As an event agency, your success is strongly tied to how many people attend your show. Whether you're running an exhibition or organising a conference, companies thinking about participating will look for an indication that they'll have plenty of customers within their reach.
How can you increase the appeal and attractiveness of your event to ensure visitors show up on the big day and return in the future?
Based on some of the leading trends in the industry, here are five ideas for a modern, engaging event that's sure to impress your attendees – and please your exhibitors:
1. Provide an experience, not a space.
Attendees increasingly look for an interactive experience, even at trade shows and exhibitions. In addition to setting the stage for companies to integrate interactive elements into their displays, make sure you're thinking about ways to provide a thrilling environment and on-site activities.
In its 2013 report on trade show trends, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) noted that organisers are placing greater emphasis on forging an experience to create a high-value marketing event. Technology plays a central role here, with the report highlighting elements such as large 3D screens, surround sound and social media platforms.
2. Offer free Wi-Fi and recharging stations.
With smartphones residing in just about everyone's pockets these days, your attendees are sure to appreciate the chance to tap into free Wi-Fi. According to eMarketer, 1.76 billion people will have smartphones by 2015, and Gartner declared that tablets are becoming a "mainstream phenomenon," with 195.4 million units sold in 2013.
Not only will free Wi-Fi increase the attractiveness of the show for attendees, it also opens the door to additional engagement opportunities. Event organiser and show exhibitors can provide cool apps, social media updates and other tools.
Similarly, offering stations for visitors to charge up their devices ensures they'll be able to keep participating in digital experiences. From live screen sharing to e-commerce catalogues, there are plenty of ways to incorporate tablets and mobile phones into your event, so help your attendees stay connected.
3. Remember the non-attendees, too.
Your interactive, tech-friendly event is sure to be an exciting occasion for attendees, but you shouldn't stop with them. IAEE pointed out that you can engage people virtually to expand your audience – and the potential customers for your exhibitors.
In fact, with a little technical ingenuity, you can significantly broaden the crowd at live presentations and send out tidbits to ramp up the hype around your show. It might even fuel attendance the next time around. As IAEE remarked, these strategies are redefining what we mean by "attendee" in the first place.