I was in Orlando last week at InfoComm and it was very busy. A good sign. And I think for most of the trade shows I’ve worked at in the past six-to-eight months, there is a renewed enthusiasm and more positive attitudes on the parts of both attendees and exhibitors. InfoComm was consistently crowded and attendees seemed to be in a buying mood. Some of this is probably some pent-up demand but I think buying budgets are loosening up too.
One issue my InfoComm client had was too small of a booth and not enough exhibit staff. This happened, I think, for two reasons. First, booth size and number of exhibit staff personnel could be lagging an up-swing in trade show attendance. Second, if you base your booth size and staffing levels solely on revenue generation from the previous year’s show, as my client did, you might not be considering all the relevant factors. Yes, lead-to-sales and ROI are important factors but trade shows are about sales and marketing. You have to consider the marketing impact when exhibiting like relationship building, awareness, and the visitors’ experience (if the booth is too busy because it’s too small and understaffed, the visitor experience can suffer).
And over the past few years, a number of my clients cut their trade show expenses by cutting out shifts and having their exhibit staff work all of the hours their booths were open. This was the case with my client at InfoComm. The result? The staff was burning out and they had no time to walk the show floor – an under appreciated benefit for any exhibit staff. I advised them to consider going back to working their staff in shifts even though it would double their staffing costs – I think it’s worth it.