Be Our Guest: How to be the PERFECT Host at Trade Shows

Want to achieve ULTIMATE success at trade shows and other events?

Don’t think like a business person trying to sell stuff to prospective customers.

Instead, act like a host, treating attendees as guests at your booth, table or break out sessions.

Here are five simple things you can do that say “be our guest” to event attendees. They will transform you into the host-with-the-most that everyone at your next trade show will want to hang with.

Select locations that are easy to get to.

Whether you’re choosing a space for a booth or table — or a place to hold a break-out session or other events — make sure attendees don’t have to travel long distances to get to it. The first step toward being a great trade show host is to make it easy to find and reach you. People don’t enjoy long and confusing treks through conference centers or hotels.

Work with event organizers to identify optimal locations. Then use social media, email and other communication tactics to tell attendees where you’re located and what to expect when they come to see you. Providing directions and setting expectations make it more likely people will stop by.

Tip: Make friends with event organizers. They’ll be more likely to help you with any issues you face and treat YOU as a guest in THEIR home.

Design a trade show booth that’s warm and welcoming.

Many people are so preoccupied with how their booth looks and what it says, they forget to plan for how it functions.

Of course, it’s important to communicate key company messages on walls and banners. And to design a booth that commands attention. However, it’s equally critical to make sure the booth functions effectively. It should be welcoming to — and comfortable for — visitors. 

Some things you can do:

  • Remove or relocate tables, literature racks, displays and other barriers to entry. An open space feels more welcoming and encourages attendees to come in for a visit.
  • Provide tables, sofas, chairs and other furniture that encourage visitors to hang out, relax and meet with your reps. Trade shows are stressful and exhausting. Creating a comfortable respite will give your business an advantage over the competition.
  • Plan for traffic flow through your display. A human traffic jam prevents people from entering and makes those already inside feel cramped, claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

Taking these steps will transform your trade show booth into a warm and welcoming home your guests will want to spend time in.

Tip: Offer visitors a range of seating and table options so everyone can find a comfortable way to hang out and meet with reps.

Provide refreshments.

What’s the first thing you do when friends come over to your home? Of course, you give them something to drink and eat. The same thing should happen at trade shows. People get thirsty and hungry at events. Hectic schedules leave little time for meals. A bottle of water, a cup of coffee or a small snack will encourage them to stop by and stay for a conversation.

Tip: Be aware that many people have allergies and sensitivities to different types of food. Offering options will ensure everyone finds something they can enjoy.

Offer entertainment.

A good host provides games, movies, and other experiences to entertain guests. The best and busiest trade show booths and table displays do the same. If designed correctly, games, videos, and quizzes are a fun and engaging way to educate prospective customers about the products and services your business offers while gathering information that can be used to guide conversations and close deals.

Tip: Mobile Locker’s software makes it simple to develop booth experiences visitors will enjoy. They also capture information about prospects you’ll be able to use throughout the selling process.

Dress to impress.

It should be obvious to trade show attendees who are working your booth. There’s nothing more awkward than having to ask around to find someone to speak to. Most people won’t take the time or make the effort.

Provide your reps with t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, caps, buttons or other identifiers that make it clear they’re available to help out and answer questions.

Tip: Make sure everyone working your booth, table or break outwears a smile. It will make them seem friendly and approachable.

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