Lights, Camera, Action: Entertainment Trade Shows

Fun and games turn into big business at entertainment trade shows. Learn how to get the most out of your entertainment trade show investment...
Morgan Robbins
March 4, 2019

You love being in the spotlight and having all eyes on you, but when you go to entertainment trade shows you have to make sure you’re attracting the right kind of attention. It’s not about just getting noticed, but getting attendees to stop and engage with your staff and converting those leads into sales. Put your attention to detail skills to good use with the right combination of theatrics, professionalism, and business savvy to create a line of future customers wrapped around your booth.
Entertaining may be your area of expertise but that’s not enough for consumers at entertainment trade shows. You want to WOW them so much they stop and decide they want your product or services for themselves. Combine your flair for fun and games with these tricks of the trade to make your trade show booth as successful as the first summer night of a state fair.

What are some basic guides to follow at a trade show booth?What Are Some Basic Guides to Follow At a Trade Show Booth

If you’ve never been to a trade show before, or you have but want some new ideas, follow these common guidelines to get your booth on the right track from the start. Your staff will be representing your brand and your business, so it’s imperative that they know what to do, and what not to do, when interacting with potential customers.

Friendly is a Must

The first thing that attendees should see at your booth are smiling and approachable staff. You want staff to be as helpful and engaging as possible. They should be well-prepared with business and product information, as well as answers to common questions. It might be a good idea to have a written script they can use as a guideline. Try to ask consumers open-ended questions to start and continue a conversation that will get them talking about what they’re looking for and why. Staff can swoop in when appropriate to tell the consumer why your product or services will fit their needs.
Stress the importance of your staff actively listening to the consumer. Staff shouldn’t be distracted by other booths or vendors but should be focused on the person in front of them and the task at hand. At the same time, it’s okay if the conversation isn’t 100% about your product or service. You want the dialogue to flow naturally and sometimes the discussion can take a detour before getting back to the reason why the attendee stopped at your booth.

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Don’t Talk with Your Mouth Full

Staff should be ready to speak with attendees at any time, so no eating or chewing while standing by the booth. Chewing of any kind is unprofessional while speaking with consumers, which means no gum as well. You don’t want staff holding food either. They should have their hands free in order to provide handouts or show off a product. This also eliminates any possible trash around your display.
This doesn’t mean your staff can’t eat or drink all day. They’ll be standing and talking throughout the trade show so they have to stay fueled and hydrated. Allow your staff to take breaks in which they can eat in a separate area of the facility. Most trade shows will have some type of eating area. Staff should be drinking plenty of water as well and you can kill two birds with one stone by providing company-branded water bottles to hand out to attendees walking by.

Dress Sharp

No matter what your staff is wearing, it should fit well, be clean, and be wrinkle-free. Unlike most standard trade shows, you’re given free rein to dress to entertain. You can opt to have all staff dressed up, say as a barbershop quartet, or you can have some staff in regular professional clothing and featured staff in a mascot animal costume. For instance, if your booth is for Legoland, then having a giant Lego man mascot will surely stop people in their tracks.
This is one area to get creative. Other vendors are sure to have their own notions about ensemble outfits so you’ll want something that will separate you from the others but is also appropriate to your business. Even if your staff is dressed more uniformly, they should match in some way so those passersby will know what booth they are representing.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Trade Show InvestmentHow to Get the Most out of Your TRade SHow Investment

You want to maximize your dollars and effort spent if you’re going to be a vendor at a trade show. Imagine all the possible sales you can bring in just from one show! These ideas will help your booth and business reach their potential and capitalize on the throngs of people attending the show.

Advertise Ahead of Time

You may be thinking of television, radio, or print ads when the word “advertise” comes up, but there’s a better and cheaper route to take - social media. Depending on your financial situation, you can choose to run paid ads, or rely more on frequent postings, to reach your audience. Either way, you can’t beat the cost-to-results ratio.
You should advertise on as many different social media platforms as possible to spread a wider net, which can be cast even further if friends and other businesses share your posts to their own page. You should use a specific hashtag to keep a consistent theme, as well as tag other attending vendors that you may do business with and get involved in any discussions about the upcoming trade show.
If you create a large social media presence before the trade show begins, you’re more likely to catch a consumer’s attention and have them seek you out at the show. You can really get involved online and offer a prize incentive if a consumer comes by your booth and says a key phrase that was only given on social media. Make it a good prize though, otherwise, users will not consider it worth the effort of finding you.
Use social media as another platform to entertain and grab your consumer’s attention. Similar to what your staff will be wearing, you can be a little crazy and out there, as long as it’s done tastefully. Lay the theatrics on thick and create an online presence that will dampen your competitor's own voice and allow you to shine like a carousel at night. Plus, your online postings will help with more than just viewers who will be attending the trade show. You could create something so memorable that social media users will remember it and become future customers.

Come Prepared to Show-off

Now is the time to go all out! Visual appeal is one of the most important features of your booth and since you’re in the entertainment field, you have plenty of fun options. Make sure you have the basics down first:

  • Brand image: Make sure your brand has a clear and consistent image. This means a consistent color scheme and look of the booth. If your logo is green and yellow, don’t have purple and blue colors in your booth.
  • Visual displays: Your booth should have some type of signage displaying your company name and you can also use a tabletop display, standing banner, or samples of your product, if possible. The visual goods should match your brand image as well to keep with the ongoing theme and be big enough to catch your eye without being overbearing.
  • Furniture: No, not couches and kitchen tables, but folding tables, bar height tables, and maybe a couple of comfortable chairs. There should be a balance between having enough equipment to properly display your product while also avoiding any type of clutter. Customers must be able to move around freely in order to take in the full scope of your business, so sometimes less is more. If you have space, a few comfortable chairs may prompt weary attendees to stay and linger for a little bit longer, giving you a chance of discussing how your product can help them.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
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REALLY Show-off

Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can add some pizzaz to your booth and really make heads turn in your direction. These tips can help increase your sales and ensure your booth is well worth the time and money you invested.

  • Special effect lighting: Break out the spotlights, LED lights, effect light drapes, GOBO pattern projectors, laser lights, light ropes, or moving lights. You want your booth to stand out, but keep in mind that so will everyone else, so try not to go overboard with the lighting. If possible, pair your lighting with one of the other suggestions below so one area doesn’t dominate your booth.
  • Props: You can take this a few different ways. You can have props that consumers can play, such as a spinning prize wheel game or roulette wheel, or you can have props that show off your product. For instance, if your business sells amusement park rides you can have part of the ride on display where attendees can sit in the seats and get an up close and personal look at what you offer.
  • Entertainers: Bring the entertainment yourself! You can employ entertainers that normal work amusement events, or use your own if that’s your business. This is especially useful if there are any children at the show. Face painters and balloon twisters are always a big hit, and a caricature artist would work for adult consumers.
  • Arcade games/carnival games: This is taking the props and entertainment to the next level. Everyone knows Pac Man and will spark interest in attendees and a carnival game will attract attention from across the aisle. You can set up a small booth of Knock Over the Bottles or Toss the Ring in which participants can play if they give their email address. You can take it a step further and give prizes that have your logo on them, as an extra reminder once they get home.

Know What You Want

You must have clear goals for what you’re trying to accomplish while at the trade show. There are many reasons to attend a show so narrow down which are most important and make a list so all of the staff are on the same page.
Get new customers: some attendees will be at the show merely for themselves and some will be there representing another business. You should secure sales from both. Even though the business representative may mean a larger sale and profit to start, the individual could lead to bigger and better sales down the road. You never know which person could lead your business to its biggest sale yet.
Make your brand known: You can have an amazing product, but if no one knows about it you won’t get sales. Take the trade show as the perfect opportunity to make sure consumers know what you offer and why your product is superior to your competitors. Make sure your logo and brand are clearly visible in your booth and hand out brochures or branded promotional items, such as water bottles or bags.
Generate future leads: Your staff should work to make sales at the show, but if they don’t get a ton of sales that doesn’t mean they weren’t successful. Many attendees peruse to see what’s new and available in their market and make decisions about what to purchase afterward. It’s important for every consumer to be taken seriously as a potential client and to have a system of following up with each email received after the expo.
I spy, with my little eye: Don’t hide in the bushes but keep an eye on what your competition is doing. You can compare your branding, type of product, quality of the product, pricing, and general approach to selling to see how you stack up. Your focus should be on your own booth, product, and potential customers, but checking out what others are doing will help you assess your own business.
Future recruitment: a trade show is a good opportunity to screen attendees for future employment. Many of those going to the trade show will already have a grasp on the industry and you could gauge someone’s knowledge on your business with a short conversation. Keep business cards handy to pass out, but also expect to receive some. Have staff keep track of any possible high levels leads that could benefit your business.
Remind clients of your presence: you obviously want to generate new sales and leads at the trade show, but the expo is also a good time to remind existing customers that you’re still killing it in the industry. Having a strong presence and amazing booth will give them confidence that they should be doing business with you, and not your competition.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Which Entertainment Trade Shows Should I Attend?Which Entertainment Trade Shows Should I Attned

There are numerous entertainment trade shows in the entertainment field but there are a few that rise to the top of the list.

IAAPA Expo

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the world’s largest international trade association for permanent amusement facilities. Their goal is to help members improve the quality of their business through marketing, safety, and profitability. They set the bar with the highest professional standards in the amusement industry. The organization has more than 5,300 members out of more than 100 countries. Professionals come from many areas, including:

  • Amusement parks, theme parks, and water parks
  • Museums and science centers
  • Historic and tourist attractions
  • Family entertainment centers, malls, and shopping centers
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Industry manufacturers and suppliers
  • Casinos, hotels, and resorts

The IAAPA holds three expos worldwide each year, in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Shipping to IAAPA Trade Show for many is big business. The IAAPA Expo is held annually in Orlando, Florida and brings in tens of thousands of attendees who go to learn, buy, and network within the industry.

Amusement Expo International

The Amusement Expo International is sponsored and produced by American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) and the Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA). This expo is held annually in the spring and is usually in Las Vegas, Nevada. It takes place during the week and is a three-day trade show with one day of education and two days of exhibition. It caters to many of the areas listed above and any other out-of-home
entertainment industry professionals, plus bulk vending, laser tag, and virtual reality.

Need Help with Logistics to Your Trade Show?Need Help With Shipping to Your Trade Show

R+L Global Logistics understands the importance and urgency needed for trade show logistics. You have already spent significant time, money, and effort for your business to be exhibited, and we can expertly manage the steps of trade show booth shipping. We also handle shipping to retail trade shows, shipping to a pet expo, shipping to medical trade shows and more.

We provide domestic and international shipping services and will be there for every step of the way - packaging, transporting, warehousing, and everything in between. We’re here on weekends, after hours, and even offer holiday delivery and pickup, whenever you might need us. Let us operate the controls for the logistics while you prepare to showcase your business.
R+L Global Logistics services include:

  • Domestic / International
  • Truckload / LTL (Less than truckload)
  • Show-To-Show / Advance Warehouse
  • Air & Ground Expedite
  • Packing / Crating / Packaging
  • Warehousing / Storage
  • White Glove / Debris Removal
  • 24/7 Live – On-Call Personnel

You won’t reap the full benefits of exhibiting at entertainment trade shows if your goods don’t arrive on time and your booth isn’t ready when the doors open. We offer a standard rate and a guaranteed rate to ensure your goods are overseen every step of the way. Chat, email, or call us at 866-415-8986 for more information about our trade show shipping services.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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