Eye-catching designs that grab the attention of attendees is just one component of compelling tradeshow booths. Effective off-line and on-line marketing and activities that engage attendees are also essential.
I interviewed representatives from a number of the exhibitors that stood out at this year's IMEX America in Las Vegas. I uncovered the inspiration behind the designs and the strategies that were used to draw traffic. Similar approaches can be used to market event planning services and design effective meetings and events.
The good news is that there is still time to catch these "must see" tradeshow booths at IMEX America 2014.
Airlines: Emirates Airlines
To give booth visitors a preview of the service they will receive onboard, Emirates Airlines has staffed the booth with cabin crew and included a replica of the bar from its A380 double-decker airplanes in its booth. The decor reflects a lounge and Visitors are treated to wine, coffee, sandwiches, and pastry.
Activities at the show are being shared on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The Ritz-Carlton 2-level booth integrates stunning scenery from properties around the world and a second floor reflecting the design of Ritz-Carlton club floor lounges. There are 4 audio-visual presentation areas.
At a live cooktop, the Executive Chef from the Aruba property has been preparing cuisine for booth visitors.
There has been strong social media activity using the #imex14 hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and, in Mandaring on Sinaweibo.
Hotel guests are encouraged to tag their own images and these are shared on the Ritz-Carlton website.
Top Picks by Region
Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau took a number of steps to attract and engage IMEX America attendees and so that the 18 booth partners could share important M.I.C.E. developments. Specifically, Boston will add 6,000 hotel rooms to its inventory in the next 3 years. 3,000 of them will be near the waterfront. The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center will double in size increasing capacity to 1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space.
An extensive email campaign and vivid images depicting scenes and streets from around Boston attracted booth traffic.
Clam chowder, tenderloin sirloin sliders, Boston baked beans, and Sam Adams Beer gave booth visitors a taste of Boston.
Vancouver's exhibit focused on providing comfortable and adaptable meeting spaces for buyers.
There were 3 main zones: lounge space, high boy tables for 1-to-1 meetings with hosted buyers and presentation space with an interactive touch screen that attendees could use at their own pace.
KiKi L'Italien conducted a series of interviews with booth partners, veteran event planners and social media experts, and customers (who shared their experiences of hosting meetings and events in Vancouver.) These interviews were shared on Vancouver Convention Bureau's @meetvancouver Twitter channel.
Munich is well known for Oktoberfest but this event only takes place for a couple of weeks every year. With European offices for Google, Microsoft, Siemens, and BMW located in Munich, this year, the Munich Convention Bureau selected the theme of Laptops and Lederhosen to underscore the fact the city is also a major economic center and meeting destination.
The design was inspired by the beer garden's in the city's parks. A Maibaum (May tree), a Bavarian tradition that dated back to the middle ages to showcase some of the businesses in the area, depicted the 12 booth partners which included some of the major businesses in Munich. Refreshments consisted of Bavarian beer, sausages, and pretzels.
In celebration of Germany's World Cup Soccer win, exhibitors changed into Bayern Muenchen soccer jersey's for the Eurozone Block Party on Wednesday.
While Munich doesn't have a social media presence, trade shows and a gala to encourage professors from the Technical University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Muenchen to hold congresses that will draw members of the business community to Munich.
In the European region, Switzerland and Holland also had very engaging booths backed up by strong social media presence.
Jamaica's iconic Dunn's River Falls is the centrepiece of the booth that includes eye-popping images of some of the countries other famous attractions.
The Cvent Event Blog has profiled a number of Jamaica's live and social media marketing campaigns.
Latin America: Costa Rica
Sustainability and eco-tourism are hallmarks of Costa Rica's branding. For this reason, the core elements of this visually stunning booth were re-cycled wood, Costa Rican plants, and "true to life images" reflecting Costa Rica's over 11 micro-climates. (The images were not PhotoShopped.) The wood was used in its natural state without refinishing. It bore the seals indicating where and how the wood was produced. (The plants will be donated to worthwhile causes at the end of the show.)
Guests were treated to 100% organic, fair trade Costa Rican chocolate with pre-Columbian stamps. At some trade shows, booth visitors also have an opportunity to sample fruits from Costa RIca. A soundtrack with music, bird and rainforest sounds is also played at some trade shows. The DVD was shown to booth visitors and made available as a gift.
Middle East: Dubai
The design of Dubai's booth reflects both tradition and modern touches. Dubai's new logo has a similar balance with the Arabic characters for Dubai included in purple in a sleek design.
The presence on social media has been active and visitors have been encouraged to share their own photos of Dubai on Twitter and Instagram with the #mydubai hashtag. (A Mandarin equivalent has been created for Waybo.)
Africa: South Africa
The 18 exhibitors have used e-blasts to attract booth visitors who have been treated to South African wine at wine and cheese events. The annual hosted buyer event has been showcased at IMEX America.
Thailand's booth reflected traditional Thai architecture. The theme Spice up Your Agenda has been supported by major social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Recently, a Dream Itinerary Contest encouraged prospective visitors to come up with creative pre- and post-meeting ideas in Thailand.
A week ago, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (CEBU) launched Thailand Connect the World, highlighting the key benefits of the destination. The video clips which were created for this campaign have been screened during group presentations.
Singapore's booth is also well worth a visit. The design reflects Singapore's reputation as The Garden City. A Happy Hour on Tuesday gave visitors a chance to sample Singapore Slings and Tiger Beer. Twitter has been used to highlight some of the activities at the booth.
Photo Credits: Anne Thornley-Brown, Executive Oasis International