To grow your exhibition you need increases in attendance rates from both attendees and exhibitors. If you increase the amount of quality attendees to your exhibition you are guaranteeing exhibition success for yourself and your exhibitors. Below are some tips on how to increase attendance to your exhibition.
- Use social media to increase the exhibition awareness. A great example of how this is done is organisers of the Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo, who share pictures/stories on the exhibitors that attend their shows. This gives them unlimited content to share, and gives a great insight into who will be exhibiting and what products they'll be offering. The great thing about this method is that the audience you are targeting can get a great sense of what to expect from your exhibition. There are many other organisers who follow this tip, and it is really effective.
- Offer incentives or deals to attendees. This could be in the form of discounted tickets, potential prizes and give-away's. The offer or incentive needs to be related to the theme of the exhibition so that the right audience will attend the exhibition, but with increased attendee rates will follow increased exhibitor attendance.
- Prepare an inclusive marketing strategy with your exhibitors and be prepared to reward exhibitors for participation. Inviting your exhibitors to share in the marketing of the exhibition will also make them feel valued and included. Exhibitors will have a large data base of potential customers for their products. It is always better if you can work together with your exhibitors to increase your exhibition attendance, rather than bearing the responsibility of increasing attendance rates on your own.
- Be aware of new technology that can help streamline current processes that involve attendees and will help your exhibitors succeed. There may be faster ways for your exhibitors to obtain attendee details, or if there are great technological additions that exhibitors can use to attract more attendees to their exhibition space. The decisions that you make as an organiser can drastically affect the success of your exhibitors and the satisfaction of attendees visiting your exhibition.
- Ensure that exhibitors take advantage of the entire exhibition experience. If you provide literature or events for the exhibitors to be able to interact with each other this can help the exhibitors feel included and like you really care about their exhibiting needs. This in turn will mean that the exhibitors will want to let everyone know about your exhibition, and will increase your attendance rates. It will also attract other exhibitors, who will bring a whole new attendee audience with them.
- Set up a community network for those involved in your exhibition. Help exhibitors and attendees interact and create a great environment where people want to be. This could involve meet and greets, or mini-conferences or talks during the exhibition. Educational talks are always a great option to bring exhibitors and attendees together and provide a space they can interact without buying pressure.
- Listen to your exhibitor and attendee feedback! Ask the tough questions and understand what your exhibitors and attendees really thought of the event. Following the feedback, prepare a plan for the future. Sometimes things will go wrong. Maybe your marketing strategy didn’t work and the attendance rate for an exhibition was low. Do your exhibitors like the service provided by the main supplier? If your exhibitors voice concerns, you need to address them. It may seem inconvenient to change suppliers or re-evaluate your marketing strategy, but keeping the exhibitors satisfied will ensure that more exhibitors and attendees attend the exhibition. People always want to feel heard, the best way to do that is to actually listen to them and act on their concerns.
Exhibitor attendance is crucial to the survival of exhibitions and events. Their satisfaction will dictate the lifespan of your exhibition and so it is imperative that they want to exhibit at your show. Incorporating these steps into your exhibition plan will increase your exhibitor performance and attendance rates and ensure your exhibition is successful for many years.