Weekly Insights: Showing Appreciation to Exhibitors

Graphic: © Depositphotos.com/Arcady

One key to a successful trade show is a great partnership between show organizers and their exhibitors. When exhibitors feel appreciated and supported – and because of that they see increased results from their investment – they’re more likely to support that show in future years.

Showing support for exhibitors doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Some of the best ideas can also be some of the simplest to implement. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Do something special for first-time exhibitors. This could take many forms: special banner/designation in the show guide or on the show floor, exhibitor webinar with tips for first-timers to get them off to a great start, or special onsite events or amenities to welcome them.
  • Provide an exhibitor-only lounge. Yes, this may be an extra expense, but it doesn’t have to be a huge section of your show floor. And it can pay off big by creating happier, well-rested exhibitors!
  • Have an exhibitor welcome cart on move-in days. This could feature coffee and snacks, as well as items exhibitors find they need onsite, like hand sanitizer, basic first aid supplies, paper clips and other office supplies, or any other last-minute essentials. While the cost is not huge, the goodwill definitely is!
  • Work with local vendors in and around the convention center and create goodie bags for exhibitors with samples and/or coupons for exhibitors.
  • Sponsor a variety of exhibitor education tools for exhibitors of all sizes. This can be in the form of exhibitor-only webinars held in advance of the show, a podcast series featuring interviews with successful exhibitors, onsite consultations or education, and more.

Have you done something creative at your show? Or are you an exhibitor who has experienced some wonderful show of appreciation? Please share in the comments below.

No matter which tools you choose to show appreciation to your exhibitors, the important thing is to do something! And because this is one of my favorite ways to work with shows, I’m happy to help you brainstorm what will work best for your particular show. Feel free to reach out!


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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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