Trade Show Forecast: Experiential with an Abundance of New Tech!

November 6, 2018

Lauren Berbarian

Lauren Berbarian is the Events Specialist with EMC Outdoor. With over a decade of experience supporting events and trade shows, Lauren has coordinated programs of all shapes and sizes including grassroots nonprofit events, international product launches, road shows, trade shows and multi-platform OOH campaigns. 

We are certainly living in an interesting time, especially when it comes to connecting people to products on the trade show floor. By nature, human beings need to feel part of something bigger, engaged with our surroundings, communities, nature and products. This physical engagement enhanced by technology in the tradeshow environment can have an enormous impact on how attendees experience a brand. It can result in a lifelong relationship of loyalty, awareness and trust toward that brand.

A recent study from Bizzabo shows that most trade show marketers see ROI from events that utilize technology to engage with their audience. According to the report, 80 percent of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success and that events are the most effective method for promoting a brand or product, at 31 percent. Additionally, 86 percent of event marketers believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events (

Integrated Experiential Exhibit Technology – or IEET, as I like to call it – allows an audience to interact and have a profound multi-sensory experience with a brand or product. Worlds collide when a captivating exhibit space employs experiential marketing with an element of technology. It creates a perfect storm of deep engagement. The more marketers embrace IEET, the more it can transform the way audiences see, hear, feel and experience the world.

 Enhanced Virtual Reality

Imagine having the ability to virtually pickup objects and examine small grooves, textures and contours. Well, HaptX Inc. has been pioneering this technology and taking VR to a whole new “world!” The HaptX Gloves allow a user to actually “feel” with over 100 points of high-displacement tactile feedback, up to five pounds of resistance per finger and sub-millimeter precision motion tracking (

Disney recently came out with a haptic jacket, called “Force Jacket.” It comprises 26 miniature airbags connected to tubes and sensors that inflate to generate a sensation. The user can feel a snow ball hit or a bug crawl up their arm. The technology will allow brands to add to their trade show campaign with a fully sensational VR experience (

Hologram Technology

Startup hi-tech companies all over the world are developing their version of hologram technology. A company out of London called Kino Mo is making some huge waves with Hypervsn. It’s a device made of spinning, LED-covered arms that delivers unique and immersive 3D visuals in midair. It can handle fast creative customization, perform real-time content scheduling, synchronize with multiple units, be remotely managed and gather impression data.

Hologram technology is proving to be fully interactive, too, with the added component of experiential gaming. VNTANA has created a lightweight, interactive platform designed to give trade show attendees a realistic brand experience. Lexus uses the technology at auto-conventions to give consumers a fun, interactive experience while capturing lead data in a CRM system. It gives marketers endless brand interaction capabilities, personal connection and critical audience data capture (

Conductive Electric Paint

Last year, Toshiba Global exhibited at the 2017 National Retail Federation Expo with conductive electric paint to unveil Brilliant Commerce, a new shopping and check out experience. The installation drew-in onlookers to interact with the life cycle of the new, innovative experience. Enticing copy and graphics encouraged the guests to touch the walls, revealing a delightful array of hidden messages! An entire story appeared, simply with the touch of the user’s fingertips, resulting in an abundance of multi-sensory experiences. This technology can even be integrated with other media solutions, like projection mapping, audio and beautifully executed visuals.

A study from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says that 92 percent of trade show attendees go to see and learn about what’s new in products, services and technology. This positions IEET on the cusp of a futuristic frontier, poised to reach an eager audience. It’s redefining how we reach a captive trade show audience and have a global impact. The virtual and augmented worlds are innovating new markets, bringing value to products and brands, and introducing a new environment for real-world consumerism. These disruptive technologies are creating multi-sensory experiences that elevate engagement with audiences, forging trusting relationships with brands and changing how we communicate. They’re increasing the power of an impression far beyond the trade show floor.


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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.