A major part of planning any event or trade show is figuring out the floor plan. The right floor plan is easy to navigate, creates good traffic flow, and makes it simple for exhibitors and attendees to connect with each other.
The wrong floor plan can turn an event into a nightmare, with impenetrable bottlenecks, confusing navigation, and serious frustration for everybody involved.
Because of this, it’s not unusual for floor plans to undergo a number of changes before (or even the day of) a show or event. Fortunately, digital technology is now making it easier than ever to get floor planning under control — plus, it offers some excellent engagement opportunities for sponsors and attendees.
Why digital floor plans?
Leading up to an event, many people need access to the floor plans, including sales people, contractors, marketing people, operations, and exhibitors. But managing a technical floor plan, and a sales floor plan, and a marketing floor plan is an onerous task.
Any time changes are made to the floor plan, a new version must be created and distributed to all stakeholders — with no guarantees everyone will remember to work off the newest plan. Last-minute changes create logistical nightmares, and the printed plans often end up out of sync with the latest desired updates.
Digital floor plans change all that.
As the director of digital products at Freeman, I’ve seen first-hand the impact having digital floor plans can make. When one team makes a change, thanks to the magic of the cloud, plans are updated for everyone, in real time. No matter where in the world your stakeholder happens to be, they’re always working off the most current plan. Add in built-in safety regulations and an intuitive interface, and show organisers can confidently manage floor plans and collaborate with their teams.
In one memorable instance, a show in Barcelona needed to provide individual booth plans with technical information to each exhibitor … all 3,500 of them. Each plan took about 20 minutes to produce manually. By implementing digital floor plans, we saved the organisers an enormous headache — not to mention considerable resources and money.
How digital floor plans benefit exhibitors
So, digital floor plans are a major efficiency booster for show organisers. But what do exhibitors get out of the deal?
As it turns out, digital floor plans open up a world of new possibilities for them, as well.
On any event website, the floor plan page is one of the most commonly visited. Visitors also tend to stay on this page for a long time — up to four and a half minutes on average, which is high for an event website. Clearly, the floor plan page is a key engagement point, where visitors are planning out which exhibitors they want to see at the event.
On a basic level, sponsoring the floor plan page on the public-facing website offers a huge advantage to any exhibitor. But digital floor plans up the ante with even more opportunities for visibility, including:
- Banner ads: Advertisements on the event floor plan page can highlight the exhibitor’s booth location or link to an exhibitor’s website.
- Floor plan enhancement: Digital floor plans give exhibitors enhancement options like a longer profile, larger logo, or highlighting their booth in a special colour.
- Lead generation: This is a major breakthrough for exhibitors. Attendees can review the online digital floor plan and bookmark exhibitors they particularly want to visit by providing their name and email address. This data is then passed to the exhibitors in question, allowing them to reach out to the lead and plan meetings before the event even takes place.
How digital floor plans benefit attendees
When attending a show or event, few things are as frustrating for an attendee as inadvertently missing a key exhibitor. Digital floor plans ensure that doesn’t happen. Because the floor plan is always accurate and readily accessible on the event website, attendees can easily locate their wish-list exhibitors and can plan accordingly.
Not only does this help attendees be more efficient with their time, it can actually give attendees more free time to browse around and make serendipitous connections with other exhibitors not originally on their radar.
And the impact goes even further, thanks to the data digital floor plans can provide. For example, show organisers can see which exhibitors attendees bookmark the most. Organisers can then use this information to improve the attendee experience. For example, if the bookmark data suggests a certain exhibitor is particularly popular, or that many attendees are interested in a particular issue, the organiser can adapt their marketing strategy to generate even more interest among attendees — which might not have happened without this data.
Ultimately, it’s this comprehensive insight that makes digital floor plans so powerful. From the myriad stakeholders involved in the planning process, on through to the exhibitors who form the show and the attendees who make it a success, the ability to provide everyone with a single, cloud-based point of truth creates a cascading impact that generates massive gains in efficiency, revenue, and satisfaction for everyone involved.