Why Technology Is the Way Forward

June 10, 2021

Angelina Lawton

Angelina Lawton has combined her passion for sports, branding, and technology to become founder and CEO of Sportsdigita. Sportsdigita has disrupted the sports industry by partnering with more than 400 clients across professional sports and enterprise with its ground-breaking interactive presentation platform, Digideck.

The concept of the traditional trade show is changing. Although the pandemic has accelerated the movement away from large in-person gatherings – or at least events that are restricted only to that format – companies continue to grow more creative in building their digital presence and enhancing their engagement with prospects at trade shows.

Trade shows are a powerful place to show your company mission, messaging and branding to an oftentimes eager audience. According to CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions, 99% of marketers ѕаіd thеу found unique value from trаdе show еxhіbіtѕ that they didn’t gеt from оthеr mаrkеtіng mеdіumѕ. And with most companies moving toward a remote format (or a hybrid approach with a remote option), technologies have now entered into the equation as an integral piece to powering a successful trade show. Many are turning to flexible technologies to power their booth experience, whether that be an on-screen virtual tour, in person and accompanied by an iPad or other devices, or some combination of the two.

“I look at it truly as an opportunity to modernize event marketing,” Mary Fehrnstrom, senior director of event marketing at Workday, told Freeman. “I mean, this really is a moment in time for us that I think we should all embrace and not be afraid of.”

Embracing technology, however, is just the first step. Landing on the right tech to tell your company’s story and convey its value to customers is critical. Trade shows play an essential role in many company’s business models, and technology’s functionality must make it easy to regularly spark new interest within a digital environment.

Urban Armor Gear is an example of a company that had to quickly pivot and become much more reliant on digital technology as a result of the pandemic. The company sells military-grade, leading-edge cases and protective equipment for electronics and relied heavily upon the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the past to book meetings with potential buyers. They typically set some 200 meetings each year at CES.

After the event went virtual this year due to the pandemic, the Urban Armor Gear team needed to shift strategies. We teamed up with Urban Armor Gear empowering them to connect with clients and share products in a virtual, but immersive manner on any device, at any time.

A digital investment strategy for trade shows should be considered a “must-have” in this new era of business. In much the same way certain companies were slow to embrace the internet as a branding platform and marketing tool 20 years ago, the failure to develop a robust digital component for industry events today may lead to lost opportunities now and in the future.

A digital platform builds in an ease for registration and attendance that simply can’t be matched. Additionally, less paper, greater venue flexibility and fewer ancillary costs (printing, lanyards, signage) mean savings for the hosts. And because digital events require no travel or lodging and less time committed to the event overall, their reach is virtually infinite. It’s no wonder that attendance rates to trade shows are exploding.

New tech has also empowered companies to stay connected with customers and prospects through these events. Digital platforms that power trade shows harness data that would otherwise be missed. Tools that capture valuable analytics for trade events, including the contact information of viewers, the content and features from your virtual booth that resonated most with your audience, and more will be paramount in building a trade show presence that will outshine your peers.

Technology is reinventing the trade show – how they’re attended, what modern customer engagement looks like, and the measure of value to be gained by hosting or taking part in an event. Companies should not be discouraged by this trend and its implications. Instead, they should be thrilled it’s here and the robust opportunity it presents.


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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.