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You can’t just be present anymore, your booth needs to engage with attendees. These immersive experiences could be just the thing to bring your visitors in.
The trade show floor is brimming with excitement and with each booth being more colorful and wonderful than the next, it can be hard to stand out. Aim to connect with attendees and make them remember you in different ways by providing immersive experiences. Visitors are also expecting more from vendors, they want an experience that appeals to all of their senses on a physical, emotional, and intellectual level.
This can be a tough balance to strike and immersive ideas can be logistically difficult to capture the attention of passing visitors. Here are some activities, experiences, and ideas to make your trade show booth more immersive and get people staying at your exhibition stand for longer.
1. Mixed-Reality Product Demonstrations
Product demonstrations and testing are an integral part of showing off your range at a trade show or exhibition and allows attendees to get more hands-on with your products. Providing a mixed-reality experience where the attendee can fully inspect and use the product can not only show off large (and difficult to transport) products and services but also reduces the amount of staff needed as you can have pre-programmed displays and presentations.
Although high budget, you can save on larger items which are heavy to transport and require skilled workers to use or demonstrate. It also negates products being damaged or broken by the public and allows you to showcase a product’s full range of features you may not have the space for in a booth.
2. Augmented Booth Tours
Provide touchscreens and headphones to give an augmented reality booth tour and add fun elements like in this example which brings the backdrop and booth walls to life. It not only increases time spent at your booth but also saves staff from needing to show visitors around, allowing them to have their own experience and dwell on the parts that they want to, freeing other staff to answer questions and interact elsewhere.
3. Charity Experiences
When you can’t quantify your product, such as with charities and fundraising, that doesn’t mean you can’t appeal to your attendees. A great example of this is Charity Water, who provide remote villages access to clean and safe water. At booths and events, they have a catwalk of facts about these villages and nations and ask attendees to carry two heavy jugs around the course, to essentially ‘walk a mile in their shoes.’ This shows how difficult it really is on an experiential level and inspires change and reaction from attendees and allows others to connect with their message.
4. VR Transport Tours
Take your attendees somewhere else by offering a full VR headset experience where visitors of your booth can be whisked away to different locations. It could be something simple like a design company showing off a virtual room they have created and designed or somewhere more exotic like in this example. What you can see here was a booth at a tourism exhibition who used VR headsets to transport attendees to the locations they were showcasing and encouraging people to visit!
5. VIP Lounges
A difficult option that is hard to pull off but definitely worth it is to provide an oasis and sense of relaxation in a busy exhibition or trade show floor. Sometimes immersing visitors in peace and quiet to give them a rest can be the most positive and memorable experience. You can do this by creating a VIP lounge that is enclosed and shut off from the rest of your booth and is partly sound-proof. Then, add nap pods, WiFi hotspots, and charging stations, as well as refreshments. It’s an excellent sponsorship and branding opportunity and quite unique in such a busy event environment if you can make it work.
Credit: Staging Connections
6. Augmented Reality Thrills
Part of creating an immersive experience is appealing to different emotions, so using augmented reality to add a fear or thrill element takes it up a notch. Using big LED screens and a focal standing point, you can create opportunities to immerse attendees into certain situations. This monster example shows a simulation where attendees have to narrowly avoid oncoming cars. Scaling this down and adding some walls can make this more effective and remove the outside distractions, making it even more Immersive.
7. Live Interviews
An alternative to demonstrations that can involve the attendees more is a Q&A or interview session happening in your booth with an industry professional or influencer who is relevant to your brand. Encourage visitors to ask questions themselves and live-stream it for your remote attendees as a way to raise brand awareness as well as get the most out of their attendance!
Games and competitions are always a hit at trade shows and they make your booth more fun and lively, helping to better connect with attendees (i.e. using a leaderboard makes them more likely to come back later to check the score.) Enhance this idea by incorporating mixed or virtual reality in a themed game that suits your brand message. You can also evoke fear, excitement, or fun depending on the game,but regardless it will be a memorable option to choose.
9. Giant Touch Screens
We are all so used to smartphones and touch screens but these jumbo versions that take more than one attendee to operate are going to wow them and draw them in. Having games and activities on a large scale that encourage others to work together makes them reliant on each other and more invested than the passing visitor, making them commit more and be fully immersed in the task at hand.
10. VR Booth Racing
Allow visitors to have shared experiences and interact with each other without doing it face-to-face - perfect for the trade show introvert. This VR racing idea looks like a lot of fun and passing attendees can also see what is happening on the screens which includes them as well to draw them in. With plenty of seats and benches you can make it a more comfortable experience, and also increase the likelihood that visitors will stay longer.
11. Mixed Reality Photo Opportunities
Give attendees a memorable token to take away from the event in the form of a mixed-reality photo. The options for scenarios are endless and you can seamlessly integrate products, branding, and sponsorship into the end result. This is the perfect example from Castrol at the SMX convention center.
Tips For Immersive Booth Success
- User-friendly – You can have all the immersive intentions in the world but if your experiences are not user-friendly they are going to fail. Similarly, the easier it is for your attendees to get involved, the more likely they will want to participate and be drawn to your booth.
- Stand Out – Immersive experiences are all about standing out so don’t be afraid to take an idea and adapt it to your own unique style. The aim of trade shows is to be doing what others are not and be the exception, not the rule.
- Connectivity – A lot of immersive experiences are reliant on tech and if you have poor connectivity or event WiFi at your booth then you are doomed to fail!
- Recoup Costs – The downside to experiences is that they are usually high budget with a lot of them involving tech. Make it worth your while and recoup costs by also using resources online to appeal to remote attendees. For example, offer a 360-booth tour online or a virtual walkthrough on the computer to draw in attendees online as well as in-house.
- Resonate With Attendees – Immersion is all about appealing to attendee’s emotions as well as their senses so ensure that you are connecting with them on a variety of levels and tying this into your brand and what you have to offer otherwise visitors won’t truly commit.
- Visually-Striking – Don’t forget to focus on your booth’s appearance as well as ways to draw attendees to it initially. There is no point in having the best experiences if no one gets close enough to have a go. Strike the right balance between interaction and attraction.
- Don’t Forget Your Message – Don’t allow yourself to focus so much on the experiences that you forget to keep in touch with what you are trying to convey to the attendees. Make sure your immersive experiences stay on brand otherwise you will dilute your message.
When it comes to trade shows and exhibitions you have to remember that it is an incredibly competitive space and standing out is essential. Immersive experiences allow you to leave a lasting memory in the attendee’s mind as well as showcase how great your brand really is, holding their attention for longer and as you can see - virtual, mixed, and augmented reality experiences are a great place to start.