Creating Trade Show Booth Experiences

We learned the five senses in grade school: Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. Our daily interaction with the world involves using all of these perceptions working in concert to provide us with rich, layered experiences that help us engage with the people and objects around us. The same senses can and should be engaged to create trade show booth experiences that really WOW your audience.

When studies on sensory experiences started to emerge a decade or so ago, retailers were quick to understand the implications. From mood lighting to subtle perfumes to free testers, they tried everything in the game to bring in the crowds and boost sales. We’ve all smelled Cinnabons baking as we walked through the mall, right? It’s no accident; the air from their kitchens is pumped out into the mall to make you crave the gooey, sweet treats. Nowadays, it is a well-recognized maxim that carefully modulated environments can trigger nostalgia as well as curiosity, helping to draw crowds into stores, as well as to loosen the purse strings!

Smart trade show event planners create multi-sensory trade show booth experiences to keep trade show event participants engaged and entertained. Gone are the days of long, dull treks down an exhibit hall, or session after session filled with monotonous presentations. Exhibitions and meetings, where attendees are being offered a variety of new and engaging experiences, are breaking the mold and growing faster than their competition. Be it through creative lighting design, gourmet food services, interactive touch screens, gaming or guided tours, these initiatives are proving a big hit with attendees, especially those who crave new experiences when they return to an event!

Here are some our best ideas for creating trade show booth experiences:

  • Serve food or drinks. Ex. A popcorn cart triggers the senses and draws people in.
  • Handout a giveaway that is special to the local area. Ex. Chicago hot dogs at an event in Chicago.
  • Host a social media contest. Ex. post a picture of our booth on Linkedin for a chance to win.
  • Create a group art project. Ex. Add your handprint to our mural.
  • Host a caricature artist.
  • Mail a free postcard home. 
  • Organize a flash mob.
  • Feature an ice sculpture fountain. 

As an exhibitor, you can create a multi-sensory experience in your booth. Using displays with unexpected shapes accentuated by lighting in unexpected colors draws people in. Using an iPad Kiosk allows visitors to interact on their own terms. Take your cue from Cinnabon and Jimmy John’s by creating irresistible aromas.

Think about what show attendees are hearing. Aside from the background noise and activity on the show floor, they are probably also exposed to some sales pitches, either by a live person or looped on a DVD. And they are probably tuning out those sounds! Offer passers-by a pleasant, appealing sound to draw them in. Perhaps music, chirping birds or something totally unexpected. Make it something that leads their attention back to your product or service, in addition to rescuing them from the monotony of the aisles.

It’s all a part of experiential marketing; that is, drawing in your prospects to become part of the experience that is your brand. At Plum Grove, we love contributing to trade show experiences. Our team of marketing experts is available for brainstorming wacky, unusual and exceptional trade show booth experiences to help make your next event an unforgettable one.

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