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How to Use AV to Keep Attendees in Your Booth

on July 28, 2016

The average trade show attendee spends 8.3 hours meandering the exhibit hall floor. That may sound like a lot of time, but when you consider a mid-size trade show could have as many as 400 exhibitors—double that for larger shows—the fact become clear: Attendees won’t stick around one booth for too long. Unless, that is, you give them a good reason.Innovative companies eager to attract new clients should think beyond the typical booth backdrops and signage. As attendees become more and more selective with their conference time, making snap decisions about staying at an exhibit for more information or heading to the next setup, booth representatives need a visually appealing display to attract, capture—and keep—attendees’ attention. Every second counts, and AV technology can help companies make the most of their trade show experiences.

Keep the Latest AV Tech Trends in Mind

In the digital era, people naturally gravitate toward dynamic displays that stand out from their surroundings. Using the latest audio visual technology can improve your company’s ability to engage with attendees and make a lasting impression. Some of 2016’s top tradeshow AV tech trends include:

  • More technology—and usefulness—across the board. Companies of all sizes are utilizing more technology-enhanced displays as they become increasingly affordable and easier to set up. Brands see the value in using AV tech to engage visitors, keep them in the booth longer, and gain a competitive edge. The winning factor is technology that serves a purpose beyond “eye candy” and adds real value for attendees.
  • Relevant exhibits that inform while they entertain. Today’s businesses and consumers are increasingly savvy, which means they don’t fall for gimmicks. Playing Angry Birds on a 70-inch screen with gesture control won’t engage them for very long any more. Instead, consider how using interactive flooring, video displays, informational recordings, layered lighting, and personal device connectivity can differentiate your booth from its surroundings. 
  • Enhanced video walls/digital signage. Video walls with high resolution displays, including LED setups and 4K monitors, are gaining traction as displays that instantly captivate passersby.
  • Personalized presentations/interactive displays. Many companies deploy interactive kiosks, virtual reality, social media, and mobile connectivity at the booth to create a custom experience. Use interactive technology that relates to your offerings to form a unique, personal connection and let attendees take that connection with them when they leave with consistent mobile messaging that enhances their booth experience.
  • Today, exhibitors are using wearable device lanyards to improve data transfer. Instead of carrying a handful of fliers, attendees can tap their lanyards on a connected device and watch a presentation or read a brochure in the comfort of an office or their home. The information transfer works both ways. Booth employees can scan an attendees’ badge to collect their information—including email address, mailing address, and phone number—so the sales team can follow up after the show.

Engage Booth Visitors With These Tradeshow Tips

Tradeshow AV technology isn’t designed to replace company representatives or extraordinary content but to complement it and maximize a company’s reach. Use these actionable tips to enhance the digital experience and capture booth visitors’ attention:

  1. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. In the world of technology, hiccups are inevitable. All booth representatives need a basic understanding of the setup and the contact information for a technical specialist if something goes wrong during the show.
  1. Create a seamless brand story. The AV experience should complement the personal interaction taking place in the booth. Develop a singular message in the form of a compelling story to stand out in attendees’ minds. For example, walk attendees through someone’s journey of publishing a book (i.e., focus on the value) rather than providing a fact-heavy display. 
  1. Listen to what attendees say, and watch what they do. In a digitally interactive environment, some booth visitors want to talk to people, while others want to absorb the experience first. Listen actively, and respond using open-ended questions. 
  1. Use layered lighting to accent booth highlights. Bring visitors in with attention-grabbing visual displays and lights, and then subtly direct them to key areas with a strategic setup. Focus on logos, takeaways, new flagship products, and any other areas you want attendees to remember.
  1. Give attendees an experience. Blend entertainment into the experience to keep a visitor engaged. For instance, instead of showing a slideshow of images of an aquarium on a flat screen, turn the booth into a visual replica using sophisticated processors, projectors and display materials on the floors, walls, and ceiling to take visitors out of the event venue and into another environment. Take a page from theme park professionals and cast your booth workers as “tour guides” instead of “salespeople” or “brand representatives” to create a more inviting (and less sales-oriented) atmosphere.
  1. Remember that balance is key. Technology should never overshadow the message and make attendees say, “It was an attractive display, but what was the point?” Blend AV technology, personal connections, and your unique, yet consistent messaging to create a memorable and brand-specific experience.

At a tradeshow, exhibitors have a limited amount of time to attract and maintain attendees’ attention. A successful booth creates a meaningful experience that will create positive associations with your brand long after the flight home.

photo credit: BumpFestival-II via photopin (license)