• November 23, 2018
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5 COMMON CHALLENGES EXHIBITORS FACE

Once upon a time, trade shows, live conferences, and massive events with thousands of attendees used to be common. Many of them are still alive and thriving, and they may stay relevant for years more, but a general shift towards online platforms is making several things redundant.

Apart from five of the common challenges that exhibitors face, adapting to this major shift in trends and how we do things is a serious hurdle that exhibitors need to overcome. Exhibitors need to find the correct balance between live events and online exhibition: One needs physical booths, adequate staffing, and hunting great places in a venue with maximum footfall and exposure. The other needs the right content, strategies to attract visitors/attendees that are participating in the conference/exhibition online, and ensuring maximum engagement.

While this may sound challenging and a difficult situation to adapt to, it also presents a unique opportunity to you, exhibitors. Instead of limiting yourself to one, diminishing arena (physical conferences and exhibitions) just because you are experienced in it, you can start participating and showcasing your skillset in virtual conferences as well.

It might take some time to translate your modus operandi of running a physical booth into manning an online exhibition, but you will have access to a much larger audience pool since you will be able to connect with both types: those who still prefer the old-fashioned way of organizing and attending conferences, seminars, and live events. And those who have switched over to webinars and online conferences.

But there is no getting around the fact that this is a difficult balance to keep, especially if you are doing it on your own, and you haven’t found the right platform.

And that’s where People Connect comes in – A platform designed specifically to connect all the relevant stakeholders of a conference, a seminar, or an exhibition, whether online or offline. Apart from providing exhibitors access to a much larger pool of consumers and other stakeholders (businesses, organizations, venue vendors, professional speakers) than you are unlikely to find anywhere else, People Connect can help you overcome common exhibitor challenges.

Five Common Challenges That Exhibitors Face

The common exhibitor challenges usually arise in physical conferences and seminars. These challenges can be overcome in their native arena with the right guidance and resources, or you can avoid them by going online.

1. Logistics

You can plan your event perfectly, but no one can plan for every eventuality. Successful onsite logistics require that you take everything necessary to the venue, but even then, some mishaps are common. Many of them arise because of miscommunication between venue managers and exhibitors, which usually entails what the exhibitors have to bring over and what would be provided at the venue.

Unsurprisingly, the people who are best-equipped to help you overcome your logistics challenges, and provide you items/resources that you need but couldn’t or didn’t bring, are venue vendors. But they are stretched very thin when the actual event is happening, and are bogged down by many similar requests.

Solution: A good way to get around it is to decide upon a course of action with the venue vendor beforehand, in case you need logistical support. Instead of leaving your booth unmanned to trace down the vendor, you can send them a message. A better solution would be an app that allows you to lodge your request, which can automatically be sorted by urgency, and make it easier for the organizers to solve issues of multiple exhibitors at once.

In an online conference, you usually don’t have logistics issues. Most likely, you will be hosting your online exhibition from your office in an online venue. And you will have access to all available resources. It also cuts down the cost to a mere fraction.

2. Branding

Generic booths don’t attract a lot of attention, and especially designed, custom booths that exhibit the particular theme of the businesses and organizations you represent, are very cost-intensive. And you may or may not be able to use those costly behemoths in other events. You can also rent a booth, but if it’s too generic, you are stuck with problem number one.

Solution: One solution to this problem is a hybrid of two: Custom and rental booths. If the booth assembling and dismantling staff at the venue are proficient enough (something you can ask from the venue vendor when you connect with them through People Connect), you can get some custom parts that can be installed on a generic booth for efficient branding. It would be significantly cheaper than getting a custom booth made, and will help you exhibit the brand image properly.

Branding can be taken to a whole different level in e-conferences and webinars.

3. Manning The Booth

The booth cannot be left unmanned, and it cannot and shouldn’t be manned by someone who cannot represent the business effectively. Generic sales-people and on-demand staff that exhibitors sometimes need to hire when they are short-staffed, often end up driving prospects away, rather than reeling them in. And even if you use the inept people to create a personnel funnel to draw in prospects (with most competent people, usually exhibitors themselves, at the bottom), the wrong person can bring the effectiveness of a booth down.

Solution: Finding the right people, and that’s something People Connect was created to do. With access to a number of different professionals and other exhibitors, you can ensure that you have the perfect candidates for manning the booth.

For e-conferences and webinars, manning the booth usually means face-timing prospects on Zoom or another conferencing software. But you can call-in your full team to man the virtual booths, even those who couldn’t travel to or attend a physical conference due to geographical constraints.

4. Budgeting

It’s far too common to overspend in an exhibition. You might pay extra to snag a lucrative spot on the venue or spend a fortune on a custom booth. But if you can’t reel in enough prospects or instigate enough conversions, the extra cost can’t be justified.

Solution: It’s imperative that you stay within your budget, and try to get the best possible results within your means. If you have a spot that’s tucked away out of sight, instead of paying extra for a better spot, you can make your team members either mingle with the audience or build up signs that can help funnel more traffic towards your booth.

Budgeting is usually not a problem with online exhibitions since you know outright how much you will spend, and you will not incur any additional expenses, that’s common with physical conferences and events.

5. Results

This is undoubtedly the most challenging issue that exhibitors face. The booth design, right people to man the booth, perfect logistic planning, and incentives, all lead up the results. If you manage to attract enough prospects and achieve maximum conversion or even maximize brand exposure (if that was what you were going for) than all exhibition costs seem justifiable.

Solution: Choose a venue location with most footfall, build an attractive booth, and have it manned by well-trained, well-mannered individuals who are savvy enough to distinguish between actual prospects and browsers. If you offer an incentive, make sure it’s something that directly relates to the business you are representing. Otherwise, the interest you build will be more towards the gift and won’t add exposure or awareness about the business.

It’s similar for e-conferences, but the cost per conversion is significantly lower, and you mostly only have to deal with serious prospects.

Conclusion

People Connect is on its way to becoming one of the most well-populated platforms of its kind. One of the reasons behind it is that we try to add value to all our stakeholders and platform users. Exhibitors are currently one of the most affected entities in a world which are rapidly switching from live events and conferences to e-conferences and webinars, and we aim to help exhibitors with this transition. So if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on People Connect.

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