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The Exhibitor Journey: Overcoming Exhibitor Challenges

By Adam Jones, Adrienne Sergeant and Sunil Patel


  • Discover three common challenges exhibitors face
  • Learn about the digital solutions that can solve those challenges

Missed the first two parts of this series? Get caught up on everything you need to know about the exhibitor journey and what exhibitors need.

Exhibitors know that a trade show booth can deliver tremendous value to their brand. But the journey to exhibiting at an event can be stressful and challenging.

How can show managers help? By walking in their shoes. Truly understanding what exhibitors need helps organizers tap into tools and solutions that help exhibitors overcome challenges — going that extra mile leads to a more prosperous experience for all.

The Exhibitor’s Challenges… and the Show Manager's Solutions

For exhibitors, ROI and a seamless experience are two sides of the same coin.

If exhibitors can get the nuts and bolts of the event handled quickly and easily, it gives them more time and resources for creating deep and lasting connections with new leads and existing customers.

Conversely, if an exhibitor has to chase down event staff mid-show for a booth cleanup or an extra chair, that's precious (and finite) time taken away from talking to people, which could result in missed opportunities.

The more time and energy exhibitors save on event logistics, the more they have to spend on high-ROI activities like talking to new leads.

Fortunately, there are now exciting new technologies that make it much easier for show managers to give exhibitors exactly what they want: a seamless event experience that results in a strong ROI. These trailblazing digital tools allow show managers to help exhibitors achieve their event goals by making it easier to:

  • Plan and select a booth space.
  • Get data on potential footfall and leads.
  • Purchase sponsorships.
  • Stay on track with their event preparation.
  • Manage booth and exhibitor services.

Here are some of the challenges exhibitors face along the exhibitor journey, and how these new tools can help.

The Challenge: Selecting and Buying a Booth Location

The traditional process for creating and managing floor plans is tedious for both show managers and exhibitors.

Typically, show managers make all changes manually and distribute the layouts via physical printouts or PDF files. Every time an update is needed, organizers must revise the plan, reprint the layout, and redistribute it to exhibitors, vendors, and other stakeholders. Delays, mistakes, and double-bookings are common.

From the exhibitor perspective, choosing a location for a booth has always been somewhat of a gamble.

Exhibitors typically don’t have the visibility to see if their first-choice location has already been claimed, let alone how much foot traffic they can expect and where their competitors’ booths are located.

This traditional method of floor planning also offers exhibitors no insight into whether attendees are interested in visiting their booths, and if so, who these attendees are.

All these factors make ROI very difficult to predict.

The Solution: An Interactive, Centralized, Live Floor Plan

When organizers use digital floor plans, exhibitors can select their locations with confidence. Questions about foot traffic become less mysterious.

If the digital floor plan application has real-time floor plan updates, it can take much of the unpredictability out of events for exhibitors and organizers. And if attendees are provided with real-time floor plan access, they can plan ahead, ensuring they don’t miss out on the booths they’re most interested in.

Plus, attendees can bookmark those booths, giving exhibitors and organizers valuable data on potential footfall, as well as leads who are qualified before the show even begins.

New tools like Blueprint by Freeman™ take the event floor plan out of the cumbersome world of paper and printing and into the real-time digital realm.

The Challenge: Choosing Sponsorship Opportunities

After exhibitors reserve their booth space, the next question is whether they want to purchase a sponsorship and, if they do, what aspect of the show to sponsor.

Brands want sponsorships that provide a high value. For example, if the exhibitor’s booth is in Hall 1, a sponsor banner hanging in Hall 8 creates little impact.

Typically, it’s been difficult for brands to anticipate the value of a sponsorship opportunity. Flat PDFs, emails, or conversations with a sales representative don’t necessarily capture how visible a sponsorship placement will be or who will see it.

Sometimes, brands purchase a sponsorship only to be unpleasantly surprised to see what they’ve purchased.

The Solution: Digital Access to Sponsorship Opportunities

New digital tools exist that allow exhibitors to take a virtual tour of sponsorship areas.

With tools such as Envision Pro by Freeman™, it becomes much easier for exhibitors to pick a sponsorship opportunity that is best positioned to their advantage. Solutions that offer real-time updating also allow both exhibitors and show organizers to quickly see which sponsorship opportunities are still available. This tool can save exhibitors from the frustration of selecting the perfect spot, only to find out it’s already spoken for.

The Challenge: Smoothing Over Logistics — Before, During, and After the Event

Frequent exhibitors know that, on show day, something almost always goes wrong.

They may find themselves lacking an extension cord. Or someone will spill something. Or the CEO will make a surprise appearance and need a stool to sit on. When random misfortune strikes, it becomes a scramble to fix the problem. Show organizers and their teams are the best sources of help, but during an event, they’re pulled in countless directions.

Exhibitors lose valuable time hunting down assistance — time that could be better spent with leads.

The Solution: One-Stop Event Shopping

An online exhibitor portal can be a lifesaver during an event, both for the exhibitor and the show organizer.

Instead of an exhibitor having to leave their booth to track down assistance from a harried organizer, they can easily use a mobile application to submit their service request and track its status.

Some exhibitor portals, such as FreemanOnline, also help guide exhibitors through the booth set-up and move-out processes, walking them through ordering furnishings, downloading forms, arranging shipping, and keeping track of important milestones.

These tools can do wonders for smoothing out the numerous administrative tasks that typically bog down even experienced exhibitors.

For the conclusion to this series on the exhibitor journey, jump to part four now!

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