Accessibility: Making Trade Shows Accommodating to All

This episode began as a recent conversation on a show floor, when I suddenly realized that there’s just not enough discussion happening in the trade show industry about accessibility issues. Even if you think you’re tuned into what attendees with disabilities need in order to navigate a show floor, you’re probably missing a lot of things that are frustrating them or even keeping them away from the show all together. (I know I was!)

Click the play button at the end of this article to hear Joan Eisenstodt and Lee Jacobia share first-hand experience on aspects that venues, show organizers, and exhibitors need to understand:

  • Common aspects of shows and venues that are still not accessible, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25 this year
  • Ways to be more sensitive to those with visible or invisible disabilities (Hint: it begins with advance registration)
  • How to educate exhibit booth staff so that they are more hospitable to attendees with disabilities
  • Why thinking like a child can be a good thing

Here are a few additional resources to continue your exploration of this important topic:

Disclaimer: We are not experts on the specific aspects of the ADA, so this discussion is provided for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. We recommend you consult your attorney to determine whether your venues and practices are in compliance with the laws.

About Joan Eisenstodt:

Joan Eisenstodt

Joan Eisenstodt

As a life-long learner and a total nerd when it comes to reading and information collecting, Joan Eisenstodt founded DC-based Eisenstodt Associates in 1981 to provide meetings and hospitality consulting, training and facilitation. An informed and engaging trainer and facilitator, she is involved in ASAE, DMAI, HSMAI, IACC, MPI, PCMA, and SGMP.

Joan’s passionate teaching has been honored by many of those same organizations, as well as NSA (and that’s speakers not spies.) Joan was a 2004 inductee into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders. She educates in all she does including her activity in social media.

You can connect with Joan via her website at or on Twitter: @joaneisenstodt and @meetingsfocus

About Lee Jacobia:

Lee Jacobia

Lee Jacobia

An experienced exhibit industry professional, Lee Jacobia started his career in the exhibit industry in 1994 and has held various positions at exhibit design firms over the last 15 years, including responsibility for warehouse, account management, client team direction and transportation management. His experience spans multiple industries and clients of all sizes.

Lee holds a Masters of Business Administration with specialization in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, and was awarded “Patient of the Year” honors in 2008 from Rehabilitation Hospital of Indianapolis. He is currently a Business Development Executive with MG Design. He can be reached at ljacobia (at)

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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