How to Use VR to Stand Out at a Trade Show

September 13, 2018

Yoni Koenig

Yoni Koenig is the co-founder and chairman of Exit Reality, a premier integrator and operator of virtual reality solutions for events, location-based entertainment and gaming. An award-winning creative technology innovator with more than 20 years in digital production and experiential design, Yoni has led product teams for Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Vivendi-Universal, Disney Interactive and Disney Imagineering – creating games, animation and technology companies along the way.

Planning a successful trade show exhibit requires strategy and creativity. You’re challenged to engage with potential customers and make a lasting impression – all while surrounded by competition and working with limited space. The big question is, “How do I stand out?” Consider the newest tool being used to create buzz around brands: Virtual Reality (VR). 

Demonstrations and Product Training

VR is used to sell all kinds of products – it’s not just for techies. Take, for example, Lowe’s new Holoroom Test Drive. Using the HTC Vive headset and a specially made controller, customers at Lowe’s can now get a feel for the tool they are purchasing and can practice using it safely. VR demos and tutorials are excellent ways to engage in a unique and interesting way. Depending on the type of product you’re selling, this could also decrease costs for operations and maintenance while also ensuring the customer’s safety.

Save Space

It’s no surprise that oftentimes, visitors are drawn to bigger booths – the ones where they’ll likely get a chance to view a variety of products. However, not everyone can opt for the bigger space due to a variety of obstacles ranging from budget to logistics of transporting and set up. With VR, you can bring your entire product line to the show with little fuss and minimal space. 

Brand Storytelling

Behind every great product is a great story. Imagine visiting a coffee company’s booth at a trade show. You take a free sample and an employee asks if you’d like to see where the drink in your hand came from. Donning a VR headset, you’re taken through a virtual experience of exploring a family-owned organic farm that the company sources their beans from. VR is a medium that can create emotional connections to a brand by telling a company’s story in an immersive, interactive way. 

Generate Leads

It’s not often people get a chance to experience VR. Many will gladly share an email address or a business card for the opportunity to utilize the technology. It’s a common occurrence for people to line up for a VR experience, so have a waiting list with Name, Company and Email sections ready to go. 

The future of events is shifting along with technology. Get ahead of the curve by thinking of creative ways to use new tech to bolster your professional presence and create buzz for your brand. Audiences at trade shows can expect to see dozens of different booths and many similar products, but they won’t forget their experience with VR. Use VR creatively with your brand and make your booth something worth talking about.  

Considering VR for your next event? Here are some quick tips to get started: 

  • Outline what you hope to accomplish with VR. Create a “mission statement” of how you’re going to use the tech. 
  • Write down ideas for an experience you can tie to your product (such as the behind-the-scenes experience of the coffee booth). The experience should be under five minutes.
  • Research a VR provider with a track record of success. Some will make a custom experience for your brand and even provide assistance during the event.  


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