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What to Look For at Trade Shows in 2019: Our Predictions

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Freeman®
Freeman®

Our outlook on the immediate future of the trade show

Trade show organizers are tasked with an enormous responsibility — creating valuable, personalized experiences that immerse attendees straight in the center of the story. But staying one step ahead of delivering an amazing experience can be a challenge. That's why it's key to take a look at the trends and tools that are shaping the face of the industry in the year to come.

The experts at Freeman got together to discuss where they see trade shows going in 2019. Be sure to read all the way to the end, where you'll be able to tell us which trade show trend you think will be the winner in the next year.

Evolving event formats

  • Exploratory attendee journeys

John Kluh, Senior Business Development Manager
Marissa Rotellini, CEM, Client Solutions Manager
Ericka Loomis, Senior Client Solutions Manager

Shows are looking to differentiate their offerings, bringing in vendors and exhibitors but creating a nontraditional exploratory environment with an emphasis on one-on-one experiences and more private, face-to-face networking. These shows will feature more networking lounges, unique activations, and quality one-on-one time that is more about building relationships than making transactions.

  • Individualized interaction and education

Susan Haning, CEM, CMP Director Business Development
Brian Manoogian, Senior Vice President
Marissa Rotellini, CEM, Client Solutions Manager

People no longer want to attend a meeting merely to sit for long periods of time and be lectured. Sessions that involve interaction in smaller groups are more beneficial to their learning and resonate more with their needs. Attendees enjoy learning on their time and gathering only the content they need, so silent lectures where people can pop in and out of meetings to listen in are becoming more popular.

How tech is shaping the face of events

  • Projection is popping up

Brian Manoogian, Senior Vice President
Marissa Rotellini, CEM, Client Solutions Manager
Ericka Loomis, Senior Client Solutions Manager
Kristina Hennessey, Client Solutions Manager
Amy Stalknecht, Assistant Director Client Solutions

Events are moving away from static signage and clings to projection in order to create WOW moments for attendees. Projection is a cost-effective approach for large format walls, adding more engaging content and creating opportunities to generate revenue and offset costs with sponsorship opportunities — even on the fly.

  • Facilities of the future

Meg Parks, Senior Client Solutions Manager

Facilities are starting to put plasmas and LEDs up in place of large blank walls to take advantage of what digital signage can offer. It's an opportunity for them to offer more value to trade show organizers, and for them to make additional revenue.

Changing up the show floor

  • Getting away from the grid

Amy Stalknecht, Assistant Director Client Solutions
Brian Manoogian, Senior Vice President

Trade shows are planning around “different” floorplans, far different from the standard aisles people are used to seeing. Along these lines are different set ups for various areas like soft seating, standing areas, and charging lounges sections instead of theater and classrooms.

  • Exhibitors are getting interactive

Marissa Rotellini, CEM, Client Solutions Manager

Face-to-face networking will never go away. However, the days of traditional booths are changing and becoming more interactive and focused on relationships. Booths will become an interactive area with "face-time" pods for exhibitors and attendees to have meetings. For those who do not want to travel in and have a booth, this is a way to keep them involved as an exhibitor.

  • Savvy booth spaces

Amy Stalknecht, Assistant Director Client Solutions
Kristina Hennessey, Client Solutions Manager

Many exhibitors are interested in getting creative with their booths to incorporate technology in new ways. Not only does this help increase engagement, but it can help make their exhibits lighter in weight to reduce material handling charges.

Exhibitors are ordering blank exhibits to take advantage of technology like projection to utilize more graphics without cost of production. There is a focus on reusability and sustainability in as much exhibit material as possible, which is becoming more and more important to exhibitors and attendees alike.

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