Jamie Wiltshire, Author at Metro Exhibits
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Posts by Jamie Wiltshire

Beacon Building Products at IRE 2021 in Las Vegas

2021 Trade Show Travel Cheat Sheet 

Traveling Confidently During The COVID-19 Pandemic 

UPDATE: Vaccinated foreign travelers now permitted to fly into the U.S. (with restrictions)

As of November 8, 2021, fully vaccinated non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. immigrants may now fly into the United States. However, certain restrictions, including a recent negative COVID test, are required. Check the CDC site for the latest regulations. 

SAFE TRAVELS

If it’s your first time traveling to a trade show or conference since the beginning of the pandemic, then you may be pleasantly surprised with the changes that have—and have not—been put in place at every turn. After more than a year of shutdowns and shut-ins, even tradeshow veterans may feel a bit unsure of what to expect their first time out. 

But there is good news: According to the U.S. Travel Association, there is clear data showing that professional travel is safe. For instance, The Aerospace and International Airline Medical Associations found that the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is lower than contracting the virus while in an office building, classroom, grocery story or commuter train

Bookmark this trade show travel checklist for your next trip to avoid surprises and give yourself peace of mind: 

  • EARLY PLANNING 

    • Supply chains are being challenged at every step.  U.S. exhibit houses (including Metro Exhibits), printers, promotional item vendors, etc. are all requesting clients to act as early as possible to ensure all requirements can be met. 
    • Here is a list of the airlines’ cancellation policies. Keep in mind that though flight insurance can be purchased up until the day before departure, independent “Cancel for Any Reason” flight insurance must be bought immediately after booking.  
    • Many hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies to allow for COVID-related changes. Here is a good reference and list of hotels’ cancellation policies.  
  • PLANNING 

    • Check out the CDC’s list of State and Territorial Health Department websites to learn the most updated, official information about the locations you’re headed to. Include any places you might be stopping at on your way. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit Vaccines.gov .

Here is a shortcut to the sites for the main convention destinations: 

  • PACKING 

Local and federal health regulations can change quickly; you never know what you will need. 2021’s must-pack additions to your travel go-bag:  

    • Face covering  

Depending on your location, certain trade show, convention and exposition venues may require a mask for admission.  

For air travel, that bandana you wore last April isn’t going to cut it, nor are those plastic shields (they’re okay to wear with a mask, but don’t replace a mask). Check out CDC guidelines to be sure you have the right type of mask before you leave for the airport.  

Vaccinated or not, if you plan to apply for a mask exemption because of a disability, make sure you arrive very early to the airport. Some airlines, like Delta, have a “Clearance-to-Fly” procedure that you will need to complete. There are no guarantees—and it can take more than an hour.  

And if ever there was a time for gum or mints (for your own comfort), it’s now.  

    • Vaccination Record Card or App (like ShoCard or Verifly)  

Currently, air travelers originating from within the U.S. do not need proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (however, it is required for travelers originating outside the U.S.). Some airlines provide access to in-home testing and testing facilities at the airport. 
 
There are other instances where proof of either vaccination and/or negative test may be required such as convention halls, and indoor dining and entertainment venues. That ranges from zero restrictions in some states, to New York City, where only vaccinated patrons may dine indoors or attend certain entertainment venues. 

Vaccination apps are available, but best to keep your hard copy with you, too.  The digital version may not be accepted, or a specific app may be required.  

    • Alcohol-based sanitizer (containing 60%-95% alcohol) or disinfecting wipes  

It’s not a bad idea to take a swipe at surfaces like armrests, tray tables, hotel doorknobs, remote controls…anything that you are likely to touch and then accidently touch your face.  

  • GETTING TO THE AIRPORT 

Federal CDC guidelines maintain that passengers using any form of public transportation, including taxis, buses, trains, subways, Uber and Lyft be masked at all points, including airports, waiting areas, and on platforms.  

  • AT THE AIRPORT 

Everyone is required to be masked at all times throughout the airport.  

  • TSA  

Masks are still on for everybody. Unless you have TSA PreCheck, you’ll also still be required to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, and 3-1-1 liquids.  

  • ON THE PLANE 

One of the silver linings of the pandemic—keeping middle seats open—is no longer common practice; flights are back to full capacity. Passengers and airline employees must be masked throughout the flight at least through January 2022 (possible silver lining: masks do hide Sleeping-Mouth-Breather-Face). 

Here are the major carriers and their online COVID information  

  • HOTEL 

Most business hotels have upgraded their facilities with policies that minimize virus spread, such as mobile check-in, keyless entry, enhanced social distancing in public spaces, hand sanitizers, and extra cleaning protocols.  

Hotel staff will typically be wearing masks, regardless of their vaccination status, depending on the location. 

Some hotels now also require guests to proactively request room cleaning during their stay.  

Check your hotel’s website for current information on restaurants, gyms, spas, pools, buffets and other amenities that may be temporarily unavailable. 

  • AT THE VENUE 

Tradeshow attendee requirements and behavior vary widely, depending on location and industry. 

    • Most venues do not require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, but that can change quickly.  
    • Some require that attendees record their temperature before entering. 
    • There is a movement to replace paper badges with digital, which could stress your phone’s battery throughout the show, so don’t forget your charger. 
    • Some exhibitors and visitors wear masks, depending on location (some require them for everyone). 
    • Distancing signage is up, but not everyone is complying.  
    • Show floorplan layout and spacing is usually the same, including aisle widths.  
    • Some exhibitors have added acrylic dividers in their booths. 
    • Many booths offer masks and sanitizer samples. 
    • Open food samples are gone, but onsite cafes are open. 
    • Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the venues. 

If a venue or show requires vaccination or proof of negative COVID test, registrants are likely to be alerted beforehand. You can double check current conditions at the show’s website and/or the venue’s COVID information page. Here are some of the larger venues’ COVID links:  

California 
Anaheim Convention Center 
Los Angeles Convention Center 
San Diego Convention Center 

Florida 
Orange County Convention Center 

Illinois  
McCormick Place 

Nevada
Las Vegas venues 

New York 
Javits Center 

Texas  
Dallas venues 

 

Support from the Trade Show Experts 

Your full service trade show partner, Metro Exhibits, provides wrap-around support services to help exhibitors maximize their tradeshow investment safely and with confidence. For instance, we can store, ship and manage your event inventory for you (great for event planners now working from home), or provide exhibit personnel at your show to represent you. 

Metro is always available and eager to help exhibitors and visitors make the most of their tradeshow investment. Contact us with any questions you have any time.

NOTE: Certain medical conditions, and children under the age of 2, are typically excluded from mask regulations. Check in advance with your venue, carrier or other provider to confirm current practices and any steps needed to confirm exclusion. 

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top medical trade shows

The Top 10 Pharmaceutical and Medical Trade Shows in the US

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is one of the most important and rapidly expanding sectors in the world – and medical trade shows are one of the most effective industry tools for professionals to meet, network, and share ideas.

Every healthcare company shares the goal of providing the best medical facilities and technologies possible. With this in mind, pharmaceutical and medical trade shows are designed to display the latest innovations in healthcare, empowering major industry players to learn and grow.

Trade shows effectively facilitate networking between multiple stakeholders in these fields. They also introduce the newest medical equipment and products to retailers and consumers.

Exhibiting at a trade show is a fantastic way to network and open up new possibilities. Here, we’ll outline the top ten pharmaceutical and medical trade shows in the United States. To start, let’s give a brief overview of medical trade shows and their benefits.

What Are Medical Trade Shows & What Are The Benefits?

medical trade shows

A trade show or trade fair is an exhibition at which businesses or individuals in a particular industry gather under one roof. Together, they share ideas, listen to speeches, and promote their products or services. In addition to allowing industry professionals to trade ideas, these shows allow for potential consumers to come and learn about all of their different purchase options within the sector.

While there are trade shows for just about every industry you can think of, this article is dedicated to specifically discussing medical and pharmaceutical trade shows. These shows form a critical and exciting aspect of the medical field. They provide the ideal environment for learning, presenting, and collaborating, which are all essential functions in moving the industry forward.

Many health professionals are required to attend a certain number of conferences and shows per year in order to stay updated on the latest research and best practices in their field. This means that if you are an exhibitor targeting professionals in the medical field, a pharmaceutical or medical trade show is ideal for reaching potential clients and business partners.

Also, businesses focusing on medical supplies or pharma equipment will benefit greatly from trading at a show, as trade shows often showcase the cutting edge of technological innovation within the industry.

Trade shows offer many benefits that make them worth the investment if done correctly. One reason to attend is that they have huge potential to build brand visibility and improve outreach in a cost-effective way. Products and services are also showcased in an accessible way to customers.  It’s an ideal space to learn and exchange ideas in a casual yet organized manner.

Having clarified the definition and purpose of trade shows, we encourage you to continue reading to discover ten of the largest medical and pharmaceutical industry trade shows in the US.

1. BIO International Convention

This medical trade show is held annually in June, finding its home in a new city each year. Its official website boasts an impressive 8,400+ companies and 17,000+ show attendees. These biotechnology and pharma stakeholders gather here for a week of intensive networking.

The goal of this trade show is to bring together a wide range of life science and application areas. This includes biomanufacturing, drug discovery, biofuels, and cell technology, among others. Attendees are encouraged and supported in their efforts to discover new opportunities and partnerships at the event.

If you’re looking for a trade show that focuses on expanding the future of the biofuel and biomanufacturing fields, then the BIO International Convention is worth checking out.

2. FIME

The Florida International Medical Expo, or FIME, is one of the top medical shows in the country. It touts itself as the leading Medical Trade Fair in the healthcare market. It’s held annually during the summer at different Florida locations each year.

FIME showcases exhibitors from surgical equipment and laboratory suppliers to medical technology providers. There are over 1,100 exhibitors every year, and the show has attracted an incredible 52,000-plus attendees in past years. One of the unique aspects of FIME is its truly international nature; over 45 different countries are represented in the exhibitor list.

Due to the size of the event, FIME is a must-see for those interested in sourcing or selling medical supplies. The range of products available is unmatched. FIME has the largest collection of healthcare service providers and product manufacturers under one roof. If you’re interested in learning more about healthcare sourcing and procurement, FIME is the place to be.

3. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

The Clinical Lab Expo is “the world’s largest exposition for clinical laboratory products and services,” according to the event website. The meeting is usually held in late July or August, with its location switching between Anaheim and Chicago each year.

This show aims to offer an incredible chance to link with worldwide leaders in laboratory medicine. Delegates at the expo learn the most specialized technical skills in the field.

Attendees can expect to gain relevant, up-to-date knowledge of essential research in the industry. This show features involvement by over 800 top brand exhibitors in the pharmaceutical industry and over 20,000 attendees. The AACC’s Clinical Lab Expo is a tremendous opportunity for healthcare professionals to learn more about the latest in clinical laboratory advancements.

4. Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine

This congress is run by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) and occurs annually in Las Vegas, usually in December.

The event website boasts that it is distinct from any other healthcare conference, “due to [its] extensive educational offerings and programming.”

5,000+ people attend this event and get a range of exclusive opportunities, including 85+ educational sessions and access to over 400 companies in the industry. With this experience, they’ll receive an immersive education in Anti-Aging & Integrative Medicine. Attendees can expect engaging, interactive talks by hundreds of world-renowned keynote presenters, and representation from over 50 different countries.

The latest research on nutrition, hormones, and gastrointestinal treatment approaches will be presented at this conference. Attendees receive information about redefining their ideas of medicine. Additionally, they’ll get a set of resources to take back into their own clinical practices.

5. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention

The NCPA Annual Convention is the country’s “premier event for community pharmacy owners and their teams.” It takes place annually during October, in new locations each year. Upcoming shows will be in Nashville (2020), Charlotte (2021), St. Louis (2022), and Orlando (2023). This show expects to bring together around 3,000 attendees and over 200 brand exhibitors.

Attendees should expect over 30 hours of education covering every aspect of the pharmaceutical business. They’ll interact with hundreds of vendors showcasing services, products, and technologies. The conference aims to assist people in succeeding within a variety of roles, whether you are an entrepreneur, technician, pharmacist, or student.

This show is a unique opportunity for students in the field to attend and learn from others further ahead on their professional journey. Independent pharmacy is an $80 billion marketplace, and therefore interacting with local pharmacists at a grassroots level is a priceless benefit for the industry as a whole.

Attending the show will help you to keep up with the newest trends and developments, and share ideas with peers from all over the country.

6. MD & M West

This show is one of the most prominent showcases of MedTech suppliers in the country. It takes place in a different US city each year, generally in the West or Midwest. Whether you’re looking for testing solutions, intelligent sensors, or smart packaging, you’ll be able to source them from MD&M West.

The conference showcases a full spectrum of MedTech solutions. You’ll be able to network with and learn from 20,000+ industry professionals and 1,900+ suppliers. Additionally, the conference offers interactive events, free presentations, and educational activities.

This gives delegates the exciting chance to get involved in their own learning. Activities facilitate new ideas and perspectives that are shared among those who attend.

7. Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association Summer Meeting & Expo

The Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association is a division of the American Psychiatric Association, which is accredited by the Medical Association of Georgia to provide continuing medical education for physicians. They’re the only statewide organization representing Georgia psychiatrists and their patients. Their members are dedicated to promoting professional values and ethics in the practice of psychiatry.

This conference takes place annually in early August at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Fernandina Beach and aims to improve patient access to quality mental healthcare. The GPPA encompasses about 700 psychiatrists who come together to share ideas, protocols, and treatment strategies to ensure the mutual improvement of its members – as well as the psychiatric field as a whole.

The GPPA Summer Meeting & Expo offers informative talks and activities. These focus on lifelong learning, professional development, and supporting education and advocacy for the profession. For those who attend, the show guarantees new insights and fresh perspectives in the world of Psychiatry.

8. Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting

This annual meeting takes place in June, with a different city hosting each year. The event features as one of the top trade shows in the pharmaceutical industry, due to its status as the “premier educational, scientific, research, and networking event” in the fields of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

The show expects thousands of attendees ranging from leading physicians, radiologists, cardiologists, and pharmacists to scientists, lab professionals, and technologists. Those who attend will gain a deeper level of understanding of relevant clinical, scientific, and academic concepts. Delegates have the chance to network during interactive events.

The interactive activities are the perfect chance to break the ice and to facilitate discussion and collaboration at the event. This is a wonderful way to grow in your professional career if you are interested in the nuclear medicine industry.

9. Society of Critical Care Medicine Annual Congress

This conference takes place annually in February, with the location changing each year. The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the largest non-profit medical organization in the critical care industry.

This Congress unites members from the critical care field under one roof. It’s an exciting mix of multi-professional, multidisciplinary experts in one place.

Delegates have the amazing opportunity to witness participation from leading experts. Top researchers in the domain of critical care medicine are expected to present cutting-edge research. It’s the event of the year if you’re interested in staying up-to-date on critical care advancements.

The purpose of Critical Care Week is to raise awareness of common issues faced by professionals in the field. The event encourages cooperation between critical care team members to improve the outcomes and experiences of critically ill and injured patients. If you’re interested in sharing ideas, learning, and improving patient outcomes, then the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Annual Congress is a great place to be.

10. OR Today Live Surgical Conference

The last trade show on our list is the exciting OR Today Live Surgical Conference. The show is a great place for perioperative nurses and SPD professionals to congregate, collaborate, and learn from one another.

The event is held annually in August, taking place in a new host city each year. Attending the surgical conference can be beneficial for different kinds of people – from those who are looking for inspiration within their established careers, to those who are simply looking to earn credits for their continued education.

The event provides an exciting space in which world-class speakers are brought together to empower, motivate, and facilitate networking between perioperative professionals. If you’re going, prepare to engage with top surgeons and experts in your field and to emerge as a more confident and knowledgeable professional at the conclusion of the conference.

The Next Steps

If you’ve reached this point in the article, it’s clear that there are many interesting and valuable medical trade shows from which to choose.

All of the expos mentioned above enjoy impressive attendance – both from contributors and attendees who are simply there to observe. One of the main reasons for the success of these trade shows is that they provide the much-needed space for professionals of a specific medical sector to teach, learn, and network.

These shows provide a unique opportunity to source the most innovative products, solutions, and ideas. For manufacturers, it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase some of their latest offerings to a captive audience who are passionate and already invested in their industry.

In most cases, people will have the chance to see the devices live and in action. This interactive effect means that people are drawn in and are encouraged to interact with one another, as well as the technology itself. This makes it the perfect place to start and extend business and professional relationships.

So, now you’re armed with the information, what are the next steps?

If you’re looking for more information about a particular pharma trade show or medical fair, please contact us. We provide information and support for trade show requirements – check out our Trade Show Checklist here.

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trade show booth ideas

Trade Show Tactical Ideas for the Most Traffic

Trade shows are a cost-effective way to reach consumers. A study concluded that the average cost of an in-person meeting at a prospect’s office is $259. The cost of the same face-to-face meeting at a trade show? $142.

Success at a trade show begins with planning far ahead of the event. First, you should set a measurable goal that guides your efforts. A clear, realistic goal motivates every member of your team.

Do you want to gain new leads or to close sales? Is the goal to build brand awareness? Are you launching a new product or promoting an existing one? These are some of the questions you should consider when you’re setting your goal(s).

Your objectives inform decisions on marketing materials, giveaways, and booth design, among other things. Think of the trade show as part of your marketing strategy.

Even when you know what you want to get out of exhibiting at a trade show, it can be overwhelming when considering the best strategies to achieve your goals. Keep reading to learn about different trade show ideas that will help you to produce the biggest return on your investment.

Build Momentum Before the Event

It takes more than a free pen and candy to attract the right people to your trade show booth. To drum up excitement and anticipation for your exhibit, it is good practice to promote the event ahead of time. Here are a few simple yet effective ways to tell everyone you’re attending the trade show:

  • Add a notice to your company’s email signatures
  • Send a newsletter to current and potential clients
  • Engage with the trade show and its attendees on social media
  • Write blogs and other social posts about the show
  • Directly invite customers to attend the show
  • Create a hashtag for the event – or get involved with an existing one
  • Flaunt discounts that will be available at the trade show

Make sure anyone interested in your product or services knows where to find you at the event. Follow the organizer’s social accounts and share relevant posts with your followers.

These tactics create extra awareness and excitement about the upcoming show – and should lead to a higher volume of booth visitors.

Focus on Your Audience

Don’t try to appeal to everyone – it’s impossible to do so. Instead, do some research to understand who your target audience is, and what strategies they might be most receptive to.

Do your customers like loud and exciting displays? If so, then be sure to use bright colors, visuals, and sounds.

If your clients prefer calm, fill the booth with comfy seating and soothing colors. Always design your booth and marketing materials for your target audience.

See if you can access the registered attendee list before the event. Make sure to abide by any rules on what you can and can’t do with the list. Never spam all the attendees.

Look for current customers on the list. They’re your best source for sales and referrals. Contact them to arrange meetings, invite them to cocktails, and reveal special perks.

You can also leverage the list data to send custom messages to your ideal customer. Share useful information about the event and the host city, and invite them to visit you at the show. Make sure that you’re bringing value to the audience – instead of making it about your company, make it about what your brand can do to make their life better.

Include links and relevant hashtags so attendees can find you before, during, and after the event.

Embrace Technology

Ever-advancing interactive technologies offer more immersive and personalized experiences for trade show attendees than ever before. Use accessories like tablets, touchscreens, and digital signage to attract attention.

It’s much easier to engage attendees when your display contains eye-popping digital visuals. Adding that “wow” factor will encourage more social media posts and selfies, which provide you with more free publicity.

An interactive screen with a survey or contest is one way to capture email addresses. Visitors can provide their email addresses in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

It is also possible to successfully leverage technology that isn’t a part of your booth. Often, trade shows have apps that send push notifications to visitors in real-time. Exhibitors can use this technology to communicate with attendees through the app.

Utilizing app technology can allow your company to capture data, improve attendee engagement, and save money on printing. It’s also an intuitive and convenient method of communication for attendees.

Use the app to invite visitors to your booth for a presentation or contest. Always offer something of value and be sure to include a call-to-action.

Taking advantage of the endless possibilities to incorporate technology into your trade show exhibiting experience can pay dividends to your company if used correctly.

Offer a Special Discount

Trade show attendees expect freebies and discounts. Can you offer a special price for products or services purchased at the show?

This creates an urgent reason for attendees to buy. The discount can be anything from BOGO to a discount that’s only available at the event.

Customers often buy when they know they must act right away to take advantage of the deal.

Another option is to provide a discount code at your booth that works for a limited time after the show. You can track sales related to the code to determine the ROI.

No matter what kind of deals you decide to offer, establishing a sense of urgency can strongly encourage customers who are on the fence about your products or services to make a purchase on the spot.

Strategic Layout Ideas

Regardless of whether or not you have a prime booth location at the trade show, your booth’s layout is tremendously important.

What are people going to see first as they approach your booth? Are they coming from the side or front?

Will people pass your booth on the way to an auditorium or food court? Consider all the foot traffic patterns before arranging items in your booth.

A corner booth is a challenge since people can enter from more than one direction.

Lighting is an important component. The way your lights are set up can influence where passersby look first – which can, in turn, determine if they are interested in visiting your booth or not.

You can also create drama for a new product with a spotlight. Lamps convey a warm and inviting space. Lights in display cases can illuminate your products to bring your visuals to the next level.

If it’s your first trade show, get expert advice on your booth design. The pros can guide you on optimizing your lighting, visuals, and displays in ways that will look fantastic in any location.

Create a Seating Area

Trade show attendees spend a lot of time on their feet. Adding a couch and a couple of big chairs to your space can turn your booth into a much-needed resting spot for trade show attendees. Invite visitors to sit and relax.

Create a seating area that matches your message. Use colors and furniture that complement your brand and its products.

Display these products in their natural setting. For example, a company that sells adventure gear could create a cozy, rustic cabin.

Once people sit, you can start a conversation and show them what you have to offer.

Add a Charging Station

People want to charge their phones as much as they want to sit in a chair. Provide both and you’ll have a popular booth.

A charging station is always appreciated. People stay as long as it takes to charge their phones, and this affords you an invaluable opportunity – a captive audience. Take advantage of the opening to engage them in conversation.

Provide Hydration

Attendees prefer water over candy at trade shows. A bottle of water helps people stay hydrated as they traverse the long rows of the trade show.

Brand your bottles with a custom wrapper. Other attendees who see the bottle will find your booth to get their own.

Make sure you have enough water bottles to accommodate the crowd. You can slow the number of giveaways by making it a prize for playing a game.

This is an effective way to provide value to customers while getting your brand out on the trade show floor for more people to see and hear about.

Use Visual Marketing

Use visual marketing more than text when designing your booth. People respond immediately to images, whereas they may not be willing to stop and read a long message.

Keep the message clear and concise. Always use your brand’s colors and style for recognition.

Extend the visual identity to your staff. Everyone should dress in brand colors. Incorporate a logo on a shirt or hat so booth staffers are easy to identify.

Choose matching outfits that suit the business. The staff for a finance company may dress in suits or business casual. Staff for an athletic shoe company could wear sportswear.

Either way, a cohesive team looks professional and builds an identity for your brand.

Entertain the Attendees

Entertainment is a popular strategy for increasing trade show booth traffic. It attracts attention and keeps people interested in what you’re offering.

For a complete win, make the entertainment about your product. A product demonstration that includes drama or humor is a good choice.

Effective branded entertainment has lots of appeal. If it’s connected to or complements your business, then it’s easy for staff to engage with visitors.

An experienced entertainer can include key brand benefits or products in the act. This works for magicians, fortune tellers, singers, artists, and comedians.

It’s a clever way to put your message in front of your audience in a memorable way.

Interactive games like money-blowing machines, game shows, and virtual experiences draw traffic. Make sure your staff encourages visitors to take part. It’s another way to begin a relationship with potential buyers.

Add a photo booth to your display for built-in entertainment. People love posing for photos with coworkers and friends. Add a branded backdrop and props to the photo booth.

When visitors enjoy their experience, they will remember your brand. Make sure your products and selling points are part of the entertainment.

Samples and Branded Giveaways

Trade show attendees expect freebies. They don’t care if it’s a pen, hat or flashlight. Most will take home anything they can get.

The best giveaways are samples of your product.

Demo the product in action. Show how your product solves a problem. Let them taste, touch, and try on the product in your booth.

Hand out samples people can try at home. People love the chance to try a product before they buy it. Use branded giveaways so consumers can find you online later.

If your budget is tight, use a game to distribute samples. Create an activity consumers must win to receive a giveaway item.

While people wait in line to play, your staff can engage them in conversation. Give out a variety of items to keep the game interesting.

Use Social Media During the Event

Start conversations on social media and continue them during the trade show.

Stay active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter throughout the event. It’s a good way to engage with followers and fans who attend the trade show.

Invite them to visit you. Announce demonstrations, giveaways, and samples happening at your booth.

Use These Trade Show Ideas at Your Next Event

These trade show ideas can help increase traffic at your next event. If you still have questions, contact us today.

We can help with everything from a portable booth to building a custom exhibit.

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trade show statistics

10 Trade Show Statistics To Help Maximize ROI

When you’re trying to implement new marketing strategies to improve your ROI, a Google search for content marketing ideas can make you feel like you’re grasping at straws.

Video production, organic social media, Facebook ads, webinars, and other content marketing tactics all require resources that you may not have access to or be ready to utilize just yet. You also might not have the time to commit to learning about these options when you’re looking for immediate results.

In the constantly evolving stages of content marketing, what if an often overlooked strategy remains one of those most effective? That strategy is a simple face-to-face meeting and a handshake.

The Content Marketing Institute seems to agree. In-person events remain one of the most effective forms of content marketing.

There is always a debate surrounding the most effective methods for generating leads. You’re here because you understand that all leads are not created equal. From a single trade show, how many leads do you think you can generate? 100? 300? 500?

Leads from in-person events, such as trade shows, have a unique advantage over leads sourced through the phone or internet: they have a face attached to them. You get to understand the client’s needs, and they get to understand your capabilities, in a much more comprehensive manner than would be possible in any chat log or email chain. How long would it take to organize hundreds of face-to-face meetings between your sales team and leads? This tedious process could take months, even for the most efficient teams. If you plan correctly for a trade show, you can consolidate hundreds of these meetings into a single weekend.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of ten helpful trade show statistics that are sure to maximize your ROI and make your next exhibiting experience memorable and worthwhile – for both your company and your clients.

1. Trade Shows Deliver Unique Value

Let’s double down on the fact that not all leads are created equal.

99% of businesses that exhibit at trade shows can attest to this claim. These businesses report that trade shows offer unique value that can’t be provided by other marketing channels, which is why they spend so much time developing marketing strategies for exhibiting.

This concentration of in-person interactions leads to higher conversion rates at trade shows. These individuals are walking around and coming directly to you. The power of touch cannot be understated – eye contact and a handshake can leave a much more meaningful impression than online communication. Those visiting your booth have control of the engagement – they’re speaking to you because they want to learn more. Doesn’t that sound nice for a change? We spend all this money and effort to reach out and flag down passersby and here they are, seeking your company out in person.

Count them as pre-qualified leads. Maybe they’re on the fence, but them wandering into your space makes it easier for your sales staff to convert.

This is where the trade show follow-up comes in. It is highly important to follow up with every potential client who provided their information. Letting them know that you appreciated the opportunity to interact with them, and reminding them of the value you can provide their brand, is essential to the conversion. Even a quick “thank you” will go a long way.

2. Exhibitors Get More for Their Money

Attending trade shows is one of the most cost-efficient ways for exhibitors to make meaningful connections and generate high-potential leads.

The estimated cost of a face-to-face meeting with a lead at a trade show is $142. On the other hand, the cost of a regular in-person interaction at a potential client’s office would be roughly $259.

81% of trade show attendees hold buying power. Even if you stumble across the 19% who don’t, over half of them will be likely to schedule an appointment with one of your salespeople for a future date.

Even stepping away from your booth is a good way to make these types of connections. Meeting people on the floor, in the bar, and at other events within the show is a good way to branch out.

3. Goals: Exhibitors vs. Attendees

Exhibitors attend trade shows to pursue the following goals:

  1. Increase Sales
  2. Increase Brand Awareness
  3. Interact with existing clients

There’s a running theme here. Exhibitors tend to utilize trade shows for customer management. Not only do they actively seek out new customers, but they nurture existing relationships as well. It can be tough to maintain meaningful relationships with clients whom you have connected in the past.

What about attendees? The primary reason for attendees to visit trade shows is almost universal:

92% of trade show attendees are there to view demos of new products. Keep that in mind when planning. Offering up a new product or service is what will draw the most eyeballs – of both new and established customers – onto your exhibit.

4. Revenue Generated from Trade Show Meetings

Leads are nice, but revenue generation is what matters at the end of the day. Therefore, you want to make sure that you can experience revenue growth as a result of investing in trade show exhibits.

The Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council found that 6 million international participants generated $38 billion directly from trade show meetings.

There is plenty of revenue to be made. Good preparation pays dividends to those who exhibit at trade shows. We hope that the statistics within this article help you carve out a plan to maximize your potential at a show before attending.

5. Attendees are likely to find new suppliers

If you don’t flaunt your brand and its competitive advantages at trade shows, your competition will. Showing off your brand at events like these will keep you at the top of the customers’ minds, and deflect attention away from your competitors.

77% of attendees will find, at a minimum, one new supplier – and that goes to show that they’re actively looking. A trade show boils down to leading the horse to water, and you want to make sure that potential clients are being led to the right place.

If you want to learn about how to attract the 77% of attendees who are looking for new a new supplier, read these secrets to success.

6. Companies Dedicate Jobs to Event Planning

The companies gaining the most benefit from trade shows understand their ROI so well that they often hire dedicated staff whose only job is to focus on the handful of events that the company prepares for each year.

These are positions called event planning and management employees, and this tactic is becoming more and more prevalent as the competition skyrockets.

Now, we aren’t suggesting you go recruit event planning majors at the state university down the road… But your competitors are. The very least you can do is exhibit at these trade shows and define to the attendees how you stand out from alternative options. You don’t need your own event planner to do this, just a knowledgeable team of employees to attract your potential leads.

7. Retention is Important

Let’s move on to think about nurturing the relationships you already have established. Over half of marketers have said that trade shows and similar events also help to strengthen their existing customer relationships.

This act of relationship nurturing helps to ensure that your connection with clients stays strong throughout the years, and keeps both sides up-to-date on changes and important aspects of your business relationship. Nobody wants to work with a client that feels stagnant – show off to your existing customers what you’ve been working on recently to keep things fresh and engaging.

8. 1/4 of Marketing Budgets Go Towards Events

To further investigate how much companies dedicate towards trade shows, let’s take a look at their budget allocation.

Studies show that B2B companies spend 29% of their entire marketing budget on live events such as trade shows, while B2C companies spend about 19% of their marketing budget. This may seem excessive to the naked eye, given the relative infrequency of these major events. However, based on these expenditures, it’s clear to see how important these companies feel trade shows are for their customer relationships, brand recognition, and sales.

With all of the planning, designing, and renting that goes into a successful exhibition, these numbers make sense. Strategically using trade show services can help to improve cost and time efficiency and develop a quality representation of your brand.

9. Tech Tactics

Trade show exhibit booths are evolving. They’re a practical use of space, often used not only as an eye-catcher but also as a useful way to allow your leads to interact with your brand. By extending your booth with computer portals or gimmicks like photo booths and other interactive displays and software, you can draw extended retention within your exhibit booth.

Of the most popular technologies that marketers use to give them a competitive edge, 45% say photo booths are the most popular, 44% use event apps, and another 44% use live streaming tools.

Companies utilizing livestreaming are reaping the benefits. For example, trade show organizers have found that those interested enough to watch a live stream of an event are 30% more likely to attend the following year.

That’s a huge advantage for your company. If you can live stream from your exhibit, you’ll be at the forefront of potential customers’ minds for the following year, and all those new attendees will want to visit your exhibit.

The companies that find the most success from in-person events prove themselves to be thought leaders. Incorporating a variety of high-tech aspects to your exhibit, as trivial as they may seem, will build up your company’s image and reputation.

10. How You Pioneer Industry Trends

We have covered how attendees want to see “new.” That’s great, but not every business can come to each trade show with a brand new product. In today’s world, if you plan to exhibit at three trade shows, by the third one, your novel new product will no longer retain its novelty.

So how do you stay fresh? You need to own the new trends in your industry. If you find ways to show how your company is leading in a particular way, that’s your free way of bringing something “new” to the event.

If you’re an FMCG manufacturer, you can educate your leads on subjects like this, and describe how you plan to add value to your customers with this new information in mind.

Want More Trade Show Background Information?

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interactive digital displays

Interactive Displays at Your Next Trade Show

You’ve got to learn how to stand out if you’re looking to not only garner attention at a trade show but also leave an impact on your attendees.

Investing in an interactive display in your booth or exhibit is one of the most unique ways to stand out in the trade show industry right now.

With the numerous opportunities they present for you in content, they’re transforming the way companies interact with trade show attendees.

Here’s how to make these creative displays work for you and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your next exhibition.

What Exactly is an Interactive Display?

All trade show booth displays should have some element of interactivity. They should tempt attendees to visit and interact with whatever the exhibitor is showing off.

However, an interactive display is a bit different. These are high-tech screens and kiosks that use displays in order to play interactive material or show off a company’s latest technology.

These displays should function almost as if you have an extra employee working for you in the booth.

They should invite and encourage attendees to interact with some sort of presentation, software, or content that you have on the screen.

Adding interactive displays to your booth or exhibit can help you:

  • Show real-time social media updates
  • Direct attendees towards your booth using signals and signs
  • Tell a story about your company
  • Uniquely show off how a new product works
  • Turn visitors into actual paying customers

This, of course, isn’t an exhaustive list of interactive booth ideas and how you can make these kinds of displays work for you.

Learning how to correctly incorporate the display into your booth design while keeping your company’s branding in mind is going to be crucial to your overall trade show success.

How to Intelligently Incorporate an Interactive Display

Sure, you could purchase an interactive display and set it up at your next exhibition.

But, you’ll find that you get more return on your investment if you learn how to intelligently incorporate it into your trade show booth design.

Depending on your company, its products or services, and the kind of trade show you’re at, you’ll want to ensure that you’re using an interactive display in a way that makes sense.

Get a feel for the vibes before the trade show and ensure that your exhibition is going to be the most attractive to the general demographic of people that attend it.

Here are a few trade show display ideas that will help get you started.

Gaming with Multi-Touch Capabilities

Few things are more attractive to guests at a trade show than the chance to destress with a video game.

You don’t always have to promote your brand to ensure that guests are going to remember you. Instead, focus on offering them something of value, like fun.

At your next trade show, you can use an interactive display as a gaming tool. The more high-tech you can get, the better.

This means using the multi-touch capabilities of today’s digital tools and letting attendees play against each other or against an employee of yours.

Offer prizes if they’re able to beat your employee or get to a certain level.

If it makes sense, you can incorporate your brand’s story or whatever you’re selling into the game.

This doesn’t have to be a hard push, however. If you’re a plumbing company, simply set the video game in a similar setting to where you’d normally attend to guests.

Likewise, if you’re a legal company, make the game about a legal case that they have to solve. The opportunities here are endless!

High-Tech and Unique Visitors Lounge

interactive touch screen display

Have you seen those digital menus at cafes and restaurants? Guests take their seats and a menu appears on the table with options for food and drinks.

They can swipe through the menu with the flick of a finger and view photos or videos of the daily special.

This kind of interactivity and use of digital media can really enhance your digital presence at your next trade show. Take the opportunity to use an interactive display like this as part of a visitors lounge.

You don’t even have to be directly selling anything to make this work. Find a unique way to work your brand or product into the menu.

Chances are, though, that if you sponsor a visitors lounge and feature interactive digital menu, guests are going to remember your brand without you having to promote anything extra.

Engaging and Magical Product Demo

If your product or service permits this without it seeming a little overdone, try to incorporate a little magic into the presentation.

One surefire way to increase booth interaction is to host demonstrations of your product throughout the day.

While you’re presenting the step-by-step process of how to use your product, you can have a visual representation and demonstration going on in the background.

Incorporate visuals, graphics, photos, music, and a little bit of magic. To do this, you can hire a professional trade show magician that can incorporate your product or company pitch into their act.

Make sure that they use the digital tools available to them in order to make things even more interactive and interesting.

Have an image appear and then disappear on the screen, or having something disappear into the screen only to appear physically in front of your guests.

Try to create a story around the presentation that weaves your product in and out of the adventure. Then, find creative ways to make use of a digital screen to really wow your guests.

Interactive Trivia to Increase Engagement

The great thing about interactive displays is that you can use them in so many ways. They make even normal trade show gimmicks or games seem new and updated.

Interactive trivia is a great way to increase engagement, and with modern technology at hand, you can use real-time data in order to have guests answer questions about what’s just happened at the event.

Or, you can use an interactive display to play “mind tricks” on your attendees and ask them to remember certain things on the screen.

These images or graphics should be related to your company, product, or service in some way as flashing them on the screen repeatedly is going to ensure that attendees remember your brand.

This kind of subliminal messaging will help foster connections between attendees and your brand while allowing them to enjoy the trivia they’re participating in.

If you’re going to go this route, it’s important to read up on current subliminal marketing trends and how they relate to virtual reality.

If you’re able to make the investment, it’s a wise choice to invest in virtual reality video creations and gear to enhance this effect.

However, incorporating virtual reality into your trade show booth design is a whole different subject matter.

Immerse Guests in a Visual Journey

interactive virtual reality

What’s more impactful than immersing someone into a completely new world where they can go on a visual and sensorial journey?

Whether you’re using virtual reality or augmented reality, if you use them right, you’re sure to command a digital presence at your next trade show.

Take guests on a visual journey through your office spaces to bring them closer to the inner workings of your daily operations. Or, allow them to use augmented reality to simply find their way to your booth in the first place.

Take a look at the unique ways in which Skullmapping, for example, is using this kind of technology in order to create immersive experiences out of ordinary displays and settings.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t always have to include virtual reality.

Innovative real estate companies are using project mapping to show off plans for new construction sites or properties.

Cutting-edge environmental companies are using interactive displays to create 3D reconstructions of geographical areas that are feeling the effects of global warming.

Making a Digital Impact at Your Next Trade Show Event

Commanding a digital presence is easy to do, but doing it in a way that successfully converts your trade show booth visitors into lifetime paying clients requires a bit of work.

Learning how to correctly incorporate an interactive display into your trade show booth design can make or break your next exhibition.

Interested in getting help before, during, or after your next trade show?

Here at Metro Exhibits, we specialize in helping companies make the most impact by offering a complete portfolio trade show services and fabrication.

If you’re going to enhance your digital presence at your next exhibition, then we can help you set up before the show with our audiovisual and electric services.

Interested in learning more? Head over to our trade show services page and then contact us for specific pricing and details.

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