No Attendee Left Behind

No Attendee Left Behind

Lately the same topic keeps coming up in conversations with exhibitors, show organizers, and other industry professionals.

Everyone’s talking about how show floor traffic may be down by 40–50 percent, yet the quality of attendees is much higher. Even small exhibitors are getting more serious leads, which makes them feel their investment is worthwhile.

Yet I’m also hearing from those who can’t attend in person. There are many reasons, whether health concerns, budget restrictions, or travel logistics. (Just had a conversation this week with a Canadian exhibitor … if you think travel within the U.S. is a hassle, you should hear the challenges international visitors are dealing with!)

All this to say that event organizers and exhibitors need to consider that while those attending are serious buyers, there may also be some at home who genuinely wish they could be there. So be careful how you word things. I’ve seen some (probably well-intentioned) shows promoting “what you’re missing out on by not coming,” not realizing that attendees already wish they could be there, you don’t need to rub it in.

Some organizers have said flat-out that they have no intention of including a virtual component, now that in-person events are “back.” But are they? Can we truly say that until attendance levels are approaching what they were back in 2019?

We should continue to find ways to include those who are staying home but wish to be a part of the event. For example, Classic Exhibits is doing a livestream from the EXHIBITORLive show floor (you’ll find details here). This is something that pretty much every exhibitor could provide, at least at some level. Stream in-booth demos on your social media channels or provide a video review of the show for your clients. Show them that they are important, even if they’re not there with you in person. It will pay off down the road!

We learned more great ideas to make virtual events interesting and engaging this week on Virtual Lunch, with our guest Rob Gelb. (You can catch the replay on YouTube or LinkedIn.)

© 2021 Marlys K. Arnold  (Reprinted from the October 2021 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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