Trade Show Details That Matter in 2023

August 30, 2023

De-de Mulligan

De-de Mulligan is a digital marketer, blogger and President of Mulligan Management Group, a full-service, boutique marketing agency. A former meeting planner who received the MPI Ohio Chapter’s Planner of the Year award in 2006 and 2012, she brings a unique perspective to her blog posts, including for You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

This year, there’s been a significant increase in the trade show activity. Show managers and exhibitors are busier than ever. However, the concerns of 2019 are still here this year, plus two more: security and sanitation.

During the event planning process, be sure to take a holistic approach. Here are some questions or insights to ponder. 

Overall Concerns for Show Managers

According to the UFI & Explori Global Visitor Insights report, managers need to address the following visitor pain points: 

  • Seating: Does the convention center have enough seating for attendees to rest or network with others? Is it spaced out enough for people to feel safe? 
  • Catering: Do you have food and beverages readily available, and what do attendees want?
  • Queuing: Are visitors experiencing long wait times to check in or visit specific exhibitors? If so, consider adding staff and implementing technology like digital billboards to display the itinerary or social media displays for real-time show updates. This will maximize the productivity of their waiting time. 
  • Parking: Does your location offer ample parking? Is it close to the convention hall? Do exhibitors receive a discounted parking rate? 
  • Quality of Exhibitors: Are you targeting specific companies or just taking anyone? Do you have a balance of exhibitors? 
  • Security: Are guards, metal detectors and security cameras within view? Will attendees always feel safe? 
  • Sanitation: Are plenty of sanitation stations with wipes and masks available? 

Exhibitor Proactive Approaches

Think Like an Attendee 

What attracts you to a booth? Can these ideas be implemented at your next trade show? If you aren’t sure about what you need, ask your customers, as they will fill you with ideas. 

The key: Map out the attendee’s journey while they are with you. What specific message or feeling do you want them to have? Reflect less about square footage and more about ways each attendee can connect with your company. 

Involve All Senses

  • Sight: Keep branded charging stations front and center to draw attendees into your booth. Use a living room approach to your design that will encourage attendees to rest on comfortable chairs and couches, addressing the lack of seating issue. Install pinpoint lighting and 3D projection mapping to draw attention to an area, message or product. 
  • Sound: This is a tricky one. Too much noise in your area may cause attendees to pass you by. Sound showers have been very successful, as they allow attendees and exhibitors to stand in a space tailored specifically to enable visitors to be heard within a controlled listening area.
  • Touch: People learn by doing. Giving attendees hands-on experiences through product demonstrations is the way to go. Using touchscreen monitors integrates uses that drive value and enhance audience engagement, such as video viewing, polling or gamification.
  • Smell: In a study reported in Harvard Business Review, imbuing pencils with the scent of tea tree oil dramatically increased research subjects’ ability to remember the pencil’s brand. Those given tea-tree-scented pencils experienced a decline of only 8% in remembering the company name versus a 73% decrease in unscented pencils.
  • Taste: Provide tasty samplings in your booths, such as chocolate, wine, coffee and doughnuts.

Be Data Privacy Conscious

With GDPR and California’s data privacy regulations, exhibitors must make way for opt-in and opt-out capabilities. In addition, due to several data breaches, individuals are more reticent to share personal data with companies or individuals they barely know. You can no longer count on show managers to share the listing of attendees with you without their consent. 

Tip: Share with attendees how you are planning on using their information. This shows a level of transparency they now demand. 


Implementing some of these changes will help sell out your trade show, make show managers’ jobs more manageable and help provide a memorable experience for exhibitors and attendees alike!

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Partner Voices
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