Trade shows can be long days for everyone involved including attendees, but with the addition of one or more interactive elements, your booth transforms into a welcome surprise for visitors, involving them in the experience.
By adding some hands-on interaction to your exhibit, you can achieve:
- Better attendance at sessions, even during low-traffic times
- Increased engagement with your booth staffers
- Improved networking connections and possible leads
- Boosted social media presence when attendees use hashtags and tweets
- An overall enhanced experience for everyone
There are limitless ways to introduce interaction to your booth – as boundless as the creative mind – but here are some of the easiest, most budget-friendly ways to quickly initiate some cooperative play within your exhibit.
SELF-SERVICE. One fast draw to rope folks toward your booth is to offer any number of self-service items that they can drop by and take advantage of. For example, smartphone charging centers and free WiFi for attendees to use are guaranteed to attract conference-goers. You could even put a QR code on or near the charging station with information about your products or service or with a fun game to play that reveals the information. Another popular idea is to house a water refilling station that thirsty attendees will inevitably visit or a candy “bar” for those with a sweet tooth or needing a pick-me-up.
VIRTUAL REALITY. VR helps you immerse your guests in a live experience unlike any other. Since people are eager to try new technology and most have heard of VR (but perhaps have not had the chance to try it), offering such an out-of-the-box experience will entice quite the gathering to your booth. VR headsets are easily attainable and all you have to do is find the content that will fit with your branding by either designing something that lets people use your product or, if your product isn’t conducive to an exciting VR experience, use it to reinforce your brand. If that’s too much of a stretch, just rent a ready-made experience. Guests will love it!
VENDING MACHINES. This one can be self-service, but it can also be the hub of your booth. With a vending machine – that you’ve built yourself or rented – the possibilities are endless. You can vend
- product samples
- questions to be answered for a prize
- a fun or quirky social media challenge
- survey questions
- Magic 8 Ball responses
- other prizes
INTERACTIVE FLOORING. Remember the piano mat in the movie Big? Even though it’s an oldie, it’s a goodie. I’ve seen it replicated over and over at trade shows and you know why? People can’t resist pausing and playing with it. Sometimes the simple ideas are the best! The more senses you engage, the better -- lighting, sound, vibration, color. Another upside to interactive flooring is that it might just catch people’s attention more quickly because most of us are already staring toward the floor because of ANOTHER interactive piece of technology we carry around with us.
INTERACTIVE WALLS. This is the same idea as the interactive flooring, but it gets the fun up off the floor and onto the verticals of your booth. It invites participation and cooperation. Your interactive wall could be brand-related or simply for fun. Wall Tetris, anyone? And if you want to keep them checking back in to your booth all day long, have a leaderboard posted.
GAMIFICATION. Compelling and engaging, gamification is one of the best ways to create active participation in your booth. Playing games is a light-hearted, risk-free way to encourage your message to attendees while involving them and incentivizing them. Like video games, gamification had that irresistible quality – instant gratification, friendly competition, a sense of accomplishment, and goal completion. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how to incorporate gamification at your next show:
- Integrate QR codes for game access for a trendy upgrade in your booth
- Ask questions or have challenges related to your booth presence
- Host a virtual scavenger hunt in your booth or the entire event hall
- Copy or nod to retro video games like Tetris, Pacman, or (my fave) Centipede
- • Have a leaderboard to encourage time in booth, revisits, and networking
Make prizes relevant to your brand in some way to make you more memorable and to make the experience cohesive
KARAOKE. Singalongs have been favorites forever, but with the popularity of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, the entertainment value has skyrocketed. Additionally, karaoke can be as fancy and upscale as you want – green screen and professional video – or as simple as you want – a singalong machine with microphone at the side of the booth.
Research shows that 87% of people have some kinesthetic, or hands-on, preference to their daily experiences and especially in learning. In other words, they’d rather DO than be TOLD. Why not take this knowledge and use it in your booth to your best advantage and your visitors’ enjoyment?