7 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Exhibitions

August 9, 2015

Reno Macri

Reno Macri is a founder and director of UK based leading exhibition company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition design, event branding, interior design and retail branding. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions.

Exhibitions and trade shows can be very productive events for businesses, but it is important to get the experience right in order to make the most of these kinds of opportunities to present your brand and products.

1. Choose the Right Exhibition: Attending the right exhibition can help you to reach out to the right audience, to make useful connections, and to focus on the right industry or geographical location, but spending time on the wrong event could be a serious waste of time and resources. It is essential to research an event before you decide to exhibit there so that you can be sure it will fit your purpose. Good ways to find the right exhibition include checking where your competitors exhibit and talking to trade associations to find out which events are recommended by specialists.

2. Learn from Your Competition: As well as using your competitors to find the best places to exhibit, you can learn a lot from them about the best ways to approach your target audience. What kinds of promotions are other companies running at the events? Are they running interactive or social media campaigns around their attendance? Have they created a specific micro-site or blog for their event? How can you make your business stand out from the rest?

3. Identify Your Targets: Knowing who you want to talk to at the event before it begins can help you to use your time more efficiently. Check the list of attendees to find out who else will be there and come up with a plan to reach out to the people you want to meet. You might want to conduct some background research so that you can make the right impression. You can also contact some people before the event to schedule a dinner or meeting, entice them to visit your stand with a personalized promotion, or find out whether they will be attending a particular event or giving a talk.

4. Don't Restrict Your Activities to the Exhibition Itself: Attending a well-respected event can boost your reputation, so make sure you mention it on your website and social media platforms. You can also use them to interact with attendees before, during and after the event in order to keep them engaged. You should also take advantage of the opportunity to arrange meetings and other activities outside the main schedule of events, and of any extra exhibition services such as changes to arrange private meetings or give presentations.

5. Make Yourself Stand Out: You need a clear message, a distinctive stand, and a reason for people to remember you. Come up with a promotion or interactive element that will direct people to your company website, or a giveaway that will actually come in useful. Be creative so that people will keep talking about your brand.

6. Be an Attendee, Not Just an Exhibitor: Don't tie yourself to your own stand. Make sure you have several people with you so that you can take turns to explore the rest of what the event has to offer. You can learn a lot and make some great contacts while you mingle, attend activities, and visit other exhibition stands.

7. Assess Your Success: Track how well you are achieving your goals so that you can learn how to do even better at your next event and calculate your ROI. Make sure you know how many people visit your booth, and how many leads and sales your attendance has generated, and what people thought about your presence at the event.

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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.