Just a few years ago, there were few main ways to attract people to an exhibition stand – innovative design, giveaways or an interesting presentation of a product or service. In the past several years this has changed dramatically and the event managers are getting more and more creative, finding new ways to attract and engage people at their exhibition stand. Today, visitors’ experience is in the center of every successful exhibition concept.
Here are the five hottest trends observed currently at trade shows that every event and marketing manager should be aware of, and can incorporate in their next exhibition planning.
Virtual trade shows
Virtual trade shows are not something new, but currently they are quickly growing in number and size. Will they kill the traditional trade shows? We absolutely doubt this, as virtual trade show do not deliver the one component that is key in business nowadays – emotions, delivered through personal experience and face-to-face communication.
However, according to the report Virtual Conference and Trade Show Market Forecast 2013-2018, it is just a matter of time before the virtual events world and the trade show world merge to create the next generation of events – a hybrid between the two.
Use of social media
Another trend that is noticeable is the rapidly increasing use of social media – before, during and after the exhibition. Companies that still ignore social media will start using it very soon, because today everybody is online – clients, prospects, partners – and social media is the most direct and quick way to convey any message.
This is valid also for the exhibition organizers that need to communicate clearly the advantages that their exhibitors will get from a show. Successful exhibition organizers are delivering to their clients valuable content not only around the dates of the show, but all year round through all their communication channels, including the social media.
Most of the big exhibition organizers have already applications that are very useful for orientation in the venue, for setting up meetings with exhibitors, for finding all locations and to identify points of interest at the show. What is more interesting, and will be developed in the future, are the apps developed by certain companies for their stand at a specific exhibition. Big companies already do it – the app helps visitors find products of interest at the stand much easier and get all the necessary information about the product immediately on their phone. Through the apps exhibitors now have even the ability to push marketing messages directly to visitors passing their booth.
Games and contests
Exhibitors nowadays are very creative in finding ways of not only to attract visitors at their stands, but also to engage with those in order ensure better and more memorable experience. Mini football, raffles, VR games, hashtag competitions or photo walls – everything that evokes interest and make people stop by an exhibition stand, is useful.
One of our clients for instance provides each year a photo wall with an attractive design of the current city where the show takes place. A professional photographer takes pictures of the visitors on the wall, photos are printed directly at the booth and given as a souvenir to the visitors.
Technology at the exhibition stand
Technology changes so fast and is being incorporated into the trade show industry now in ways that we have never had before. It is totally changing the way trade show booths are designed and how new products are presented. The times when a video wall at the stand was something special, are in the past. Today we see holograms, robots, virtual reality games and interactive technology that turn the visit to a stand into an extraordinary experience and strengthen the relation between a brand and its current and potential customers. The hologram of our client at the last edition of ACHEMA in Frankfurt was not only a clever way of presenting their heavy equipment, but also a real eye catcher that attracted visitors and gained publicity for our client.
And what other hot trends in the exhibition industry do you observe?