Why Staff Training Matters for Attendees (Part I)

February 22, 2018

Thea Vinereanu

Thea Vinereanu is the Business Development Manager for Trade Show Stars, which provides trade show staff training to help increase the quality and quantity of leads as well as provide more value to attendees, sponsors and show organizers alike.

If you’ve gone spelunking through our Trade Show Stars blog archive, by now you’ve gathered that training staff is your best asset to stand out at your show, get better leads and have a whole lot more fun at the show. It benefits everyone: attendees, show organizers, your company and even other booths. I’m writing some extra content around these topics because reflecting on all the show aspects that improve make training seem like a no-brainer. Let’s start with attendees.

To quote Jay Z (loosely), “they could’ve been anywhere in the world, but they here with you.” We should appreciate that. Attendees have taken time out to go to this event because they’re looking for another company to fix a problem of theirs.

Walking around a show is exhausting and honestly, booths with similar products and services start to look and sound the same after a few hours. And if you’ve owned or worked in a store, you know that when someone walks in it doesn’t 100 percent mean they’re going to buy something and hopefully, you don’t ignore them until they declare, “I want to buy something!” Then why do we do it at the booth?

And (same scenario) if there were throngs of people outside your store but no one was coming in, would you just chalk it up to, “I guess no one is hungry/shopping for clothes/has any remote desire for anything my business sells”? No! You would hopefully get out in the middle of all those people and find some business.

Attendees have indicated by their presence that they need something and if you’re at the right show for your vertical, 33 percent of attendees need something you sell. Your competition at the show also sells similar things, so how will you stand out?

(By raffling off a sweet Yeti cooler, of course!)

(By offering an open bar!)

(By hiring some girls to pass out totes, duh!)

Trade shows are a great place to meet new leads face to face. If two companies have similar portfolios, most of the time the business goes to whoever the prospect felt had a better understanding of their needs and felt that the rep was honest and genuine. Many of those attendees have either not heard of (no offense), bought from or dealt directly with your company before that show. Is the first impression you want to give of your company as one of many similar booths, with booth staff looking at their phones or talking amongst themselves?

Additionally, great staff ask great questions, which also improves the show experience for attendees. I have lost count of how many times I’ve stopped because a staffer asked me a question and they freeze as if they can’t believe initiating a conversation actually brought someone over that originally wasn’t going to stop. It works, I promise! You just have to do it.

The next step is letting the attendee do most of the talking because they will divulge what you need to know. That way you have a much better idea if they need what your company sells and will make following up much easier.

Ninety-eight percent of booths will speak for several minutes on what they do, (possibly) ask what the attendee does and then talk some more about what they do. I understand this because I did it at my first booth job when I truly did not know any better. But it’s so boring and makes the quality of a lead almost nil. Challenge yourself and your staff to do better. Use these trade show tips to produce some serious trade show rock stars!


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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.