Posts Tagged ‘improving your exhibit hall’

What exhibitors want from show producers

Written by Susan Ratliff on August 6th, 2011. Posted in tips for event organizers

I just returned from the National Speakers Association’s annual conference.  In addition to hearing incredible professionals tell amazing stories that inspired, educated and electrified me, I also spent a lot of time in the exhibit hall.  There were many companies offering a wide variety of products and services to help professional speakers, coaches and authors improve their business and profitability.  I highly recommend NSA to anyone looking to turn their talent for teaching,  training or motivating into a profitable business.      Anyway, I wanted to find out how happy the exhibitors were with the show.  The topic of long hours came up numerous times.  It was a 4 day conference with exhibitors setting up a day earlier. Some days they would start at 7 and end at 4pm.  That is a long day, but it is especially long if many hours are spent in a silent hall because attendees are in the sessions, which was the case here.

  • Events scheduled in the exhibit hall would help to drive traffic to the booths.
  • The morning coffee was stationed in the hall and several box lunch events were delivered and consumed in the exhibit hall as well, which drove traffic to the exhibitors

One of the complaints was that there was no reference to the exhibitors from the main stage. If announcers would have reminded attendees in all sessions to be sure not to miss the valuable resources in the exhibit hall it would have kept the vendors in the attendees minds all day.  Its a small gester that is easy to included in a program, similar to when performers mention to remember to tip the wait staff.  Event producers need to be reminded that much of the income generated from a conference comes from the booth fees.  Exhibitors deserve to be promoted.  Smart show organizers will make exhibitor satisfaction a top priority which will increase exhibitor retention and improve booth sales the next year.

Another suggestion that would work well for many events is to consider integrating the exhibitors into the conference instead of placing them in a separate hall or ballroom.  There was an enormous lobby at this hotel where much of the networking took place in the morning before the programs began and at every break.  There was plenty of room to put all 50 or so exhibitor front and center so they were included in the meet and greet process instead of being isolated where it took an effort for an attendee to walk down the hall and enter the exhibit area.  Just a thought for next year.

For more insights into how to make your next event productive and profitable, give me a call:  Susan Ratliff, The Exhibit Expert,   602-828-1177