Trade Show Organizers: Are You Confusing Your Exhibitors?
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing about 4 major categories of “pain” or challenges that exhibitors experience when it comes to their trade show participation. General trade show anxiety, overwhelm about costs, the “busyness” of trade shows and their overall professional life, and confusion top the list. Trade show organizers need to do their best to provide valuable solutions to ease some of these challenges. In this blog, we’ll talk about some ways you may be confusing your exhibitors and how to minimize it.
Common Things That Are Confusing to Exhibitors
Exhibitor Service Manuals
Exhibitor service manuals are a necessary evil, some may say. Many exhibitors report that they are a bit of a “time-suck” requiring them to spend time sorting through what’s important and what’s not.
In our last blog, we talked about working with your general contractors to de-clutter and make your manual easier to navigate. Organizing it into accessible categories and a more “intuitive” way will help your exhibitors know where to look and for what.
If you’re working with a general contractor, perhaps you can up your game a little and provide organized, structured, easy to navigate and use show manuals.
Communication of Updates, Changes, to Service Orders or Procedures
The research also showed that communicating updates or changes to service orders and/or procedures is very confusing and stressful for exhibitors.
Imagine that you have a bazillion things on your plate already that you’re trying to balance, and then a barrage of emails comes in with a change to one of those bazillion things. It’s enough to make anyone crazy.
As the show organizer ask yourself these questions:
Are you working with a general services contractor that you feel you can count on?
Are THEY organized?
How often are they making changes?
Can you create a process or procedure for updates that is easier for your exhibitors to track?
These may seem like small concerns, but their impact is great over time. Do what you can to put yourself in your exhibitors shoes, and think about all the daily things they are up to PLUS their trade show responsibilities. It could drive a person crazy!
Additional Areas to Be Aware of That Pose Challenges for Exhibitors
The research* also shows that the following areas tend to stress exhibitors out:
- Points Systems
- Forms for Show Services
- Crates and Shipping
- Labor costs
- Services – Timeliness, Lack of Updates and Errors
- Placement on the Show Floor
- Information Handling
If you take a look at any of those above areas, are there ways that you (or your general contractor) can improve your exhibitors experience? Not everyone is going to be satisfied, however, making improvements that can help the overall masses is a smart investment for you and your exhibitors.
What did satisfied exhibitors have to say?
Exhibitors that expressed the highest levels of satisfaction worked with general contractors that:
- Provided a single point of contact at the show site and when ordering show services
- Visited them personally on the show floor to see how things were going.
- Tracked what they had done from year to year
- Made it easy to get help and retrieve information
- Gave them advice on how to save money and optimize their activities
- Flipped the tables so that service providers are rewarded for achieving efficiencies rather than perpetuating inefficiencies
Beyond working with a general contractor that can bring the above level of service, the study showed that organizers should do everything possible to:
- Understand exhibitor needs in the context of their entire professional life
- Treat exhibitors as business partners whose success is tied to their own
- Remove the information-tracking burden from exhibitors
- Reduce the number of times exhibitors have to re-enter data
- Eliminate unique or confusing requirements and systems (e.g., points)
- Model best practices from other industries and domains (e.g., e-commerce), especially when they set performance and transaction standards that exhibitors expect.
- Communicate precisely and appropriately
- Aim for transparency in terms of ordering, costs, billing, and status
- Consider everything they do with exhibitors in light of whether or not it is “human-centered,” rather than system-centered or process-centered
We strive to provide excellent experiences and the highest service levels for the organizers and exhibitors we work with. We’d love to be part of elevating your experience and your exhibitors satisfaction. Contact us today.