The TPP Guide to Hosting an Exhibition Stand

When you are surrounded in an exhibition hall by fellow businesses, all trying to attract customers that will give you that significant sales lead, you need to stand out from the crowd.

This doesn’t mean that you should opt for the biggest space, but it does mean that you should deliver an immersive brand experience that your target customer will not forget.

To create this immersive brand experience in an exhibition venue, there are two fundamental factors that a business should consider when hosting an exhibition stand:

  1. Capture the attention of the target customer with an alluring exhibition design and choose a stand space with a high footfall
  2. Engage the customer with a knowledgeable and approachable host, who will act with your business’s best interests at heart

TPP know what it takes to create a sensational stand and you can read all about this on our DESIGN page. We also know a thing or two about engagement.

At TPP, we always have our client’s best interests at heart, so we thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to put together a guide on hosting an exhibition stand.

The Pitfalls

Before we start, it’s important that you understand the pitfalls that hosts can encounter when running an exhibition stand.

Have you ever been to an exhibition and genuinely been interested in a product or service, but the staff are too busy on their phone or chatting to a colleague?

For many of us, it can feel far too uncomfortable to interrupt. You end up taking a leaflet and essentially forgetting all about that company, then move on to the next.

A host that ignores you, makes you feel unworthy of their attention, or the service/product they are promoting. Would you like your target customer to feel that way? No, but it happens all too often.

We see companies invest in an exhibition space and stand design, but when it comes to the staff the entire process is let down.

In This Guide

TPP have prepared this detailed Guide on Hosting an Exhibition stand to help our clients optimise their ROI when hosting an exhibition stand. We are going to cover:

  • Who should represent your company on the stand?
  • How to prepare staff for the event
  • Techniques for attracting and engaging visitors

Who Should Represent Your Company at an Exhibition?

Employees

Depending on the size of your stand and the likely footfall of your exhibition space, we recommend a minimum of two experienced employees from your company to host the stand.

Your employees embody your core business and should be able to project that to the customer.

Having employees on the stand means there will always be someone on hand to accurately answer customer questions. They can also act as a tag team when taking breaks.

When selecting employees to host your exhibition stand, choose those that are:

  • Confident
  • Knowledgeable about your products and services
  • Presentable
  • Polite
  • Friendly and approachable

Exhibition Staff Agencies

If fully staffing your exhibition stand with company employees is not possible, or it doesn’t accurately representation your business, there are some great exhibition staff agencies.

The benefits of using agency staff are:

  • They are usually impeccably presented
  • Approachable
  • Polite
  • Trained on engagement
  • Understand the importance of taking customer details

A combination of knowledgeable employees and agency staff can be a good all-round option.

Preparing Exhibition Staff

When using agency staff or indeed employees ensure they are:

  • Briefed on the product or service
  • Told what the end-goal of the exhibition is
  • Provided with the company’s key messages
  • Aware of what to wear – will you be providing a full uniform or partial uniform?
  • Aware of how data will be collected (business cards, scanning machine, mobile QR codes)
  • Who to contact, or what to do if a visitor has a difficult question
  • Supported by an employee of the company
  • Given regular breaks at scheduled times if you are expecting it to be busy

How to Brief Exhibition Staff

Here’s a few pointers on how to brief your exhibition staff about your products, services, company ethos and your end-goal:

Key messages: Create a key messages document to explain the core benefits of your products or services and who they are aimed at. Keep it short and concise, so that the host can remember them and relay it to the customer without boring them.

You can provide the key messages on a postcard, or on within full briefing document.

FAQ: A frequently asked questions document is a great tool for hosts – especially if they have little experience on the company and the product/service.

Write down a list of every question you have ever been asked and clearly answer them – in a way that you might explain to a five-year-old. For trade shows, however, you can include more industry lingo.

Explain what the end-goal for exhibition stand: So many businesses fail to tell their staff what they want to achieve from the stand – do you want to:

  • Generate sales leads
  • Make sales on the stand
  • Collect data
  • Spread awareness of your brand and its products/services
  • Give away samples
  • Encourage testing/trials

Either way, tell your staff what the goal is and how they are expected to achieve this. Write it down so that they can refer to it.

Itinerary: Give you staff an itinerary of what happens when. There might be a seminar where your company is presenting, you might be planning a give-away at certain times.

Either way, tell them what is happening when and make sure you include breaks! It can be a long day on your feet, so scheduled breaks are essential.

Team meeting: Schedule a team meeting before opening time to motivate the staff and run through the briefing documents provided, drawing their attention to key information.

Techniques on Attracting and Engaging Visitors

If you tell your exhibition staff just one thing – it is that every visitor to your stand is important!

You get one shot at making a good impression, so make it count. Regardless of how they look or present themselves, each visitor could change the day, year or even the future of your company.

Here are a few pointers for your exhibition hosts on how to perform:

  • Stand at the front on the stand to welcome visitors. Do not stand behind tables, they present a barrier
  • Make eye contact with passers-by and ask if they would like to find out about ….[your product/service]
  • Always be polite and friendly. Through in the odd compliment, but only if it is appropriate, we don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable
  • SMILE!!!
  • Talk to visitors. If they are visiting your stand, they will want to learn more, so spark up a conversation
  • Ask questions. Who do they work for? What do they do? Where are they from?
  • Demonstrate how the product/service works using the key message document provided
  • Offer promotional items, samples, trials, business cards and leaflets to take away. Immerse them in your brand
  • Don’t needlessly go on your phone when there are visitors on the stand – they are what is important at that moment. The people in the office that you see every day can wait!
  • ALWAYS TAKE THEIR CONTACT DETAILS. This is the most important. Don’t let a visitor leave without taking their card, scanning their pass or QR code. Failing that, write it on a piece of paper
  • Ask for help when faced with questions you cannot answer. Speak to the team leader or refer to the FAQ document

TPP are Here to Help

We hope that this guide has been helpful, but if you have any questions about exhibition stands please get in touch. The TPP team are always on hand to offer advice on planning and running an exhibition stand, as well as conferences, award ceremonies and live events.

If you are planning to book a space for an exhibition stand, please remember TPP. We can design your event lighting, and provide comprehensive technical support for exhibition stands, stage and sets that can be rolled out for events worldwide.

Our team of professional lighting designers, technicians and riggers have experience working in international and UK exhibition halls. Therefore, fully understand the requirements, access restrictions and specifications of each venue.

For support with your exhibition stand design and build, please contact the TPP team.