Innovating Exhibit Floor Plans: Overcoming Objections for Enhanced Attendee-Exhibitor Interaction

So, the always awesome Sue Pelletier commented on my Wednesday Post about “Using Space Effectively” at your conference or meeting. That morning, I had been at the CMS Expo and the organizers put the sponsors/exhibitors in the hallway directly outside of the session rooms to increase the interaction between attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors.

Sue’s comment:

I’ve been to a few smaller shows that do this, and it’s brilliant. But how to get the same sort of interaction when you have hundreds of exhibitors? Nobody has hallways that long, do they?

That is an excellent point she has made…and a good question! If no one has always been that long, why not invent them using the rows of exhibitors you already have?

Although tongue in cheek, this would work for many shows (hint hint)….and in all fairness, this is not a new idea…

If you have a show with a bunch of exhibitors who are unhappy because the attendees do not give them a look, why not give it a go?

Common Objections to this plan:

  • Our Exhibitors will hate it (no, you do)
  • This is not the way that we do it (and that is working for you, is it?)
  • The Exhibitors won’t go for this (Really, a plan to increase traffic; you have got the pulse of your industry!)
  • It won’t work (yes, it will, for most smaller exhibit halls and even some larger ones)
  • The Attendees won’t walk all the way through (Yes, they will if you give them a good reason, and frankly, they don’t have a choice)
  • The Attendees will just avoid the space (make them walk through, make it special, make it cool, whatever happened to cool)
  • Nope, our show has island booths, and there are no islands (I didn’t say it would work for everyone; why not ditch the islands and go with a new plan? See the first three bullets)

So, without any more meaningless words, here is my vision for the new/old/new floor plan for exhibits!

A Map of an Exhibit Hall
Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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