If I Were a Trade Show Booth

Submitted by Chuck Michel

ELITeXPO VP of Tradeshow Services

As we embark on a new decade, many of us have approached 2020 with resolutions that we hope to put into play. For some it could be eating better, exercising more, spending wisely, etc. The list goes on and on, and for the most part we have heard them all.

So, let’s have some fun and humor me for a few…

“If I were a tradeshow booth what would my ‘2020 resolution(s) be?”

I’m an inline, sometimes a 10’ x 10’, other times I’m a 10’ x 20’, heck on occasion I even go big and head on out as an island. So, as we head into 2020, I started thinking what should I do differently this year?

Heading out to a weekend show as an Inline;

  • First thing that comes to mind is that in 2020 I am going to make it a real point to brighten up my overall appearance and go backlit on all my graphics! I mean, not that I haven’t been colorful in the past, but it’s time to stand out among my peers and really brighten up my approach! So, this year I am going to go all SEG with backlit LED illumination.
  • I also have to admit that I have a tendency to run from show to show, you know ‘Places (shows) to go, people (attendees) to see and things to do’. I will say, that based on last year, I feel that I really need to cut down on the time it takes me to prep and get ready for each show/event. With that said, I think this year I am going to really streamline my prep time and go more with tool-less extrusion wherever and whenever possible. Let’s face it, with these events being so time sensitive, I can’t afford to be late for the opening of the show, so cutting down on how long it takes me to get set up and ready to step out on the floor is paramount for me in 2020. Rude or not, I know for a fact that the show won’t wait for me to be ready to go, so I need to be up and ready to do my thing as soon as it’s show time!
  • I also think I am going to spend more time talking to you. I think a nice reception counter would be a good idea, perhaps even one with a charging station or an iPad kiosk built in. This way we can hang and talk a bit, reference the iPad for presentation for digital media support, and at the same time you can charge your phone. At the end of the day I want you to feel like there is a reason for staying and talking. I also want to make sure that my reception counter can double up with some storage. I tend to carry a bit more with me these days and some say I over pack, so storage capability underneath the counter is going to be something to pay attention to this year.
  • Speaking of storage, I realize that many would argue that ‘doing more with less’ is a smart strategy to follow. With that said, another 2020 resolution I plan to strive for is to avoid looking cluttered! In these inline spaces, when it comes to functionality, each sq. ft. is premium space, going forward I plan to be smarter as to how I use it.

Go BIG or Go Home!

  • Earlier I had mentioned that sometimes I find myself in situations where I have to step out to the show as an island. You see, I’m lucky in the fact that a few times a year I get to hang with the big players on the show floor. Now I will be the 1st to admit, the pressure is on when I head out as an island. And let me tell you, it’s not easy being exposed from all 4 sides. I mean, you are now in a situation where you need to be both ‘open’ minded, not to mention that you are really putting yourself out there for everyone to see. Truth be told, you are a bit exposed if you know what I mean.  And no matter what angle they approach you from, it’s all about you!
  • With that said, for the island events I participate in 2020 I plan to make sure that all the key product and or demos I want to show off are easily accessible from any angle you approach me from. This year I also want to make sure that my visitor finds it easy to navigate their way through my booth once they enter from any direction.  Getting around needs to be user friendly as traffic flow is important me, What I don’t want is people to feel like they are lost, let alone feel like they are trapped when visiting with me. Remember the hedge maze at the Overlook Hotel in the film ‘The Shining’? Not on my watch… therefore I plan to really focus on mapping out an intuitive floor plan within my booth.
  • I feel that I need be more visible from afar. You see last year I found myself in a few situations where I was at the back of the show with many booths and a maze of aisles between my location and the main entrance way. Going forward I plan to look at incorporating some overhead signage. Overhead signage is going to afford me some branding visibility from a great distance. I also will explore several ways to integrate my overhead sign. I can either hang the sign from the convention hall ceiling via rigging, or I can look at building up and have my signage supported by the booth. There are a lot of cool overhead sign options, with back lit, motion graphics, in addition to those that rotate.
  • An island footprint also means lots of floor space. This year I want to make sure that the flooring my guest stand on is not an afterthought and is well integrated into the overall design.  The reality is flooring is another whole area to get creative with, another area to make a statement, not to mention make those that visit with me feel more comfortable! With today’s flooring options there are so many possibilities to consider. It’s not just carpets anymore, as there are now options that include substrates made of wood, rubber and foam materials. The choices are many; be it tile, vinyl, eco-friendly green choices, digitally printed imaging and more. There are even back lit options that allow you to project images from underneath which is quite a clever way to extend the brand and or your messaging. All great options to consider based on the booth design, the amount of traffic, cleaning requirements and of course budget considerations. Oh, and this year I plan to add as much padding as possible. I don’t want you to feel like you are standing on concrete and I want to visit as long as possible.
  • One thing is for certain, this year I want to be more interactive, I want to step up the way I communicate my message to you. Truth be told interactive technology is constantly changing, improving and becoming more and more innovative. If you don’t incorporate technology of some sort within your booth you are missing the boat, and frankly I feel that I might come off looking a bit antiquated. For example; it can be something as simple as recharging stations for smart phones and tablets. These charging stations can be a great way to keep somebody engaged, and if done correctly can be a smart way to draw crowds. Be careful about the latter, as you don’t just want anyone in the booth because tire kickers tend to take up valuable space. I talked earlier about wanting to be brighter, well nothing visually speaks louder than large format flat screen monitors. Couple that with interactive touch screen technology and you now have a vehicle that offers both eye catching appeal while at the same time engaging and educating the atendee on product. Add a few interactive games that incorporate your product and we have now added a little entertainment into the mix.

Yep, I have a lot of resolutions that I have put out there to consider this year. And even if I can only accomplish a few of the above, there is no doubt I will be taking steps towards some great improvements!

Have A Good Show!