You’ve attended a few of our conferences. It’s not your first rodeo. You’ve mastered the exhibit hall, but you’re ready to experience the view on the other side of the table. So, you make the leap and become a conference exhibitor, and you’re amped to get the best of this new opportunity!
But before you arrive on site, start shaking hands and building relationships, you need to make sure you’re prepared.
Here are seven things you can do to ensure your exhibitor experience is the absolute best in can be.
1) Get the “dates to know,” because, well… you need to know them!
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be receiving a lot of info from the conference team—and trust me, all of it’s SUPER important. But one piece of that info to look out for in particular is the “dates to know.” It will tell you everything about registration, load in and load out regulations, speaker submission deadlines and more. Put every single one of these events in your calendar so you don’t miss a thing and can plan accordingly.
2) Make sure you’ve got a place to stay. Our locations fill up fast!
This one is just as important as locking down your exhibitor booth. As soon as you’ve finished up securing your exhibitor space, make sure you’ve secured lodging for you and your team. We block out a large amount of rooms at The Hotel del Coronado and The Breakers, but they go incredibly fast! There are plenty of other hotels in each area, but wouldn’t you rather spend that time networking rather than shuttling back and forth between the conference and your hotel? You may also want to double and triple check your reservations with whichever hotel you’re staying. Let’s face it, there’s probably no worse feeling than showing up with your entire marketing team and realizing you have to share a double bed and bathtub with eight people.
3) Does your booth actually fit in your booth space?
A lot of our first-time exhibitors have this issue. When you register to exhibit, take note of the booth size you received and make sure your marketing materials and banners fit accordingly. Set up a mock booth well before you arrive. Does it look too crammed? Is it inviting? Does it pop? Does your booth represent you and reflect the awesomeness that is your brand?
SIDE NOTE: You should pack enough print collateral and business cards for four days and over 1,000 conference attendees. Our conferences are known for networking, and you don’t want to be caught running out of anything that can help generate a meaningful conversation.
4) Make sure you’re registered to attend, not just to exhibit.
Make sure you’ve registered your team, not just you for your booth. You will be given a set amount of pre-registrations, but it’s up to you to get your team ready for the big show. Be sure to use each team members’ individual email address for his or her registration. Do not use a general email for each registrant, because you want to make sure that every team member receives our daily emails laying out the day’s schedule and special events. This will keep everyone on your team independently informed.
5) We’ve got conference hashtags for social media. You should use them.
You don’t have to use the conference hashtag during the conference only. You should use it before and after the event as well. Let your audience know that you’re preparing to come or that you just enjoyed being there. Connect with attendees and secure some traffic to your booth before the conference even begins! During the conference, you can retweet other exhibitors, tag attendees on Instagram or update your professional network on LinkedIn. After the conference, view the hashtag on all platforms and connect with everyone who attended. It’s a fast an easy way to build some meaningful relationships.
6) Don’t tear down early. Seriously, don’t do it. Just don’t!
This one can’t be stressed enough. You’ve spent a lot of money to be an exhibitor, and you deserve to reap all the benefits! We have a large amount of attendees who stay well past the conferences, and the exhibitors who stay till the end have a much more focused audience. There’s less fuss, people are more relaxed, and it gives you, the exhibitor, a chance to really make a connection without attendees running off for sessions.
7) Follow up.
As an exhibitor, you will receive a lot of attention, and you will also receive a lot of contact information. The only way you can capitalize on all those contacts is to follow up with them. Try to follow up in a personal manner. There’s nothing wrong with adding your new friends to a bulk email list, but how personal does that really sound? You may only get one chance to reconnect. Make sure it counts!