Trade shows can be intimidating events. For both planners and suppliers they bring a unique set of logistical challenges and require an extra level of coordination as you work with all of the exhibitors, fellow suppliers, and the venue to coordinate a very complex event all while staying focused on the attendees experience and making sure that they get the most out of their time on the trade show floor. For exhibitors, trade shows offer an amazing opportunity to engage face to face with prospective and existing clients but the process of designing and coordinating a display and booth that will catch attendees attention and efficiently and accurately capture contact information for those that do stop at your booth can be a daunting task. Thankfully with the help of beacon technology trade shows are getting a major facelift with some new tools that will allow planners to gather more data about their attendees and deliver a more customised experience and exhibitors to capture leads more efficiently and create far more memorable displays and experiences.
Perhaps the biggest new technology being deployed at trade shows are beacons. These devices can be placed around your trade show to collect and distribute attendee’s information. Beacons use Bluetooth technology to interact with attendees devices (normally through an event-specific app) and allow for a huge range of audience interaction all based on the profile that they create and by monitoring where attendees are based on their proximity to each beacon attendees can have a curated event experience.
One of the most practical applications for beacons is on-site location services. Traditionally maps of trade show floors have been static diagrams and attendees would have to take the time to figure out where they are and then where they want to go. But when beacons are installed around the event space they can help guide users to their next session or to a specific trade show booth. As attendees pass by each beacon their location and directions to their destination are updated in real time.
Digital signage on-site is also a growing trend but when combined with beacon technology can be a very powerful tool. As attendees approach beacon-enabled signage they can receive custom messages that may share information about the location of their next session or appointment, or present an offer from a nearby exhibitor. All of these are passive applications so an attendee with their event app open doesn't have to do anything to access this information.
Presentation / Content Pushing / Custom Messaging
One of the most cumbersome parts of a trade show is collecting all of the promotional and collateral materials that presenters and exhibitors distribute. With the help of beacons, collateral material can be shared with attendees in a designated area. For example, all the attendees in a breakout session can have the presentation automatically emailed to their provided email or after spending a few minutes in a booth, an exhibitor's promotional material can be sent, catered of course to the specific areas of interest that the attendees has identified in their profile. Of course, this doesn't have to be limited to presentations or exhibitors, messages from sponsors or the planners could be sent to attendees as they navigate the show floor.
Similar to content pushing, lead gathering can be simplified with the use of proximity beacons. As attendees spend a set amount of time in an exhibitor's booth, or in a session their contact information can be shared with exhibitors or presenters allowing them to follow up more efficiently. Based on the information in an attendee's profile the amount of contact details shared can be adjusted.
One of the most exciting aspects of beacon technology is its ability to connect people. Once an attendee completes their profile, their interests can be compiled and compared and as they move around the trade show floor they can be notified of other attendees in the area with similar interests. These connections can be as simple as the sharing of a LinkedIN or other social media details, or as much as guiding attendees to a meeting spot after sending a custom notification. This can also be combined with an integrated messaging tool in the event app to make these connections even easier.