Why Interactive Displays Are a Must for Trade Shows

Interactive displays are now a vital part of the success of trade show exhibitors. Hanging banners and static displays just aren’t cutting it anymore. More exhibitors are hanging large-scale commercial signage monitors in their booths, and running the latest A/V content for their customers and prospects. Digital signage and interactive screens can be terrific magnets that attract visitors during a conference or event.

In addition, trade show exhibitors are also using a mix of online and offline elements, including smartphone apps, geo-location services, social media interactivity, and more to connect their presence at a trade show with interested attendees and visitors. These interactive elements help connect with trade show attendees before, during, and after the event.

Let’s look at the types of interactive elements that might fit best for your trade show audience.

Types of Interactivity

The types of interactive elements appropriate for your trade show activity depend upon your chosen industry. Your goal for the trade show can spotlight the product or service that you supply. For example, if you sell food consumables, you may want to hand out free samples so that visitors can explore the taste. That’s a low-tech form of show interactivity, but it’s also one of the key ways to sway a buyer at a food trade show.

Conversely, if your industry is connected with mobile phone technology, your trade show display at an event like the upcoming  Super Mobility Week will lean more heavily toward smartphone apps and web connectivity elements in the booth.  The level of interactivity that your company is hoping to achieve should be connected with your level of customer and prospects. For instance, if you’re displaying farm machinery and equipment for modern farms, your trade show display will likely include a level of technology engagement via tablets and phones that make sense to your customers.

Here are some components of trade show interactivity that you might want to consider for your business.


More companies are choosing to stream their trade show booth proceedings over the course of a trade show. Using a webcasting service for a trade show can engage customers and prospects who can’t travel to the show. A webcasting service can allow your team to “star” in its own trade show display production. They can stream video from the exhibit hall and activities around your booth to a dedicated channel on YouTube or your own website. A webcast is perfect for showing product demonstrations, interviews with company executives or industry leaders, and fun activities with visitors to your trade show booth.

interactive displays

Interactive Touch Screens

A simple, yet fun way to get potential customers into your booth is to provide them with interactive touch screens. That could mean phones, tablets, or even TVs. With that technology, you can create a tailored interface that visually showcases everything your company has to offer without drowning potential customers in endless content. Don’t underestimate the thrill that an adult will experience while interacting with something that seems to be aimed at youth. The inner-child in them will likely take over and explore the virtual world you created.

Group Demonstrations

Allowing groups of visitors to get a hands-on experience will ultimately make them more comfortable with your product. It is recommended that you announce specific times during the day that you will conduct the product demonstrations so you are able to build up anticipation and your prospects will be able to plan ahead. It is also recommended that you use a seasoned salesperson with an outgoing, fun attitude, to not only put potential customers at ease, but earn their trust and get them to believe in your products.


The goal here isn’t for you to create an unbeatable, carnival-style game or a game so simple a baby could win at it. You want your booth’s visitors to be challenged but to ultimately find success. You want your game to tie in your business. An easy way to do that is to involve your social media platforms. Make the players visit your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram channels to advance in the game. Give them trivia that relates to your industry or send them on a scavenger hunt so they will return to your booth later to redeem a prize. There are dozens of simple games to set up that will draw plenty of positive attention to your booth.

Large-Scale Video

One of the biggest trends in trade show displays is the use of a video wall to seamlessly display large-scale presentations. Companies are pushing their content built for the show onto the video walls and making a lasting impression with booth visitors.

Lead Retrieval Systems

Another great way to build up the level of interactivity at your trade show is to use an automated lead retrieval system. These devices can normally be rented from the show organizer; the cost for a 3-day show will be anywhere from $250-$350 for the rental. Or your company can decide to purchase your own lead retrieval device ahead of time. These tools allow your trade show booth team to scan the attendees’ badge instead of just getting a business card for follow-up. There is a great deal of encoded information on attendee badges, like titles, interest in specific products and services, and levels of budget authority. Having this information in your database from an attendee badge scan can be a great opportunity to follow up with a sensible marketing pitch a few weeks after the show.

Go Wild and Have Fun!

Sometimes the most bizarre ideas are the ones that people remember the most. Whether you have a piano that plays as you step on it, or you have an interactive light show, people will be drawn to your booth. You must remember that half the battle is piquing people’s interest, so being creative is a great way to get people talking and asking about your company.

Don’t be afraid to be bold and outstanding; if necessary, go “over the top.” The old saying is that all publicity is good publicity, so think big. Make your trade show booth the one that stands out from the crowd. Remember that, in your particular industry, almost all of the other booths will be your competitors! You need to make absolutely certain that the booth that visitors remember after they have left is yours.

For more creative ideas for your next booth display, consider contacting Northwest Creative Imaging, a specialist business dedicated to helping your company win big at your next trade show.

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5 Big Trade Shows in Las Vegas Fall 2014

Las Vegas is in the top 3 U.S. cities when it comes to popular U.S. city destinations for large trade shows and conferences. According to Cvent, Vegas ranked #3 just behind Chicago and Orlando in popular trade show destinations in 2013. Its large hotel capacity, amazing entertainment, warm weather and reputation as “Sin City” all help to keep money flowing into its city coffers. Another study showed that in 2012, Las Vegas hosted 60 of the top 250 trade shows – that’s nearly a quarter of all trade shows combined.5 Big Trade Shows in Las Vegas

Top trade shows like their attendees to mix business with pleasure; it’s good for the local economy as well as for trade show enjoyment. Here are five big trade shows coming up in fall 2014 in Las Vegas that should be on your calendar if you’re in these industries.

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week

Sands Expo & Convention Center, Nov. 4 – 11

The global automobile aftermarket is a huge industry, representing nearly $400 billion in annual sales. Over 100,000 car managers, shop operators and auto chains professionals from around the globe come to Las Vegas for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. This is the show to connect with key influencers and decision makers in the auto target market. Attendees will network with auto shop retailers, car jobbers, wholesale parts distributors, service sector executives and many other auto-focused professionals.

National Association of Convenience Stores Annual Meeting & Exposition

Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 7-10

If you’re involved in convenience store retail, then this is the show to attend. The National Association of Convenience Stores’ Annual Meeting & Exposition brings together over 20,000 attendees who own and operate convenience store and fuel centers. Exhibitors will show off new products and retailer options at their trade show displays to help the owners increase sales. These retailers serve millions of consumers across all demographics.

G2E: Global Gaming Expo 2014

Sands Expo & Convention Center, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2

A gaming trade show in Vegas? Win-Win! Over 17,000 people are expected to attend this 3-day expo to improve their knowledge about gaming processes and to get customers to spend more money. This conference provides attendees with information about ways to attract Millennials to gaming, behavioral trends of American gamblers, “Big Data” analytics and cybersecurity.

Solar Energy Trade Show 2014

Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 20-23

If you’re looking for an event that focuses on innovative technologies, the Solar Energy Trade Show should fill the bill. More than 700 exhibitors representing the forefront of green energy will be there. Learn how they promote their solar technologies or panel installations to companies and the expected 15,000-plus attendees from over 75 countries.

Specialty Graphics Annual National Convention

Las Vegas Convention Center, October 22-24

Learn about communications and/or get your message in front of the graphics community at this trade show attended by 23,000 industry professionals. There’s little doubt that this show will have some of the most innovative and effective trade show display signage based on who the exhibitors are – graphics professionals.

To attend these shows, check out the calendar at VegasMeansBusiness.com – it lets you search for shows sorting by venue, date, number of attendees or number of exhibitors. And if you’re exhibiting at these shows, let the experts at Northwest Creative Imaging help you with trade show display ideas. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of NWCI’s experts today.

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Trade Show Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

Like most industries today, the evolution of trade show technology has been rapid over the last half century. Providing an engaging experience to trade show attendees has remained the consistent goal, with each year bringing forth new enhancements.

Exhibitors can stand out by creatively using technology in their trade show design services. Using technology to attract people to your booth, make your product stand out and provide a valuable user experience provides a marketing advantage over your competition.

These advancements provide the blueprint to acquiring more leads in a shorter time frame. Where the past would require careful tracking of potential and existing customers through a personnel touch, technology can expand that reach through tools such as lead retrieval apps.

What does the future hold for trade show technology? The tenets of trade show success remain the same: give visitors to your booth an educational, valuable and engaging experience. However, how you communicate that with exhibit goers and how they receive and process that message will no doubt continue to evolve.

Trade Show Technology

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A Noobs Guide To San Diego Comic Con 2014

San Diego Comic Con 2014(July 24-27) is expected to once again see over 100,000 people attend this world renowned convention. Of the attendees, many are veterans with years of attendance under their belts. For others, Comic Con 2014 will be the first time experiencing this extravaganza of an event. For those conference rookies, this infographic provides a humorous San Diego Comic Con Guide that will help you make the most of your time.



The sheer size of the San Diego Convention Center coupled with the never ending character of the event makes for endless sights to see. Not to mention all of the interactions to be had throughout the four day conference. As much as you may want to see it all, it would take a super hero effort to do so. With a bit of reconnaissance ahead of attending, you can scope out the best way to treat your experience.

Whether you are at Comic Con to network with industry insiders, meet with your favorite illustrator or to see and be seen by cosplayers, this guide will provide you with the lay of the land to enhance your experience.

For even more great stuff on the event, check out the Comic Con 2014 Insider’s Guide for specifics about this year’s conference.

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Tent Usage for Outdoor Business Events

When the summer heat strikes, but an outdoor event is in the cards, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered, literally. Outdoor business events pose unique challenges that test even the most experienced event and show planning professionals.

A variety of circumstances can alter an outdoor planned business event. From inclement weather to catering snafus, outdoor events seem more accident-prone. Among the areas to be covered below are tips on location, weather, proper tent selection, setup, adaptability and overall display.

In this article we’ll take a look at each of these elements and how they interact to provide you with the perfect business event setup.

Key Differences in Indoor and Outdoor Events

outdoor event logoIf you’ve attended, or had a table at any indoor business events, then I’m sure you’re able to discern the main difference between indoor and outdoor events. Weather is probably the most-discussed variable. Your day can begin with perfect weather for the event, but by the start time, can turn into something far nastier.  It’s important to have the right tent display for business events.

Because of this, outdoor events take a more significant amount of planning than indoor counterparts. The biggest difference comes down to tent usage and setup. It helps to get your mindset ready for the challenges you may encounter along the way.

Unpredictable Weather

All the best planing and preparation of an event by show organizers can be disrupted by poor weather. But rarely are events cancelled even during rough weather days or nights. So to ensure showing your tent display to its best effect even during poor weather, here are a few tips to consider:

– Bring heavy rocks, weights or clamps to hold items down in case of high winds. You can secure your brochures and other printed materials in place, clamp down the table coverings, and even use weighted materials to steady a tent in the wind.

– If rain is in the forecast, but the event is still happening, then come prepared with extra plastic drop sheets to have to use over your display items.

Unstable Environment

It’s possible that your tent display might be set up near the show DJ tent, and you might be having to “Get Lucky” or “Happy” all day long. Of course, this is a tough environment to make new customers, so work with the show organizer to see if your tent can be moved elsewhere.  If not, just try to make the best of it. Who knows, the music may draw more people to your display than anticipated, and you may have the DJ to thank. Just remember to provide an outstanding experience to the event goers, to ensure that your company or organization will stay remembered.

– Use the outdoor elements to win over prospects. Perhaps a wind pinwheel might provide the right touch for someone to walk into your tent booth display. Sometimes just business cards don’t work.

– Offer an hourly event at your display, either a drawing for swag or a contest to win some new customer attention.

The Proper Tent

Choose the right size of tent for your business needs. Large tent displays work better in

custom outdoor event tent

NWCI Custom 10×20 Event Tent

large event spaces. Small tents would look awkward in a large space, so make sure to achieve the right fit for the tent display.

Will you be in colder temperature? Or harsh sunlight? Some large tent displays come with sides that can be taken down to protect from bright sun or wind. When the weather is calm, you can pull the sides up.

Setup Time

Some tent displays are easy to set up. Others take several persons to achieve it. Make sure you know what you’re getting into with setup time when selecting the right tent.

If your tent takes too long to set up, then you may have to rush with the rest of your trade show display, which will detract from the overall power. On the other hand, if you have a lot of employees on deck, then a larger tent has the potential to be set up very quickly with the added manpower.

Branded Design

Will you have branded graphics on your tent display? If so, you’ll need to leave extra time before the event to get that process finalized. But the extra time will be worth it. Branding your tent allows you to send a stronger message to your potential customers. It also helps you stand out from the flood of white or unbranded tents that are more common at outdoor business events.

For a personalized review of your outdoor tent display needs, contact Northwest Creative Imaging  to discuss your needs. NWCI can help you pinpoint the best tent display, and other areas like flooring, lighting, technology and graphics options to help you meet your branding, visitor-attraction and budget needs.

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Trade Show Booth Regulations

Understanding trade show booth regulations is one of the first things to check off of your to do list in preparation for a trade show or convention. Whether you are a first time or seasoned trade show attendee, knowledge of regulations allows you to make the best decision about how to position your exhibit.

Trade show booth guidelines vary across shows, so be sure to check in advance regarding specifics. Regulations surrounding booth dimensions, spacing, lighting and emitting noise are key components of any booth. Because everyone at the show has to work within the same restrictions, creativity is especially important in how you display your booth.

Trade Show Booth Regulations

Trade Show Booth Regulations Infographic

Selecting the right booth space can result in better traffic and more leads, but certain regulations imposed by the show can diminish advertising exposure. Research every show to insure your current booth or possible booth purchase will work within the show regulations. Island and peninsula booths offer the most advertising area because most shows allow hanging banners and tall booth backdrops.

Remember to check all of the fine print for lighting restrictions, flooring requirements, and set up regulations. Many trade show events have regulations on which exhibitors can set up on their own booth. Size, weight, and materials often contribute to regulatory rules. Many shows also require low wattage or LED lighting due to fire marshal regulations. This is very important to check because if your booth is using halogen lights you may be stuck with no lighting for the show. Keep in mind we have also seen shows that have requirements on the type of flooring or graphic substrates that can be used in the booth space.

Many show contractors have very specific show requirements including dates to ship to an advanced warehouse or directly to the show. Shipping to the wrong address on the wrong date can result in higher fees charged by the contractor. Many shows allow exhibitors to carry in their booths, but some shows have restrictions on the size or weight of items being carried into the show.

Carefully checking the show contractors guidelines can make or break an event. Be sure to read in depth and keep this infographic handy for any future shows you are attending. Contact Northwest Creative Imaging if you have any questions on booths that will work within show regulations!



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Using Twitter to Improve your Trade Show Campaign

Getting attention at a busy trade show can be tough; there are countless distractions and opportunities all going on at the same time.  However, trade shows and vendors using social media can find quicker ways to stand out, forge meaningful interactions and develop potential customer relationships. Here are ways that trade show attendees and vendors can use Twitter to great effect to maximize their visibility and outreach.

Flitter into the Fast Lane with Twitter

Trade shows have become much more productive in recent years, thanks to an increasing use of Twitter by attendees, speakers and vendors alike. Using Twitter on mobile devices and laptops is helping to keep everyone working more efficiently, enabling more meetings and gaining better overall business results.

Twitter allows users to connect with their circle of “followers” and receive updates from them in their news feed.  Twitter’s immediacy encourages up-to-the-minute posts about what people are doing or thinking.  In a professional context, Twitter means instant communication that pays off in a big way.

How Twitter Works

Twitter users should download the Twitter app to their phone, and then set up a profile. Next step is to search for people in the industry that you want to follow. When that’s good to go, a user can start to Tweet. Posts on Twitter or “Tweets” are short (up to 140 characters – its simplicity is its genius).  A sample trade show Tweet might be “Great turnout today at [name of trade show],” or “Big sponsor giveaway happening right now in conference room A!”.

Using Twitter to Improve your Trade Show CampaignTrade show organizers usually offer Twitter users a conference ‘hashtag’ to get insights into what is happening and what is being said about the conference. A hashtag is an organizational tool for Twitter topics, using the # as the hashtag, followed by the word to be searched. In other words, the XYZ conference might use the hashtag #xyzconference for Twitter users to follow along on the social media network.

The popularity of hashtags can sometime overwhelm users, especially in relation to mega events like the Grammys (#Grammys) or the Super Bowl (#SB48). When millions of Twitter users are using the same hashtag, the sheer volume of tweets can become incredible. Fortunately, this only happens at the largest of trade shows like CES and other massive industry trade shows.

Pre-Show Promoting via Tweets

Before a show actually starts, many attendees and vendors use conference hashtags to promote the trade show on the front-end. Find the hashtag for the show on the show’s website or Twitter page and us it in your posts.  That’s the best way to let your industry and attendees know you will be participating at a trade show.

An example of a promotional Tweet using hashtags would be, “Looking forward to #tradeshow2014! Come see us next to the northwest entry way!” Using the hashtag in your Tweet would get your post to both your feed and to the show’s feed, providing much broader online visibility for your company.

The more posts you have with your hashtag, the easier you are to find.  So, in addition to the event’s hashtag, you can use another of your own or find another popular one that will also draw in your audience (ex: #tradeshowgiveaway). Note that Twitter advises using no more than two hashtags per Tweet.

Here are a few steps to take using Twitter before a major tradeshow:

  • Plan for the event: Find the right hashtags for your show, along with the organizer’s show hashtag, for early insights into special events, parties, meeting opportunities or sales leads.
  • Use Twitter to market your products: This is where you can share information about you ads, products, videos, blog posts or landing pages that relate to the conference.
  • Search for industry influencers: Find key media outlets and other industry influencers that will be at the show, and introduce yourself or your company to them. It may pay off well while you’re at the show.

In addition, Twitter can be used to initiate a dialogue among followers (ex: “What are you looking forward to most at #tradeshow2014?”).  The bigger the conversation gets the more visibility you have.

Using Twitter during the Show

Be forewarned – at a major trade show, Twitter can play a key role, and its speed is sometimes overwhelming for new users. But here are some key tips for any Twitter user at a trade show:

  • Stay tuned to Twitter: During the show, post photos, read hashtags, share observations and respond to others to become an integral part of the Twitter information flow. You might even get conference invites that you weren’t expecting.
  • Be unpredictable: Maybe your trade show team can offer an unexpected prize for visitors to your booth. Or you could launch a rate cut on services for an hour to build up new clients.

These live-action Tweets are useful because they get shared by the Tweeter’s followers, which get shared with others and can lead to more followers.  Continue to use the show’s hashtag, and any others more specific to your company or industry.

Using Social Media to Follow-Up

When a trade show ends, then the follow-up period begins. Work to make connections in the post-show interactions.

  • Follow up: Contact the prospects after the show with information about your brand. You can even try to remember particular things a prospect said about working with you.
  • Send thank you tweets: Follow up a day or two after the show with tweets about cool people you met, solid connections you started and more.
  • Open a dialogue among attendees: For Example, “What did everyone enjoy most about the weekend? #tradeshow2014”).

The most important thing Twitter does for a trade show is that it helps increase visibility between the show, its vendors, and the attendees.  Twitter networking also promotes meaningful interactions with attendees.  By inviting attendees to comment on Twitter feeds, trade shows make their guests and their opinions feel valued.  Using Twitter promotes long-term relationships among clients and trade shows. Start tweeting and get ready for your next trade show.

Northwest Creative Imaging, LLC (NWCI) is a well-established, online retailer of quality trade show products. NWCI has been in the trade show and manufacturing business for years, and offers several lines of products to accommodate all budgets. NWCI knows the importance of using Twitter at trade shows as a great way for your business to stand out for promotional purposes.

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Benefits of a Trade Show App

Trade show apps are cost-effective, eco-friendly means of instantly communicating with and reaching out to consumers.  Apps are customizable and vary in terms of cost and functionality.  They can be used for everything ranging from data collection to lead generation.  Apps help trade shows stay relevant and keep in touch with consumers.

Getting Connected: There’s an App…

With the rise of mobile phones as the dominant connectivity device for people, it’s no surprise that dedicated apps on our phone are becoming more popular in business and personal circles. From apps for fitness and artistic endeavors, to apps for generating sales leads and business conversions, these tiny tech tools are connecting us daily with services, products and companies.  A couple of screen icons tapped and an amazing trove of information is at one’s fingertips.

Apple’s App Store recorded a record-breaking $10 billion in 2013 sales. That annual figure includes huge numbers of about 3 billion-plus downloads and over $1 billion in sales for December 2013 alone, according to Apple. Other sources report that new app businesses have created at least 500,000 U.S. jobs and are expected to grow to a $46 billion marketplace (from today’s $25 billion) by 2016.

Benefits of a Trade Show AppThe “apps for tradeshows” industry is growing fast. There are companies making tradeshow apps and even this year’s Winter Olympics has its own app, which is expected to cover nearly 100 medal events and stream over 1,000 hours of coverage. For tradeshow vendors, apps are literally golden tickets to having direct, immediate, and constant access to customers.

Benefits Beyond Access

Access is just one obvious benefit of using apps to promote your trade show. Then again, there are other avenues of access opened by social media. First, apps can be used on any technological device.  Most people use apps on their tablets and smartphones. Trade show apps are flexible enough to help a lot of users, but targeted to one platform, so it retains a sense of relevancy for end users.

Second, apps have multiple applications and benefits.  A few are:

  • Trade show maps: Apps have maps of trade show floors for vendors and customers to navigate and coordinate those gigantic spaces. This in turn facilitates more meaningful connections with targeted locations.
  • Updated info: People can get up-to-the-minute information via an app, whether it is a last-minute speaker line-up change or a promotional activity that requires action. Having the trade show can be an advantage over a social media update, which may not be seen by everyone.
  • Better connections: Apps help promote better connections between customers and vendors.  Some apps allow exhibitors to have their brochures directly uploaded and stored on the app, which means: (1) customers can get to the brochure with ease, with (2) no waste to the environment and (3) no extra paperwork to misplace.
  • Good lead generation: Apps can provide instant, easy, affordable lead generation that is readily accessible, along with storing business contact information from new trade show contacts.
  • Track schedules: People can track their schedules using the app.  Large trade shows with conferences and other activities can be difficult to navigate leaving vendors and consumers checking their itineraries for when and where they should be.
  • Apps beat paper waste: Cut down on waste by using an app to get organized in terms of communication, marketing, and making connections.
  • Customized apps:  Some apps let users build the app from the ground up; others allow for features to be added.

Amazing Apps

There are plenty of great apps specifically designed for users to augment and tailor to their own specific industries. Here are a few: (Check to see if these apps run on iOS or Android platforms, or both.)

  • Intellisale: This easy-to-use, customizable Lead Generation App gets permission from possible leads to allow for automatic e-mail campaigns.
  • QuickTapSurvey: Here’s an app that builds customer profiles. It’s perfect for market research, immediate customer feedback, capturing leads, and collecting face-to-face and kiosk data.
  • iLeads:, iLeads offers financial service product lead prospecting to help exhibitors identify the best prospective clients.
  • Event Board Mobile:  Feedback is critical to the future of trade show success; so this app focuses on feedback and surveys.
  • AppBaker:  This app is perfect for a smaller or DIY trade show. AppBaker is free to try and lets users build their own app from the ground up, test it, and then launch it.
  • A2z: Data is synced seamlessly between an event’s website and the customer’s mobile device thanks to this app.

There are endless opportunities and benefits in using apps to promote, support and build business at  trade shows.  By using an app, trade shows can guarantee interactive and engaging customer experiences along with instant, comprehensive feedback and lead generation.

Northwest Creative Imaging, LLC (NWCI) is an experienced company dedicated to bringing customers high-quality trade show materials to customers on any budget.  NWCI also prides itself on comprehensive customer service by providing assistance, guidance, and support from start to finish.  NWCI has extensive experience in both trade shows and manufacturing and understands the necessity to stay on top of current trends like having an app or using social media.  NWCI knows all the “tricks of the trade” show, and they don’t mind sharing them.

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Top Complaints from Conference Attendees

Most attendee complaints at conferences pertain to lack of technology, poor customer services, and inefficient follow-up.  While exhibitors cannot always resolve every complaint at every show, there are steps they can take to ensure most attendee complaints are resolved.

Attendee Trade Show Complaints

Addressing negative feedback can be challenging at times; however, if trade show exhibitors listen carefully, the complaints can actually greatly improve a business.

The Most Common Complaints

Some complaints are universally shared by attendees and exhibitors alike; there are some frustrations that are outside of the exhibitor’s control; however, there are some things that can be done by exhibitors to address attendee complaints.

  • No Internet: Fix this by ensuring the venue offers Internet before signing on.
  • Lack of customization: When trade show offer little flexibility, improvise with technology.
  • Inadequate use of social media: Incorporate social media and technology into communicating germane information like dates, times, contests, events, etc.
  • Poor promotion of new products: Attendees like to know what is new; advertising new products before the show is solid mitigation approach.
  • Inattentive staff: Exhibitors are too interested in technological devices to pay attention to the attendee; attendees who see exhibitors paying more attention to their phones are likely to keep walking.
  • Poor social skills: Having a bowl of candy and brochures on a display are fine, but without human interaction, attendees will lose interest.
  • Cluttered exhibit spaces: Most trade shows provide additional chairs as part of the package, so bringing extra and putting them in front of the table hides the booth and makes it feel crowded.
  • No follow-up: After establishing a relationship with an attendee, the exhibitor fails to reach out to interested leads.

Some attendee complaints can be mitigated by having a nicer display or by exercising better customer service techniques.    Exhibitors can address customer complaints, however, by ensuring their trade show choice has all of the features they need to successfully display their organization.

Northwest Creative Imaging is an honest, transparent online retailer dealing in trade show display products, design services, and customer support.  The company provides products in economy, standard, and premium lines, which can accommodate anyone trade show exhibitor’s budget.  By providing services to ensure exhibitors have quality, well-designed displays, exhibitors can minimize complaints from conference attendees.

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Trade Show Highlight: Game Developers Conference

The Game Developers Conference is the premier conference and expo event in the game development industry.  Having celebrated its 25th year in 2011, the GDC is the longest-running and largest “professionals only” gaming conference worldwide, with last year’s show boasting over 23,000 attendees.  The March 17-21, 2014 conference in San Francisco promises to be another exciting event where attendees and exhibitors will have the opportunity to form career- advancing partnerships and gain inspiration for future developments.

It’s Game Time at the Gaming Developers Conference

What started as a casual rendezvous among 25 developers nearly three decades ago has morphed into the largest and longest-running “professionals-only” game industry event. Now, the Game Developers Conference® brings together over 23,000 programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio experts, and business leaders together to discuss and learn about all things gaming.  For five days, these gaming enthusiasts take in informative sessions, lectures, panels, tutorials, boot camps and roundtable discussions.

The 2014 Game Developers Conference will be held from Monday, March 17 – Friday March 21 with the expo taking place March 19 – March 21. Gaming professionals from all industries have been showing up at the yearly event. In 2013, the breakdown of gaming pros came from the following areas:

  • Visual arts  and Game design
  • Programming / engineering
  • Audio Production
  • Business Management
  • Other

About the Conference: Tracks, Sessions & Who Attends

Trade Show Highlight: Game Developers ConferenceIn its infancy, GDC was primarily about computer games, though it has since expanded to cover a plethora of gaming platforms (in addition to computers) including:

  • Gaming consoles
  • Handheld devices
  • Mobile Gaming
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Online Gaming

The GDC conference sessions are separated into seven tracks and eight summits to ensure that each session is jam-packed with relevant information for any gaming professional. Here are the tracks:

  • Advocacy Track
  • Audio Track
  • Business, Marketing, & Management Track
  • Design Track
  • Production Track
  • Programming Track
  • Visual Arts Track

On the opening conference days (March 17-18), the GDC’s summits will seek to promote building communities in various specific gaming industry sectors.  The summits are:

  • AI Summit
  • Free to Play (F2P) Design & Business Summit
  • Game Narrative Summit
  • GDC Education Summit
  • Independent Games Summit
  • Localization Summit
  • QA Summit
  • Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit

A typical gaming show attendee has about six years of experience and 10 game titles under their belts.  Just over half of the attendees at last year’s show reported that the Expo Floor was the main reason for attending. The top four follow-up actions were:

  • Visiting an exhibitor’s website
  • Sending an e-mail
  • Requesting more information
  • Downloading a GDC Session from the GDC Vault

Sessions, tracks, and the expo provide a fulfilling experience for attendees leaving them more motivated and better connected after the week-long event.

Who to See

Given the scope of the conference and expo, dozens of experts are available to sit on each panel.  The GDC session scheduler and accompanying app (http://app.gdconf.com/) allows conference attendees to save a seat in the sessions they wish to attend, including the #1ReasonToBe panel, which features:

  • Brenda Romero, award-winning game designer, artist , writer, and creative director
  • Lauren E. Scott, game designer
  • Colleen Macklin, game designer, associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design
  • Anna Kipnis, Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions
  • Diedra “Squinky” Kiai, artist and storyteller behind Dominique Pamplemousse
  • Leigh Alexander: Editor-at-large with Gamasutra
  • Laralyn McWilliams, Studio Design Director at The Workshop Entertainment

Attendee Passes

Prospective attendees can register via online, mail, or fax.  Individuals or groups may register; groups that register can mix and match popular passes and save 10% off the total pass purchase.  Of the six types of event passes, there are five available:

  • All Access Pass
  • Main Conference Pass
  • Summits, Tutorials, & Boot Camps Pass
  • Audio Track Pass
  • Expo Pass
  • Student Expo Pass (available Friday only)

Each pass offers different levels of access into the event; costs vary from $195 (expo) to $2,100 (all access).  Show hours are 10am-6pm Wednesday and Thursday, March 17/18, and 10am-3pm on Friday, March 19.

Exhibitor Details

Exhibitors who wish to register for the expo need to log into Exhibitor Portal (just click on “forgot password” for first-time users) or contact gdcsaleshelp@ubm.com for assistance.

The Standard Booth available to exhibitors is an all-black 10’ x 10’ booth with a back and sidewall drape and a table skirt; the discount deadline ends February 24.  Additional services for features like:

  • Telecommunication and Internet
  • Computer and audiovisual
  • Floral and plant
  • Security
  • Photography
  • Lead retrieval information

Where to Stay

GDC Convention Housing Partners is the official housing company and facilitates making reservations online via the GD SF 2014 link or at GDChotels.com.  Over 40 hotels are providing discounted rates for the conference.  Guests can book, modify, or cancel hotel registrations at any time (note cancellation policies vary by hotel).  Listed among the 40 hotels are:

  • Adagio
  • Chancellor
  • Courtyard
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hilton Union Square
  • JW Marriott, Marriott Marquis, Marriott Union Square
  • Nikko
  • Weston St. Francis, Weston Market Street
  • InterContinental

The GDC is a premier event among game development professionals.  As the longest-running most high-profile gaming event, attendees and exhibitors are sure to make new, useful contacts that will elevate their careers and advance their collective and individual knowledge.

Northwest Creative Imaging, LLC (NWCI) is an online show trade show retailer with extensive experience in the trade show industry. NWCI offers a wide variety of high-quality trade show products suitable for any customer’s budget.  Additionally, NWCI provides comprehensive customer assistance and guidance before, during, and after a purchase.  In its continued support to customers, NWCI also shares information about upcoming tradeshow opportunities for its customers.

**Northwest Creative Imaging is not affiliated with the upcoming Game Developers Conference.**

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