How to Engage with Attendees at Trade Shows

December 15, 2017

Kristin Hovde

Kristin Hovde is the Website Manager and Blogger for Smash Hit Displays, an online trade show display company that has many booths, accessories, and flooring available.

There are several benefits associated with investing your time and energy in expanding the marketability of your product via a trade show. Trade fairs are powerful marketing systems that can bring new customers to your roster while maintaining your current relationships with your brand loyalists. It’s one of the only times where there will be a concentrated presence of international buyers, sellers and investors in one place in such a short period of time.

In addition, trade shows provide an insight of the market and industry, introduce you to the latest innovations and trends of your competitors, as well as help you obtain new ideas for your business and evaluate the competition.

Despite all of these benefits, many exhibitors do not use their time at a trade show wisely. A lot of times, business owners think that all they have to do to be successful at a trade show is to open a booth and the customers will eventually come. Sure, customers will happen, but only at a trickle and conversions will likely be bleak. People who are visiting trade shows will be experiencing sensory overload – there are going to be many booths vying for their attention and only a limited amount of time for them to do so.

That’s why it’s so essential to stand out and actively engage with would-be customers to achieve the best results possible – not just for the buyers you meet, but also for yourself.

How to Make Your Booth More Interactive

Gamify the interaction. Turn your trade booth into a game where trivia questions are asked and prizes are handed out for those who answer the questions correctly. You can even make these games more interactive by using a prize wheel that a potential customer can spin after answering a question correctly that determines what prize they win. This is where your imagination is an advantage. Regardless of the prize, make sure that it shares contact information, a logo, company name or a website address. For those who didn’t answer the question with the correct response, give them a lesser prize of a card with your company’s contact information or details about your services.

Incorporate flashy technology. Leverage technology to your advantage at your next trade show. There is usually a way to incorporate technology to make it more alluring, giving the opportunity for visitors to “play” in your booth and spend more time in it. Consider including touchscreen technology, where a tablet is used to demonstrate the subtler aspects of your product. You can go full out with remote-controlled drones and even projected gaming systems. Whatever sort of technology you use to galvanize your audience, make sure that it’s associated with your brand or product.

Use Hashtags. Hashtags can be a powerful marketing tool. Posting a hashtag contest to allow attendees to conjure up relevant post for clever company hashtags can be a way to involve people that follow you on social media. Witty, branded hashtags can also be used to win prizes. A live projection screen of the live feed will increase the engaging factor of the trade booth and improve its visibility.


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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact