This year, more than 1,700 business and trade shows will be held in the United States. With so many conferences vying for the attention of attendees, it’s important to know what the top trends are for expos in 2017.
The Pittsburgh Business Show, recently held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in April 2017, spearheaded different trends from the show’s producers and exhibitors. They were all used to create deeper connections that start-up businesses, established organizations, and Fortune 500 companies could learn to achieve their goals, increase their revenue, and connect with people and resources.
Trends That Attract Business Show Attendees
What’s hot right now?
- Go Mobile. Mobile apps have been paired with business show marketing strategies to help spread the word and boost attendance for trade shows. At the last business show in Pittsburgh, a mobile app introduced the expo, introduced the workshop schedule, allowed people to download tickets to the show and presentations, view the vendor list, upload photos, choose a booth, and see an online event map.
- Start a Conversation. Attending a trade show the old way: Attendees wander around, looking at hundreds of booths, trying to decide if they should approach an exhibitor. Attending a trade show the new way: It’s more about starting a comfortable conversation between exhibitor and attendee. Some exhibitors will eschew the 10 x10 foot booths, and instead set up a couch or comfortable chairs where they can talk to attendees, one on one, with no barrier. These lounge set ups are becoming more popular, as are VIP rooms where attendees can talk in private with exhibitors while discovering if they’re a good fit for each other.
- Use Push Notifications. Messages sent straight to someone’s phone is an easy way to attract attendees’ attention. During the Pittsburgh Business Show, attendees and vendors received messages for workshop and presentation times and locations, reminders about the networking event, alerts about live podcasts, and friendly prompts about how to buy tickets for a fundraiser.
- Embrace On-site Networking Events. It makes sense to hold large-scale networking events when there are so many businesses and attendees who are together. An on-site event that serves food and drinks keeps people engaged at the show and fosters further connections.
- Design Virtual Lead Systems. A virtual lead system is a creative technique that ensures exhibitors will have exactly the information they need from interested attendees. At the Pittsburgh Business Show, attendees signed up for the expo using their title, company name, and email. This information was captured in a Virtual Lead Card that’s given to them when they register at the Show. Attendees take this card, find exhibitors they would like to learn more about, and ask the exhibitor to scan their card. At the end of the Show, each exhibitor was able to download a list of names, companies, and contact information.
- Share with Social Media. A strong social media presence is a must. Create event pages on Facebook, promote on Twitter, invest in Snapchat filters, create hashtags, and set up an area at the trade show where attendees can take pictures and selfies.
Business shows in Pittsburgh – or trade shows anywhere – can tap into these trends to promote and manage events and to easily communicate with attendees, which will boost attendance and help get the word out about a show. To learn more about these trends, visit the Pittsburgh Business Show website or download their app.
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