In our last article, we covered the basics on picking the right trade show booth. However, one question to keep in mind when attending your next show is whether or not you need a booth space at all. Having a booth space at every show isn’t always the best use of your company’s resources and show budget. Sometimes you can make a bigger impact without the physical space at all.
This article discusses 3 alternatives to buying your own booth space at your next trade show.
1. Sponsor a station – Many shows offer a charging station or gourmet café station sponsorship. You can work with the show organizers to brand the space and, ideally, have seating area nearby where your show staff can talk to attendees and where you can leave printed collateral swag. Good coffee is always in short supply at tradeshows and it’s often a hassle to go out and get good coffee since there usually isn’t much near convention centers. A gourmet coffee station is a great draw for attendees and if you create a comfortable space nearby where attendees can sit and enjoy their coffee, they’ll often spend a longer amount of time in conversation with you while they’re waiting in line or while their enjoying their beverage.
These special sponsorships often include set up and tear down of the space with your sponsorship, which can be important if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your own booth or you don’t want to hire contractors at another high price point to set up the space for you.
2. Sponsor an item – Maybe you’ve decided a traditional booth space is not for you at your next show because a physical space on the show floor just doesn’t make sense for your show goals or perhaps you just want a private VIP meeting space where you can host one-on-one meetings that isn’t accessible to the general public. Regardless of not having a physical space, there are still other ways to make a big splash at these shows to ensure all attendees are aware of your presence and to give you that ‘big shot’ look and feel.
Sponsorships that offer high visibility are great for achieving this goal. One example would be a lanyard sponsorship. Every single attendee at the show has to wear a badge to get into any speaking sessions or the show floor and if you brand the show’s lanyards that means every single show attendee has to wear your logo around their neck. If the lanyard sponsorship is already taken or that’s just not your thing, you can sometimes work with the show organizers to create a brand new sponsorship that gets your name/logo out to the show attendees in a big way. Creating something new and exciting that attendees haven’t seen before and breaking through the status quo is the perfect way to get your brand out there and for attendees to approach you in conversation and for attendees to remember you post show.
3. Branded events – Another idea as an alternative to show floor space or even as a supplement to your booth space, is hosting a branded event, such as a cocktail party. Industry shows often have a work hard, play hard mentality and plus you’re stuck in a convention center anywhere from 8-12 hours a day, most likely in some random city away from your friends and family so attendees feel they can at least have a little fun in the evenings and get in some good networking.
Large scale post show cocktail parties and small, intimate, VIP cocktail or dining events are great ways to create a fun and welcoming environment to attract show attendees and give you time to network while still creating a branded environment to host your shows message and promote your show strategy.