Trade show exhibits are really funny things when you think about it, aren’t they? I’ve probably attended a couple of hundred of trade shows, and the exhibits after all are really just temporary shelters for people who are selling something. The exhibits have to be able to showcase whatever it is that is being promoted, while at the same time they also have to serve as a home-away-from-home for those of us who are doing the presenting. The best exhibits of all are the ones that are set up to be an office, reception area, a shop, etc. For the shows that I have had to attend, for me, the really good exhibits are the ones that can give you a place to rest, grab a quick eat, and even return phone calls in privacy (well, as much privacy as you can have in such a public place.)
When you walk around any trade show, you can help but sort of be amazed about all of the different exhibits. For the company that I now work for, we have a really good set up — we have counters and locking cabinets. I like this plan so much because it helps control our visitor traffic, while giving me a handy place to lock up my purse, and whatever else I need to have with me. Our new counter is useful because we set up our new iPad and tablet displays — always nice to have them running during those long and boring times which almost always happens in the middle of the day. The last show we went to had a dead time of two hours. I just let the tablet run our company’s pre-loaded videos while I took a quick snooze behind our display tower.
The other thing that I like to think about is a really good display. A lot of times you can find yourself limited by not having enough staff members to go with you to the trade show; and sometimes a wave of visitors will come all at once to your exhibit. I hate to leave them standing alone without getting my attention, because sometimes visitors can be so fussy that they will walk away. We now have an interactive display. This seems to help invite the over flow of visitors to sit, have a free bottle of juice or water (which I always have to pay for, but what the heck), and interact with out exhibit’s iPad until I have a chance to speak with them one-on-one.
After a very long couple of days at a show, I can’t wait to get home. Trade shows are very hard work, and the last thing that I want to worry about, even though it is one of the most important parts of the whole trade show, is getting there, setting up, breaking down, getting back home again, and safely storing everything. Whatever exhibit you are thinking about, I can tell you that this part of the whole trade show process is the most tedious — I HATE IT. By the time I leave the show, I am done. I just want to go home and sleep for about a week. The last thing I want to think about is packing up, so for your exhibit, look for something that is easy to pack up.
After a show is all over, I’m always glad and happy to go home, but the next trade show seems to be just a few months away and the insanity starts all over again. This may sound selfish of me, and I do love my job, but if we didn’t have the really nice exhibit that we have now, I wouldn’t be so happy to go to the shows. The exhibits are really a home-away-from-home, and they actually can help make the time that you stay there, a whole lot easier.