Managing the floor plan for your exhibitors at a large expo hall is a daunting task. Each booth comes with it an exhibitor, which is a company consisting of many different stakeholders who likely have invested a big chunk of their marketing budget in hopes for some sort of return. Each booth represents its own unique challenges of keeping your exhibitors happy without over promising anything.
Multiply that single exhibitor booth and its challenges by hundreds, and trade show managers have quite the job ahead of them. And that’s just for one event. What if you are managing a floor plan exhibit hall for multiple shows per year? Then you’re really going to need to nail down your process or risk drowning in all of your exhibitor’s needs.
Here are three things every exhibit manager can do right away to manage these exhibitor floor plans like a pro:
Empower Your Exhibitors with the Booth Selection
With hundreds of booths and every exhibitor eyeing the same few in the front and center, it will be near impossible to please them all since not everyone will get their top choice. The solution? Empower your exhibitors by giving them all equal opportunity to get early selection if they themselves make an initial and early commitment.
If you have 400 exhibitors knocking on your door wanting to choose their ideal booth location, empower their choice by shifting some of that option of choice on them. Some common examples are giving priority based on contract sign date, level of commitment, or for repeat (loyal) exhibitors at your show. Let exhibitors compete amongst themselves by empowering them with the choice, rather than having that burden all rest on your shoulders.
Keep Your Message Consistent Across all Your Exhibitors
It may be tempting at times to personalize your service for each exhibitor to help meet their needs. But with a large expo hall with literally hundreds of booths to manage, you’d be doing you (and your exhibitors, in the end) a disservice to give into this temptation. Instead, formalize a standard operating procedure for managing your exhibitors and needs, and stick with the plan. Sure, some exhibitors will plead and provide all sorts of (sometimes justifiable) reasons why they should get special treatment, but as soon as you deviate from the process then you’ve opened the possibility for all exhibitors to do the same. Since you can’t provide that level of service to scale for that many booths and exhibitors, resist the urge to bite off more than you can chew.
Invest in an Interactive Floor Plan Software
Finally, this may seem like a no-brainer in the year 2022, but if you’re still managing a large expo floor plan with a static PDF floor plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. Not only will a powerful exhibitor management tool and interactive floor plan software make things easier on you (by a LOT), but your exhibitors now come to expect this. Don’t make the mistake of putting all your energy in impressing your exhibitors onsite only to start them off with a bad taste in their mouths from the months planning for the event itself.
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.