Take 10 - Invigorate Your Large Events!

May 13, 2014

1. Would a hub-and-spoke design work with table top or only with pipe and drape?
A hub-and-spoke design could be used effectively with table displays or traditional 10x10 spaces delineated by pipe and drape. The trick is to create pods of exhibitors along the spokes that make sense for attendee engagement, so all in the same sector perhaps, or a good mix of large and small, or those representing a cohesive supply chain.

2. I like the mentoring idea among the different generations. How do you suggest to do this at an association conference?
Association conferences must recognize that younger generations want to be included and want recognition. Perhaps your young professionals could staff a counter to provide assistance in learning social media tools to more experienced members, or maybe they are included as a panel in your conference to discuss how pertinent industry issues are perceived by the under-30 set.

3. In the future, I would love to have a session dedicated to experiential marketing at events. Loved the example of the elephants as an example. Thank you!
If there are elephants in the room, it's always an experience!

4. Is the labyrinth layout kind of like the Ikea model?
A labyrinth layout like Ikea could pose headaches when it comes to fire marshal approval, but certainly that Ikea philosophy of telling the story visually as shoppers move through home, office and yard spaces could be applied to your show. Be purposeful in your spatial design.

5. Do you have any ideas on how you can break up while also maximize revenue? When I see the 45-degree angles it means diminished booth locations to me.
Corporate exhibitors seem ripe for rethinking their exhibit spaces to create meaningful experiences rather than showing off rectangular counters, graphics and tables, so creating angled booths by having diagonal aisles on your trade show floor could play right into their plans. Triangular booths, diamonds, rhombuses ... who knows what shapes may appear as we all focus on the experiences we are creating?

6. To your point... I just found out about this webcast from a colleague who shared the link through Basecamp.
So many tools are available online to connect to colleagues, enhance our communities and find new learning opportunities. That in and of itself is the challenge for meeting planners and trade show organizers!

7. We have tried to get exhibitors and attendees involved in a social media campaign at an event with little success. What do you suggest for motivating individuals to "join the conversation" on social media during our event?
Social media is not meant to be a one-and-done campaign during an event. The best results come when organizations use social media tools as part of their normal, everyday communications strategies. That said, events and exhibitions present great conversation starters, as they provide a community with a common experience. To get attendees and exhibitors involved, be sure you are using a platform where many of them already have accounts, make it easy to participate, and encourage them to get involved by offering them opportunities to look "smart, interesting or sexy." Also, remember I talked about prizes being a motivator. Social media is a great tie-in to gaming, and prizes and fun soon follow.

8. What are your thoughts around having an area within the exhibit hall that is open and dedicated to presentations?
I am a HUGE fan of having educational presentations on the tradeshow floor. These can be free, paid, a mix of exhibitors, conference speakers, attendees stumping, whatever works for your group. The biggest thing to remember is to keep them SHORT. If you trap attendees in a presentation zone for an hour, exhibitors will not be happy. With short bursts of education, attendees sit for a spell, shop the show floor, sit for another 10 minutes, shop, rinse and repeat. The crowds thus constantly shift, and traffic movement is visible to your exhibitors.

9. Doesn't creating diagonal aisles cost more?
Your floor plan designer can help you maximize the sellable space within the floor plan by creating endcaps and booths with angles. While you are rethinking your floor plan also rethink the idea that all booths need to be squares and rectangles. When selling, play up idea that exhibitor in a triangle will attract notice!

10. What about the actual diagonal aisles?
Certainly there are costs related to the diagonal aisles. For your contractor, they will need to cut aisle carpet at angles, which diminishes the ability to reuse it. Alternatively, they will need to lay the diagonal on top of the cross-aisle carpet, which also may show up on your invoice. Be sure to communicate your objectives in creating such a floor plan and work with your contractor as a partner to minimize costs on both sides while staying true to your end goal of boosting the attendee experience.


11. What do you think of iBeacons?
Like many in the events world, I am learning about iBeacons and seeing how they can help us do our jobs more effectively with personalized messaging and experiences. I read for insight on iBeacons, and rely on publications like MeetingsFocus to show the Case Studies. I do believe the Millennial generation is both more demanding of personalized content and more excepting of any perceived privacy intrusion. But it has to be purposeful content, regardless of age!

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About the author
Dana Freker Doody