7 Reasons to Host a Hospitality Event During a Trade Show

November 12, 2019

Mike Duseberg

Mike Duseberg is the founder of TradeShowFunnel.comDedicated to helping exhibitors connect with more qualified prospects, Mike is fascinated by measurable, accountable and profitable trade show marketing.

Trade shows are the best face-to-face sales and marketing venues in the world. Thousands of current clients and future prospects are gathered in one place, and they’re all focused on industry-wide problems that your company solves. The sales and marketing activity doesn’t have to stop when the show floor closes, however.  

Hospitality suites and customer events represent a largely untapped opportunity. Everyone is going to eat dinner, go out for drinks and probably seek some kind of entertainment – why shouldn’t your best clients and prospects do that with your sales team?

Whether you’re hosting a huge party for a thousand guests or a simple, off-site dinner for your closest clients, here are seven reasons you should do some kind of a hospitality event during your next trade show:

Building Rapport

People buy from people they know, like and trust. The biggest advantage you can give your salespeople is the opportunity to build real rapport with your clients, so they can cross the threshold from “salesperson” to “friend and trusted advisor.” That’s hard to do in a sales call or on the trade show floor, where everything revolves around a “buyer/seller” mentality. At the hospitality, we’re here to have fun and relax together, which lets your sales team connect with your prospects as friends.

Convert Your Competitor’s Customers

Successful hospitality events introduce guests to new venues, new food and drink, and new experiences. Research shows these events are “mind opening” – when we try new things and enter new worlds, we see ourselves differently and open ourselves to trying even more new things. By inviting your competitor’s clients to these special events, you open their minds to new perspectives about your industry, your products and your company. This can help your sales people “get their foot in the door” with clients who would normally be firmly committed to your competitor.

Drive Traffic to the Trade Show Booth

Clients need a good reason to stop and engage with your trade show booth staff. By displaying your equipment in the hospitality, mentioning the problems it solves in the welcome speech and on signage, and even integrating these messages into your entertainment, you can help your prospects make a plan to visit your booth and learn more.

Set Appointments

In casual conversation at a hospitality suite, your sales team can ask a few casual questions about your customer’s business, identify some pain points and then schedule an on-site meeting, a phone call or another “next step.”


There is no greater referral tool than a hospitality suite. When your best clients bring their friends and colleagues to your hospitality space, they are literally introducing these people to your company, your products and your sales people. It doesn’t get any smoother than that.

Make Offers

You could offer a special deal for guests attending the hospitality or trade show, but you can also use your event to offer free white papers and research, complimentary test-drives of software and portal websites, and complimentary need analyses. This could be done as part of a speech or explained on a card or one-sheet in a gift bag. Using opt-in forms, you can tell which of your prospects took advantage of the offer, so you know who your sales team should follow up with and what they should talk about.

Show Appreciation

Of course, people do like to feel appreciated. Don’t forget to thank your current customers for their business (while you commit them to a next step).

Hospitality events are a tremendous opportunity to connect with your ideal clients. Creating a memorable event that connects your sales team to your prospects, positions your sales team for effective follow up, and really drives bottom-line results, takes strategy and forethought.  

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.