Before the pandemic in 2020, event planners worldwide were already beginning to invest in exhibitor management software more and more, doing away from chaotically managing their shows with emails and spreadsheets. Fast forward midway through 2022, and projections are showing that the need for exhibitor management software has exponentially increased. What we’ve learned is that not only is enhanced technology for event management necessary to keep up with the demand, but it’s expected from exhibitors as well.
So what are the key features when looking for the right exhibitor management software for your event? The first prerequisite is investing in software that allows you to manage your entire expo with a single software. This means if you have one software to register your exhibitors, another software to manage the exhibitor floor plan, and another one to manage your finances, you need to rethink your strategy. Let’s take a look at the five necessary components before choosing an exhibitor management software that’s right for you.
In the past, it was common to register your attendees and exhibitors in the same software. The problem with this is that usually that software is meant primarily for attendee registration management, so any management of your exhibitors post registration is going to be isolated. On top of that, exhibitor registration is a much more unique process than simple attendees. The team that manages attendees is separate from the team that manages exhibitors, and so should their own software be.
Interactive Floor Plan
If you have an exhibitor floor plan, this is a no-brainer. Gone are the days of managing exhibitor booths with back and forth CAD exchanges on a PDF document. Most trade show managers today have adopted interactive floor plans as a part of their exhibitor management software. The problem still remains however, that this is usually used separately from other exhibitor management software.
Exhibitor Order Management
If you’re managing exhibitor registration, selling booths, sponsorships, and marketing opportunities, you obviously need to manage these transactions. Need to edit an order, provide a refund or a discount? What about putting together a custom package and sending the invoice? Whichever exhibitor management software you choose, having flexible order management is key.
Most of the features covered so far deal with primarily the registration of your exhibitors. But what about all of the deliverables you need to collect from them post-registration? What about all of their questions, resources you need to share with them? Adjustments to their profile or booth staff? Obviously registering your exhibitors is only one part of the exhibitor planning process, so having a robust exhibitor portal is absolutely vital when selecting an exhibitor management software.
Reports & Dashboards
Finally, at the end of the day everything comes down to data and metrics. What good is promoting exhibitors and sponsors, selling booths, and trying to make an overall great pre-show experience if you can’t assess if it’s actually working? Being able to report on your exhibitor registration numbers, orders, deliverables, and everything in between is absolutely essential, and needs to be a key component to your exhibitor management software to tie everything together.
Co-Founder and CEO of ExpoGenie, a trade show management software company based out of San Francisco, CA. Prior to ExpoGenie, he was co-founder of ConvoSpark, an event management agency, and before that spent 8 years working in exhibitor sales and fulfillment for FreemanXP.
In his spare time when he is not spending family time with his wife and daughter, Derek enjoys going on outdoor adventures such as hiking, snowshoeing, and paddle boarding in beautiful Bend, Oregon.