Want to Have a Successful Booth? Create a Memorable Attendee Experience!

August 11, 2015

Walking the packed showfloor for the American Society of Association Executives’ Annual Meeting, held this week at Detroit’s Cobo Center, it was abundantly clear that the busiest booths, by far, were ones that created a really fun, engaging attendee experience.

Some booths went for the straight up business approach with salespeople standing at the ready to talk with customers about the company’s latest offerings, other booths had the traditional promotional items – stuffed animals, pens, water bottles, etc. – and others stepped it up a notch.

At the Visit Milwaukee booth, they decided to show off one of the local delicacies in their city – over-the-top Blood Mary drinks.

People lined up for not only the actual drink, but the garnish that included choices of sausage, cheese, pickles, olives and more. The drink (and food) was complemented by a colorful graphic display.

“We worked for months with an ad agency to develop something for the show and then we scrapped the whole concept 2-3 weeks ago,” said Megan Gaus, senior director of marketing and communications for Visit Milwaukee.

She added they decided to bring everything in-house and came up with the idea they took to the show. “Milwaukee is known for beer and cheese, but we have a pretty rich Bloody Mary scene, so we thought that might get some good booth traffic,” Gaus said.

And, their last-minute gamble paid off, in more ways than one. They poured 700 Bloody Marys, which translated to 700 leads, and, even better, the entire concept only cost a few thousand dollars.

“I’m really blessed to have a really talented team,” Gaus said. ASAE agreed, naming the booth second place in its “Best-in-show in-line booth contest.”

Another booth that created a lot of fun engagement was a2z, Inc.’s, where they showed off their ChirpE Photo Booth product.

Attendees stood in front of a green screen and were able to pick from a number of backgrounds and props, such as being in a rock band or in a cartoon.

“The ChirpE Photo Booth is making a huge impact on social media,” said Beth Hays Kepnes, director national sales. “It gets a lot of attention and drives value for the booth. The number of impressions exponentially increases, and people are just having so much fun!”

Some other booths that made an impact on the showfloor included the Geico booth that had a dizzying amount of activities going on at the same time. There was a claw machine in which people could try and win a small gecko or bigger stuffed animals. They had a 3-D printer making, of course, little green geckos they were giving away. And, if you filled out a short form on an iPad a wheel would automatically spin and you could pick from several different prizes.

During all of this prize giving, a life-size gecko walked around high-fiving everyone and music blared from speakers all over the booth. Yes, they were very, very busy.

Over in the Korea Tourism booth, they took a more subtle approach. People could dress up in ornate, silk robes and have their picture taken in front of a beautiful backdrop, or have their name hand-stamped in Korean letters on a colorful fan.

In the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau booth, they took the idea of loving their city to another level with signage proclaiming #LousivilleLove, tons of giveaways, such as an ice cube tray made specifically for bourbon, and salespeople dressed to the nines.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission was back again with its extremely popular ‘Build-a-Bear’ exhibit at which attendees stood in long lines for a special stuffed animal to take back home.  

In all, there were a lot of booths that brought out their ‘A’ game at the ASAE annual meeting, and, as a result, the showfloor consistently was buzzing with energy from the minute the doors opened until they closed both exhibit hall days.

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.