5 Incredibly Easy Eco-Friendly Ideas to Use at Your Next Trade Show

September 24, 2016

Shane Shirley

Shane Shirley is CMO for SBS Brands, a 90-year-old global brand leader focused on creating digital and print business solutions that offers traditional and eco-friendly customized promotional products to accelerate trade show marketing.

Whether or not your brand has established eco goals or objectives, there’s a lot of value for the planet, for your brand and for your prospects and customers in going green at trade shows. Here are 5 tips and eco-friendly ideas to use at your next trade show.

1. Stand Out with a Full-Color Custom Reusable Bag. Design “THE” bag everyone wants to grab at the show. I have seen this done many times before. If you work with the right people and make use of the many ways that you can use a custom reusable bag for marketing, your brand can offer an eco-friendly “gift” that will work for your brand and the planet for years to come. Full-color bags always stand out, but think also about what type of bag you want to create, the size, and how you can add your booth theme and brand messaging to the bag.  Three more tips: Don’t forget to add your booth number and your social icons on the bag and utilize #4 below. 

2. Put a Recycling Bin in Your Booth. It is very common for attendees at trade shows to have bottled water, but recycling bins aren’t always so easy to find. Attract people who are looking for a place to toss their single-use water bottles by placing a recycling bin in your booth. Make sure your booth staff knows to keep an eye out for folks with empty or almost empty water bottles and offer them a convenient and eco-friendly way to unload them. Once people are in your booth you can deliver your business pitch.

3. Give Away Reusable Water Bottles! Reusable water bottles are eco-friendly because they do away with the need for single-use water bottles which have a huge environmental impact. You can create your own custom reusable water bottle that will serve as a constant reminder of your brand and increase your brand’s awareness and recognition, while helping the planet. 

4. Create a QR Code. You have a lot of information to convey to your prospects but not a lot of time. You can have a QR code printed directly on your display, your promotipnal items, business cards and takeaways so you can give your customers a wealth of information with a simple scan. Link the QR code to a landing page, your website, a place you have uploaded images from the show, one of your social profiles or even link it to an offer for a show special discount or deal. 

5. Use an App to Take Orders. Take your ordering process digital and eliminate the need for paper order forms. There are a lot of great apps out there that streamline the ordering process. Taking orders digitally also means your team back in the office can start processing orders right away, so your customer’s will receive their order sooner.

Share Your Eco-Ideas to Exhibit Greener

Utilizing reusable takeaways, streamlining the waste stream, and taking advantage of digital opportunities are all eco-friendly ways to go green at your next trade show. 

What ideas do you have to go eco-friendly at trade shows? Our readers, the TSNN team and I would love to hear about what you are doing to exhibit greener. Inspire us all by sharing yoru ideas in the comments below.


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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.