Getting Non-Attendees to Your Trade Show Booth

November 16, 2017

Bill DeMars

Bill DeMars is the Vice President of Business Development at NPPGov. He is also a Principal in the consultancy firm of Ashmak, LLC, which specializes in executive-level guidance from entrepreneurial to established medical technology companies. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Being at the correct trade show is one of the most opportunity-rich environments a company can participate in to secure face-to-face time with potential customers. In addition, trade shows provide the platform to highlight new products, special services and enhanced branding. Your team is also on-point to conduct demonstrations and proclaim the benefits of your company.

At a trade show, the number of attendances can range from a few hundred to many thousand. But what if you could provide your message from the trade show to millions of people, all of which are not at the exhibition? In addition, imagine that you could reach these non-attendees in real-time without adding any expense to the trade show you are already attending? Is this possible?

With nothing more than a cellphone, a social media account, a willing presenter and a WiFi/Cellular Internet connection, you can tell your story to the world. The following is a real-world example.

In July of 2017, a national cooperative public procurement company, NPPGov embarked on a way to show case their vendors and their vendors’ new products to NPPGov’s tens of thousands of members who could not attend the Fire Rescue International (FRI) trade show in Charlotte, NC. Yes, bringing their members to the tradeshow floor without leaving their fire district!

Live-streaming VendorsPreparation: In advance of the trade show, the NPPGov trade show team prepared a plan to identify those vendors who will be exhibiting at the trade show and who would have new and exciting products that their members would enjoy seeing. A list of eight vendors was selected and time was made available during trade show hours to live-stream product demonstrations for those eight vendors. You heard me correct, live-stream their vendors message in real-time to their members who were not at the show.

Each vendor selected their best representative to highlight the newest product they were exhibiting. Times were established with each vendor to conduct the interview and live-stream the video. Below is a picture of NPPGov’s vendor Deccan International (providers of EMS & Fire Service planning) being live-streamed on Facebook via NPPGov’s account.

Equipment: The live-streaming was accomplished via an iPhone 7 Plus and a gyroscopic gimble ($110). The social media venue was Facebook and its Facebook Live feature. For a data connection to Facebook, we used the cellular data services through the iPhone.

After each live-stream, the video was shared on each vendor’s own social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). The videos were also boosted to other Facebook members who were not part of FRGPO’s original member list, based on demographics and areas of interest.

Metrics: When conducting marketing efforts, if you cannot measure the results, is it worth doing it? Because this was the first time we conducted live-streaming, we were not sure how the streaming would be received. One of the advantages of using social media is that analytics are available in real-time. During and after our first streaming session, we could watch our followers joining the stream. They would click “like” during the video when they liked something and they were also posting questions. The interaction was something we did not expect! To better understand the analytics available during and after the streaming we have provided a few screen shots as examples.


For this video, Sutphen Corporation, which builds fire apparatus, had 5,400 views for a total of 3,331 minutes. How many sales calls would an individual salesperson need to make to achieve that number of minutes in front of customers?


From a continued review of the analytics, there were 4,626 unique viewers with 414 post engagements.


The above analytics show the engagement our viewers had with the video.

Summary: For a minimal investment in planning and execution, you can enhance your trade show experience and ROI. In addition to the benefits of pushing their vendors’ message to their members via social media, there was also an increased sense of partnership between NPPGov and their partners.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.