Regardless of whether you are running a large trade exhibition or if you are producing a conference with exhibits alongside, there are five golden rules to remember when trying to secure more exhibitors to your event.

1) Show that you can deliver the right audience

You should be able to provide extracts from previous visitor registration data so that exhibitor prospects can see the types of visitors you can attract. Include information on job titles, industry sector, purchasing responsibility and any other profiling data that you have collected from previous registrants. Provide some top-level stats and graphs which demonstrate at a glance the percentage values.

2) Explain how previous exhibitors have benefited

Provide endorsements and testimonials from previous (named) exhibitors. Select endorsements from a range of company types, sizes and sectors so that you show a broad cross section. If you can, provide the contact names and phone numbers of satisfied past exhibitors. Try to get past exhibitors to put a value on how many enquiries they took at the show or the subsequent value of new business.

3) Share your marketing/communications plan

Exhibitors don’t need to see all your documentation, but they will be interested in a summary of how you intend to promote the event. What databases do you already have? How will you generate new lists? How much direct mail will you send? What’s the frequency of your email announcements? Which media channels will you advertise in? Which trade publications will you target? Do you have a PR strategy for news releases, etc?

4) Demonstrate how you will help buyers (your attendees) find suppliers (your exhibitors)

In the run up to the event, list exhibitors on you event web site, in visitor promotion leaflets, brochures and in the show guide. Categorise or index exhibitors under topic/product/service so that visitors can quickly locate the type of supplier they are most interested in. Create a colour-coded floor plan with stand numbers. On your event web site you can go further and provide detailed profile information for each exhibitor and a link to their web site.

During the show, locate exhibitors with common products/services into a specific area. Consider colour coding this area or providing coded identification badges. At registration, provide printed lists of exhibitors with a clear floor plan/map. There are many digital solutions and social networking applications available to facilitate the exhibitor/visitor experience, help with networking and prospect data capture.

5) Provide value and make your exhibitors feel important

Have a show newsletter/magazine/show guide which will increase exhibitor visibility. Ask exhibitors to provide you with press releases and news items which you can feature in the show guide.  Provide exhibitors with advice on how to increase traffic to their stands. Remember that some will be new to the process and will appreciate some help.

Tell exhibitors that you will create a more comfortable environment for visitors so that they spend longer at the show. Provide lounge areas, meeting space, wi.fi access, café areas and places to eat.  

Reassure exhibitors that you will help them with logistical issues, freight forwarding, parking at the venue, accommodation options, free shuttle bus etc.

Show that you only use reputable suppliers for shell schemes, catering, security etc.  Exhibitors will be in safe hands at your show.

Help exhibitors with post-show follow up by providing a list of attendees. Leave exhibitor profiles on the event web site after the show so that visitors can easily locate the information they need. You will extend the shelf life of the event and provide more value for exhibitors. 

After the event, survey exhibitors to find out what they thought went well and what improvements they would like to see. Make sure you act on the information so that exhibitors feel involved in the future development of the event.

Think…What else can you give exhibitors that they cannot get elsewhere? How can you go the extra mile for them?

Need some help implementing these ideas?

DEC Marketing has extensive experience in exhibitor promotion for all types of business events. If you need support in delivering exhibitors to your event please call 01763 263420 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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