©2017 Guest post by Sam Smith, President & CEO, Network Events, Inc.
It’s no secret that exhibitor trade show technology is continuing to evolve. And while some of these new apps and software were designed for the trade show industry itself, some were designed with the trade show attendee in mind. In either case, new technologies are changing the way events are planned and experienced.
For event planners, exhibitors, or anyone who participates in trade shows or conferences, here are some essential technologies that can be used to enhance any trade show exhibit.
Apps: About 92% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the United States have a smartphone, which means that they also have access to the Internet wherever they go. As a result, it's becoming common for trade shows to build their own apps. Many of these specialized apps enable exhibitors to communicate to visitors in real time using push notifications. This is a surefire way for smaller exhibitors to get the word out about their exhibits and do their best to gain visitors. When a trade show attendee pulls out their smart phone and sees a message from an exhibitor inviting them to their booth, it creates a more realistic and humanistic approach to gaining booth traffic. But keep in mind, “Push notification alerts should be tailored to attendees’ interests and offer a valuable call-to-action requesting a response,” notes Absolute Exhibits.
According to event professionals, there are five top benefits of event-related mobile apps. The top cited benefit is attendee convenience at 16%, followed by attendee engagement, printing cost savings, data gathering and ROI measuring, and finally, new sponsorship opportunities. It’s imperative to take these advantages into consideration when determining whether or not a mobile app is right for your trade show exhibit.
Recharging Stations: Many conferences and trade shows have begun to offer public charging stations. But if an event doesn't offer this service, it can create a major opportunity for savvy exhibitors.
This is a rather fundamental piece of technology with a number of benefits. But the fact is, even if your booth features a myriad of digital or smartphone-based aspects, users won’t be able to do anything more than watch and listen if their phones don’t have the battery power. On top of that, having a charging station available for general use is a brilliant way to draw in crowds from other sectors who may not have been originally interested in your exhibit. While their devices are recharging, there are a number of ways to draw your visitors in even more. Experts recommend offering some snacks or beverages, encouraging social media posts, and generally keeping guests entertained.
Visuals: Eye-catching visuals have become an integral part of the appeal of any trade show exhibit. However, in 2017, eye-catching visuals involve much more than well designed print graphics. Today, interactive and digital exhibit booths have become standard at many large events. Specifically, touch screens are a popular way to spark engagement and draw in event attendees. Even better, these kinds of eye-popping visuals are perfect for attracting social media posts.
Ultimately, as exhibitor trade shows continue to grow in popularity, so will the technology that enables exhibitors to effectively communicate and engage with their audiences.
Sam co-founded Network Events, Inc., a health and wellness event development, marketing and management firm, in 1999. He is responsible for event partnerships with television stations and professional sports teams in markets throughout country. Sam, a leading executive in the exposition industry, has been a highly rated speaker at major industry events and has provided sales and marketing consulting and training to top associations and private exposition management organizations.
Sam Smith, President & CEO, Network Events, Inc.