Exhibitors Speak Out: Tech Takes Time, Too

July 13, 2021

Dana Freker Doody

Dana Freker Doody is a 20-year devotee to trade shows, events and communities. She recently became Vice President of Marketing and Communications at JUNO, the service leader among virtual and hybrid event platforms, where unlimited exhibitor engagement suites are included at no charge and 365-day engagement is a reality.

In the physical trade show world, exhibitors get to move in early, the big ones even earlier. The booth space is a home away from home, with care put into how tchotchkes are displayed and cases of water hauled in to keep the staffers hydrated.

Exhibitors need time to move into their virtual booth space, too. Too many times we’ve heard about exhibitors scrambling to get passwords sorted, videos uploaded and staff trained on how attendees at virtual events will be able to interact with them. Turns out, exhibitor training and time to get settled are some of the major pain points expressed in a broad Ascend Media study of exhibitors. 

We are addressing these Top 10 Concerns in a series of four blog posts that outline solutions for supporting exhibitors in a virtual environment.

Big Idea No. 3: Teach the Tech

What exhibitors said:

“We need more time, communication, instruction and training for building our booths and working within each virtual platform to engage attendees.”

“Let exhibitors reach out to attendees and set appointments before the event starts.”

What to do about it:

In my experience with The Expo Group, I learned exhibitor move-in is a well-orchestrated affair, often lasting multiple days and sometimes nights. No one would open the doors of a trade show to exhibitors and attendees at the same time. Can you imagine the chaos? It would be like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos – ineffective, pointless and overall frustrating. 

Similarly, the technology platform for your virtual and hybrid events must be taught and opened to exhibitors before the rest of your community. Not only do they have business to accomplish beforehand, like uploading content, but they also can become your pre-show hype team. Get these stakeholders pumped up ahead of time so they share messaging out to attendees about the excitement. 

To Teach the Tech:

  • Open early for exhibitors, as time is the greatest teacher
  • Hold group trainings and be sure to record them for later access
  • Make yourself available or choose a platform with support for exhibitors -- they are looking for concierge service
  • Help exhibitors navigate the platform as early adopters so they are in a position to assist customers
  • Encourage firms to think about “sending” the right staff members to the show, perhaps more subject matter experts than sales managers
  • Point out features that benefit them, especially when you have a robust platform that offers scheduling, matchmaking, messaging and 1:1 video chat

Remember this is just one of four areas where organizers can help support their exhibitors at virtual events, as shared in an Ascend Media study. Read more posts on the other topics right here on tsnn.com.

The 4 Big Ideas for Exhibitor Satisfaction:

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