboards, appealing to attendees in a variety of different ways as they look and interact with the stand.

Credit: Skyline Xtreme Xhibits

38. Faux Outdoor Setting

At the Vine expo, this booth design incorporated the vineyard element into their wine-related booth. Notice the crosshatch plants on the structure above attendees’ heads. They incorporated their own signage in between. They tied the high décor with the low living wall and printed wall designs, accentuated by the lighting. This idea gives the same intimate feel of visiting a real vineyard and walking between the vines but with a modern, abstract quality.

Credit: Trade Show Explorer, Vineexpo

Attendees enjoy seeing outdoor elements make their way inside. Other elements that fit this idea are live walls, garden furniture, and grass mats or carpets.

39. Homespun

Comfortable and familiar atmospheres evoke trust and draw people to you, which is why chairs, seating, and lounge areas work well. This showcase turns the entire stand into a chic, rustic bedroom, and attendees will wish for their comfy place.

Showcase your design talents in unique ways, as this interior designer did when letting her booth and work speak for her at Toronto’s Interior Design Show 2017.

Credit: Trish Knight

40. Eye-candy Design or Illusion

Incorporate the weird and wacky into your booth and get attendees talking. Illusions, such as trompe l’oeil, effects make the booth very memorable. You can also incorporate a prize wheel for an eye-catching design.

41. DIY/Rustic Trend

Pallets are a favorite DIY option because they can be so design-diverse. From furniture to event entertainment, they are now making their way into exhibitions as a unique, rustic way of displaying products, signage, or artwork.

Just as in home DIY, pallets can be used in trade show booth design. They can help booths have an open feeling and allow attendees to walk around freely. They can also make it easy to add a mini seating area that is welcoming to encourage guests and invite them to stay.

42. Neon Secrecy

Appeal to curiosity by enclosing your booth so that attendees have to enter or get closer to see what is going on. This neon party idea is fun and engaging, leaving attendees with something to showcase once they leave your booth so others are signposted to come and investigate.

The tent offers an alternative booth option to the shell scheme, but either way, secrecy can attract attendees. It is important to make sure that you are worth the effort, so there should be incentives or ideas that add value inside your booth so that word of mouth spreads.

Credit: Beauty Day Girls Spa & Fun

Smart Touchpoints and Social Media Booth Ideas

Any social media effort incorporated into your exhibition marketing should be targeted. While you may use things like hashtags to find your event audience on social media, it’s important to do more than simply tell them to visit your booth.

43. Social Ads

Social ads, unlike hashtags, give you the ability to segment your audience so that a specific group sees your message. It will also give you insights as to who clicked through.

Using a social ad is ideal to drive traffic, but if you do go this route, do more than simply give your booth number. Use the platform to give attendees a valuable reason to come to your exhibition booth and target the messaging to the audience you most want there.

44. Ask Questions: Hot-topic Questions on Social

A podium at a trade show floor
A podium at a trade show floor. Photo by Tahir/Adobe Stock

Start a discussion by asking hot-topic questions on social media. They can be industry-related or just fun ‘this or that’ options. Let them see your personality, and they’ll be more interested in meeting you at your booth.

Whenever possible, use a number pneumonic to help attendees remember where to find you. For instance, let’s say you’re in booth 867. Any Gen Xer will tell you that’s the beginning of ‘Jenny’s number.’ Instilling that in your audience’s head will ensure they’ll be singing that song (or reciting your memory aid) all day. Not a bad thing for your booth.

45. Charity Giving

How can you turn your booth sales into a charity giving event? Make it known that a portion of the proceeds goes to your favorite charity. Cause marketing goes a long way – and it’s for a good cause.

This tactic can be used to sway people who are unsure about purchasing, as their money will only be eligible for charity giving if they act at the event.

46. Buy Premium Ads on the Mobile Event App

If the event has a mobile event app, a good investment could be banner or premium ads within the app. That way, attendees won’t have to remember your booth number. A reminder of it will be front-and-center each time they open their app.

15 Tips to Get More Conversions

Getting traffic to the exhibit floor is an important part of the process, but converting that traffic into sales opportunities is what makes it worthwhile.

As a planner, helping your exhibitors have more success in their booths, and more foot traffic will also make your event more successful as they will decide to come back and possibly invest more with you next year.

47. Know, Like and Trust

People want to do business with those they know, like, and trust, so the first word a salesperson says when someone stops by a booth shouldn’t be about the product or service.

Instead, they need to establish rapport and a common connection. Ask the visitors about themselves, where they’re from, and what they enjoy about the event.

48. Listen and Apply

Often people will tell you what their problems are in a subtle way. Sometimes it comes out without you realizing it. For instance, you may ask them how they’re enjoying the show. They tell you they like it but have barely had time to enjoy it because the office keeps asking questions. This type of confidence can be gold for a vendor that sells productivity software.

Restraint will help you retain the trust. Instead of going in for a hard sell, wait for them to ask what you sell, and then tell them you help extraordinarily busy people get more control of their day so they don’t have to be drowning in work. Now you’ve just made a connection.

49. Keep Them There

Give qualified attendees a reason to spend time in your booth developing that knowledge, trust, and positive impression of you. The longer they are there, the more time you have to build a connection and get them more interested in what you have to offer. Use that time to learn more about them and how best to market to them – and to introduce the next step in the process.

Besides, when they’re talking to you, they’re not talking to the competition, and having them there will make your trade show booth look more popular, making others wonder what they’re missing.

50. Set Up Appointments with Prospects Ahead of Time

Exhibitors should scan the event attendee list ahead of time and arrange meetings with prospects who will be there. Prospects are more likely to show up at the booth if you set an appointment before the event.

51. Don’t Forget Current Clients

Invite current clients to the booth and then have a special thank you gift waiting. Not only will it delight the clients, but it will also impress potential clients when they see how current clients are treated. They’ll want to be a part of it.

52. Attract the Ideal Client/Customer

Many exhibitors opt for really cool swag, but you should aim at creating a campaign that brings the right people to the exhibition booth to begin with. If allowed by the organizer, drip marketing before the event can help create interest and buzz and send the type of people who will buy to your booth.

You don’t want to tie up your sales team’s time with tire kickers unless you’re there just for exposure and to get your name out.

53. Make it Comfortable

Tradeshow booth with artistic and innovative displays
Tradeshow booth with artistic and innovative displays. Photo by Shooting Star Std/Adobe Stock

A comfortable booth will entice people to stay. If your product has a sales cycle longer than five minutes, this will benefit you. Remove long tables where your salespeople stand behind them and hand out brochures. Today’s successful booths are open and inviting. Think lounge style.

54. Use a Giveaway, Attendees Will Notice

Especially if your sales strategy involves a time commitment from your prospects, offer a good incentive for sticking around for the process. Give people something they’ll be tempted to put on or use on the exhibit floor. Other attendees will stop them and ask them where they got it. And then presto! Instant crowd.

But make sure you have a way to tie that swag into what you offer. Since you’re giving them something, they’ll feel obligated to listen to what you have to say for a hot second, so make it good and pique their interest.

55. Use Customers and Social Proof

You can be very convincing as a salesperson, but nothing convinces others like someone who doesn’t work for the company. Ask customers to stop by, give them the gift mentioned above, and then introduce them to a prospect at your booth and step out of the way.

Glowing recommendations will create sales. Create connections and let them work for you.

56. Get Out from Behind the Booth

The best thing you can do in your business for potential clients is to be helpful. Get out from behind your booth. Walk the floor. Be helpful. But do so in branded attire. Even if you never mention your product, people will associate your help with your business.

57. Test Drive Before Going Green

Before attending any event and getting completely set up, make sure you do a complete walkthrough of your booth plan. This should include talking through the booth look and feel, giveaways, collateral, attendees, and (most importantly) all presentations and/or demos that may take place in your booth.

Taking a good, high-level look at the months-long work and planning leading up to the event is key to ensuring your branding and messaging are carried through all areas of your exhibition booth and presentation.

Be prepared. You will not likely have time hours before the show floor opens to redo a presentation or hunt down a good printer to get copies of materials you forgot to print out before you arrived.

58. Staff Appropriately

There’s nothing worse than walking through a trade show floor and seeing empty booths, or booths with way too many staff members lurking around and not enough prospects engaging. Be sure you’re sending the RIGHT amount of team members to each event you exhibit at, and that they are the most capable to work a booth for the long hours required.

Trade shows can seem like all fun and games when the planning is taking place, but once you hit the show floor, everyone on the team needs to remember you are there for work, and not play. (Well, maybe some play…) Having the right people in your booth can make or break the quick impression people get when stopping by your booth.

59. Qualify Your Prospects

A group of people at a trade show exhibit
A group of people at a trade show exhibit. Photo by Surachetsh/Adobe Stock

One thing to keep in mind when attending trade shows is quality. It’s easy to get sucked into the game of generating maximum traffic, but it’s important to remind your team members that you’re there to talk with quality prospects.

If trade shows are based on a cost-per-contact, you’ll want to make sure you’re engaging with and drawing in people who are most likely to interact with your brand or buy your service.

Find out by asking non-intrusively if those stopping by your booth are interested in your brand (or have even heard of it). If not, ease into a conversation about who you are and what you do. Ask them what they do in order to discover whether they may be a potential future customer or perhaps even a partner, and to determine whether they have any purchasing authority.

60. Be Exciting

Besides being well prepared for the event and having the right team members there to work the booth, you need to be sure the booth itself is a show-stopper. So many booths today are passed because they have lame giveaways, or the booth itself is not attractive. Things like that seem superficial, but they actually undermine your credibility as a viable company.

Tables, chairs, and demo pods have become the standard look for trade show booths, but take a creative stand and make your booth look engaging. Use your booth to tell a story. Having an overall theme is a great way to convey that, and to get people talking and entice social media buzz.

61. Brand, Brand, Brand

If you do have a dramatic or evocative theme at your booth, remember not to lose your brand in it. Incorporate your booth theme with your brand, and make your branding visible to all attendees. Have a clear logo at all entrance points of your booth or hanging above your booth so people can see who you are right away.

Branding is a crucial element of trade show booth ideas to attract visitors. It’s your way to showcase who you are in front of thousands of people who may not have heard of you before. From the clothes you wear in the booth to the giveaways you offer to generate booth traffic, every last touch should be laced with your brand.

Elevate Your Booth With Creative Exhibition Activities

Creative booth activation strategies
Creative booth activation strategies. Photo by Nigar/Adobe Stock

Successfully driving exhibition booth traffic takes a data-driven event planner who can give vendors the information they need to make a wise investment decision. It also helps to work with vendors who understand how to draw a crowd.

Incorporating these innovative exhibition activity ideas and booth activation strategies can transform your trade show presence. Remember, successful trade show activities hinge on engaging attendees and making your booth an unmissable destination. 

Whether it’s through interactive games, live demonstrations, or eye-catching designs, the goal is to create memorable experiences that attract people to your booth.

Ready to captivate your audience and boost your ROI? Start planning your next exhibition with these proven tactics, and watch your booth become the star of the show.

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