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The Exhibitor Journey: Why Show Organizers Must Create Value

By Adam Jones, Adrienne Sergeant and Sunil Patel

AT A GLANCE

  • Why the exhibitor journey is important
  • What exhibitors need
  • How to keep exhibitors coming back to your show
Exhibiting at a trade show is no minor undertaking.

Exhibitors spend countless hours designing their booths and coordinating travel. They fill out stacks of forms and make arrangements with local vendors. They watch their budgets strain at the seams as they pay to reserve space, build booths, and secure sponsorship opportunities.

After all of this planning, show organizers worry that the exhibitors will decide, “This just wasn’t worth it.”

Nurturing the exhibitor relationship

For these show organizers, the journeys their exhibitors take to the show floor, and the questions they ask along the way, are critically important. Revenue from exhibit sales represents well over half the total revenue of the average event. And sponsorship sales account for another 14 percent.

Show organizers don’t merely want to sell exhibit space. They want to help their exhibitors achieve their goals. They also want the event experience to be pain-free and the benefits of exhibiting to be clear.

In short, show organizers want their exhibitors to return year after year, increasing their investments as they do.

But when exhibitors get buried under the minutiae of preparing for an event, it takes a massive ROI to make up for the extra work and frustration, making it all the more tempting for exhibitors to look elsewhere for lower-hanging fruit.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Show organizers now have access to exciting new digital tools that transform the exhibitor journey into a seamless, effortless experience. Organizers can help exhibitors spend their budget more efficiently, save them time and effort when handling logistics, and gain more time to connect with leads and raise their brand awareness.

What is the exhibitor journey? And what do exhibitors need from start to finish? Join us as we explore the exhibitor journey in detail, including:

  • The specific needs of exhibitors
  • The challenges exhibitors face
  • The solutions you can tap into to help with those challenges
  • How to bring it all together to make the exhibiting process smooth, seamless, and successful.
The exhibitor journey and exhibitor needs

For an event exhibitor, the journey usually goes something like this:

  • The exhibitor decides to exhibit at a particular show or event. This decision could be spurred by familiarity (repeat business) or by seeing a new opportunity to reach a desired audience.
  • The exhibitor talks to an event sales rep and selects a booth space.
  • They make arrangements for the furnishings and equipment needed for their booth.
  • They consider sponsorship options.
  • Prior to the show, they may devise marketing efforts to attract more attendees to the booth.
  • They set up their booth and then manage it during the event.
  • They pack up their exhibit and materials, and complete any necessary paperwork.
  • After the show, they conduct follow-ups, and engage in post-show marketing to nurture any leads gained.

It seems fairly straightforward, but there are numerous logistical challenges that exhibitors face throughout the journey. These challenges can take valuable time away from the exhibitor’s focus on strategy and business goals:

  • Is this booth going to be in a good spot? Will I get a lot of footfall? How close is it to competitors?
  • What equipment/furnishings will fit in this booth? What are the options? What happens if we need to make changes?
  • Where in the facility will my sponsorship appear? Is it a high-traffic area? Will it be close to my booth? How will we measure the effectiveness of the sponsorship?
  • Can I get extra equipment or furnishings mid-show? What happens if we need a cleanup or a replacement item?
  • What are the procedures for tear-down? What if I need to leave before my shipment is on the truck? Who can I talk to for help?

All these questions lead back to two things that exhibitors need:

  • For the event to be worth their investment.
  • For the event to be a smooth and seamless experience.

If show organizers can meet both of those needs, exhibitors will gladly return.

Read next

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Best Practices for Supporting Trade Show Exhibitors: Part Four

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