You’re headed to a convention in Miami, Chicago, Orlando, or Las Vegas. And like the thousands of other attendees, you’ll be attending classes, listening to speakers, and mingling with industry colleagues at receptions. But unlike them, you’re also an exhibitor. You’ll have a custom convention booth on the show floor, hoping to attract new customers and meet with existing ones.
If you’ve done this before, you know that simply “showing up and showing off” has limitations to ensuring a successful trade show. You need a plan that includes your booth design, graphics, pre and post-show marketing, and in-booth training. In addition, today’s trade show attendees want a memorable experience, which can be as simple as a fun, target game that educates and entertains them about your product or service. Or, it could be something more immersive, like augmented reality, a contest or competition, or having a celebrity pitching your company. Trade show attendees expect more in 2023. The convention booth design ideas better be spectacular, the graphics informative and amazing, and the experience in the booth space memorable!
Convention Booth Ideas to Help You Stand Out
Creativity + Strategy + Execution + a Realistic Budget = Success (most of the time). When it comes to convention booth ideas and trade show success, there are no guarantees. No sure thing… However, you can significantly increase your odds by treating it like an 8-year-old’s birthday party.
For anyone who has been brave enough to plan a birthday party for a child you know it takes planning, preparation, imagination, patience, and teamwork. Sure, you can send a few invitations, buy a supermarket birthday cake, and grab some hats and plates from Party City. It’s in theory a party, but the kids will be bored, the other parents will be more judgy than normal, and you’ll regret ever having a child (at least a little).
When it comes to great convention booth ideas, there’s no perfect solution, just as there’s no perfect 8-year-old birthday party. It’s a combination of things, including sincerity and effort. Start by doing what we all do when we need ideas, tap into the Internet. If you haven’t explored AI, take a few minutes to sign into ChatGPT or Bard. After that, ask for advice from colleagues, other exhibitors, and especially your exhibit house or display provider. They get asked these questions every day and they’ve often attended hundreds of trade shows. They’re as close to experts as you’re ever going to find. Which doesn’t mean, they’re always right. They’re simply more right than the company CFO who’s never been outside of Omaha.
Convention Display Ideas to Showcase Your Products
Showcasing your products at a trade show or convention has never been easier or more challenging. Exhibitors can tap into technology, lighting, and gamification to draw attendees into their booth and create memorable experiences. Whether you have a 10 ft. inline or a 40 x 60 ft. island, these tools are available to anyone who has the time, patience, planning, and budget to implement them. There’s no shortage of experts or resources available, but all require a well-defined strategy and time to develop. Examples include:
Interactive Technology. Interactive technology can be a great way to engage visitors and let them experience your product. Consider virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) to give visitors a virtual tour of your product or show them how it works in different settings. You could also use touchscreens or interactive games to let visitors try out your product or learn more about its features.
Themed Exhibit. A themed exhibit can create a more immersive and memorable experience for visitors. For example, if you sell outdoor gear, you could create a campsite or hiking trail theme. If you sell food products, you could create a kitchen or restaurant theme.
Live Demos. Live demos show visitors how your product works and allow attendees to ask questions. For example, if you sell gaming software, you could offer attendees to play the games on the show floor. If you sell construction hardware, you could demonstrate how your hardware solves problems on the job site.
Free Samples or Gifts. Admit it. You love free stuff! Giving away free samples or gifts is a great way to attract visitors to your booth and get them interested in your product. At Natural Products Expo West, sampling food is part of the reason for attending the show. Non-food exhibitors will often distribute branded gifts, such as pens, notebooks, or tote bags. For example, a chiropractor at a health fair gave attendees a branded pen with spine graphics and a slight “out of alignment” curve.
Contests or Giveaways. Creative contests and giveaways often generate a buzz on the show floor. However, make sure the contest or giveaway has a connection to your company or product. A drawing for a week vacation on the coast or Amazon gift cards may bring crowds to your booth, but they’re often not serious prospects for your company.
Here are some additional creative convention booth ideas:
Use Gamification. Gamification is the use of game design elements and principles in non-game contexts. Gamification can be a great way to engage visitors and make your trade show booth more fun and interactive. For example, you could create a game where visitors can earn points by completing different tasks, such as watching a product demo, answering a question, or signing up for your email list. Visitors can then redeem their points for prizes, such as free samples, gifts, or discounts.
Use Social Media. Social media can be a great way to promote your trade show booth and to engage with visitors before, during, and after the event. For example, you could create a hashtag for your trade show booth and encourage visitors to use it when sharing photos and videos on social media. You could also run social media contests and giveaways to generate excitement about your booth and your product.
Partner with Other Businesses. Partnering with other businesses at the trade show is a great way to cross-promote your products and services. For example, if you sell food products, you could partner with a beverage company to offer visitors free samples of your products together. Or, if you sell clothing, you could partner with an accessories company to offer visitors a complete look.
By thinking creatively, you can find ways to showcase your product at a trade show in a way that is both engaging and informative. This will help you to stand out from the competition and to attract more potential customers.
Perfecting Your Convention Table Setup
Start by thinking of your exhibit booth space as a store. After all, retail store and exhibition design are not all that different. In both, you’re creating a branded environment, considering traffic flow, and arranging products and services to maximize customer interaction and sales. With that in mind, here are some design concepts to consider:
Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach? What are their needs and wants? What kind of convention experience are they looking for?
Brand Identity: What is your brand’s image? What kind of atmosphere do you want to create in your store?
Product Selection: What products will you be selling? How will you display them?
Layout: How will you arrange the different areas of your store? How will customers move through the space?
Lighting: What kind of lighting will you use to create the desired atmosphere and highlight your products?
Signage: How will you use signage to direct customers around your store and promote your products?
Fixtures, Counters, and Furniture: What kind of fixtures and furnishings will you use to display your products and create a comfortable shopping experience for customers?
Technology: What kind of technology will you use in your store? For example, you may want to consider using point-of-sale systems, self-checkout kiosks, or digital signage.
Welcome Atmosphere. Customers should feel comfortable entering your booth. Use warm colors, soft lighting, and inviting furniture to create a positive experience.
Finally, your booth space should be both logical and easy to navigate both for guests and your staff. Booth spaces are always smaller than they appear in a rendering. It’s tempting to keep adding counters, furniture, or workstations, but resist that temptation. No one wants to enter or linger in a booth overflowing with people, products, or displays.
5 Real-World Examples of Convention Booth Designs
Being able to demonstrate their software solution to multiple attendees was a key part of this design layout. The individual custom kiosks with LED accent lighting and large video wall allows for an open and inviting space.
2. Pear Bureau Northwest
Looking for Wow!, the Pear Bureau Northwest needed a unique space to present their products and reflect their branding in every inch of the exhibit space. This design includes a custom modular pergola along with a giant inflatable pear to attract attendees from across the convention floor.
LaPanzanella wanted to showcase multiple products and brands in multiple configurations – from 10×40, 10×30, 10×20, and 10×10 inline designs. The exhibit design included large-format SEG fabric graphics, LED-lit product shelves, lots of accessible locking storage, high-end durable finishes, in-booth refrigeration, and open areas for attendees to meet and discover all the great products.
4. Kaufman Hall
New corporate branding dictated new graphics and displays for KaufmanHall with gentle curves and an inviting, relaxed environment for attendees. The design included two monitors, one for looping corporate video and the other for software demonstrations with potential clients.
Multiple meeting spaces, large graphic presence, and technology throughout gave Verity the ability to connect with show attendees at many levels. This design included backlit graphics, LED accents, charging tables, monitors, and multiple storage areas.
More Convention Booth Ideas from Exhibits NW!
Perhaps no sales environment is as hyper-competitive as a trade show. Your convention booth design and trade show strategy better be equally competitive to attract clients. At Exhibits Northwest, we specialize in crafting tailor-made trade show exhibits that perfectly represent your brand.
With over three decades of experience and a track record of thousands of successful custom projects, we know just how to make your custom trade show booth stand out from the crowd and attract attention. Our team of expert designers and fabricators will leverage the latest technology and materials to ensure every detail of your trade show display is on-brand, from the layout and foundation to the graphics and finishing touches.
Experience the Exhibits Northwest difference today!