7 Reasons to Host a Hospitality Event During a Trade Show

November 12, 2019

Mike Duseberg

Mike Duseberg is the founder of TradeShowFunnel.comDedicated to helping exhibitors connect with more qualified prospects, Mike is fascinated by measurable, accountable and profitable trade show marketing.

Trade shows are the best face-to-face sales and marketing venues in the world. Thousands of current clients and future prospects are gathered in one place, and they’re all focused on industry-wide problems that your company solves. The sales and marketing activity doesn’t have to stop when the show floor closes, however.  

Hospitality suites and customer events represent a largely untapped opportunity. Everyone is going to eat dinner, go out for drinks and probably seek some kind of entertainment – why shouldn’t your best clients and prospects do that with your sales team?

Whether you’re hosting a huge party for a thousand guests or a simple, off-site dinner for your closest clients, here are seven reasons you should do some kind of a hospitality event during your next trade show:

Building Rapport

People buy from people they know, like and trust. The biggest advantage you can give your salespeople is the opportunity to build real rapport with your clients, so they can cross the threshold from “salesperson” to “friend and trusted advisor.” That’s hard to do in a sales call or on the trade show floor, where everything revolves around a “buyer/seller” mentality. At the hospitality, we’re here to have fun and relax together, which lets your sales team connect with your prospects as friends.

Convert Your Competitor’s Customers

Successful hospitality events introduce guests to new venues, new food and drink, and new experiences. Research shows these events are “mind opening” – when we try new things and enter new worlds, we see ourselves differently and open ourselves to trying even more new things. By inviting your competitor’s clients to these special events, you open their minds to new perspectives about your industry, your products and your company. This can help your sales people “get their foot in the door” with clients who would normally be firmly committed to your competitor.

Drive Traffic to the Trade Show Booth

Clients need a good reason to stop and engage with your trade show booth staff. By displaying your equipment in the hospitality, mentioning the problems it solves in the welcome speech and on signage, and even integrating these messages into your entertainment, you can help your prospects make a plan to visit your booth and learn more.

Set Appointments

In casual conversation at a hospitality suite, your sales team can ask a few casual questions about your customer’s business, identify some pain points and then schedule an on-site meeting, a phone call or another “next step.”


There is no greater referral tool than a hospitality suite. When your best clients bring their friends and colleagues to your hospitality space, they are literally introducing these people to your company, your products and your sales people. It doesn’t get any smoother than that.

Make Offers

You could offer a special deal for guests attending the hospitality or trade show, but you can also use your event to offer free white papers and research, complimentary test-drives of software and portal websites, and complimentary need analyses. This could be done as part of a speech or explained on a card or one-sheet in a gift bag. Using opt-in forms, you can tell which of your prospects took advantage of the offer, so you know who your sales team should follow up with and what they should talk about.

Show Appreciation

Of course, people do like to feel appreciated. Don’t forget to thank your current customers for their business (while you commit them to a next step).

Hospitality events are a tremendous opportunity to connect with your ideal clients. Creating a memorable event that connects your sales team to your prospects, positions your sales team for effective follow up, and really drives bottom-line results, takes strategy and forethought.  

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Just when it seems like Las Vegas can’t get any bigger, brighter or more exciting for groups, MGM Resorts raises the bar again. The company continues to invest and innovate across its portfolio of Las Vegas resorts, with new attractions and upgraded experiences for attendees of all interests.  Remodeled Guest Rooms MGM Grand is the largest single hotel in the world with over 5,000 guest rooms and an 850,000-square-foot conference center. It is home to the newly remodeled MGM Grand Studio Tower—700 reimagined guest rooms with a fun mid-century vibe. Nearby, the iconic New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino recently completed a $63M redesign and remodel of its 1,830 guest rooms and 155 suites. Down the street, Bellagio Las Vegas is sporting renovated rooms in the Spa Tower with sunrise-inspired decor and luxurious soaking tubs in Premier King rooms after a $110-million transformation. Reinvented Luxury Experiences The Luxury Meetings District, made up of Bellagio Las Vegas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas, is now more connected than ever before. A new interior walkway opened this October for a seamless attendee experience – connecting Vdara, Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, guests can now walk from Park MGM to Bellagio in around 15 minutes. New on the scene in the Luxury Meetings District is Cathedrale at ARIA, TAO Group’s upscale establishment specializing in exquisite French-Mediterranean cuisine offering elevated private dining experiences that opened in May. Heralded by World’s Best 50 Restaurants, GQ and VOGUE, LPM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is opening this fall and will deliver its signature spontaneity and imaginative celebration of France’s Mediterranean cuisine, art, and culture to the unique luxury resort in impeccable fashion.  A “New Wave  for Mandalay Bay A new wave of enhancements and experiences has arrived at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, including Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar, an 8,445-square-foot restaurant that opened this June, perfect for pre- and post-game eats and drinks. Event planner’s favorite, Chef Michael Mina’s StripSteak, received a full renovation and now includes one of the largest private dining rooms on The Strip. Retro by Voltaggio debuts a one-year residency with a fun take on pop culture of the 80s and 90s with classic American dishes. An exciting addition planned for 2024 is Swingers, a 40,000-square-foot oasis of street food, miniature golf and art at Mandalay Bay. Most exciting for meeting planners, the 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center  is undergoing a complete refresh, with lightened space, added eye-catching art, and improved technology infrastructure for even more flexible space. Energy-efficient digital signage now leads the way with faster internet speeds and new AV options. From renovated guest rooms and meeting spaces to celebrated dining options and dedicated teams, MGM Resorts is dedicated to delivering exceptional and innovative meeting experiences.