If you are doing exhibitor management the old fashioned way then you are spending a lot of time faxing or mailing or processing paper forms sent to and from your exhibitors. You probably have huge spreadsheets of information. Likewise, you prospective exhibitor probably has a special “folder” of all the paper that’s been passed and forth, which has consumed a great deal of the exhibitor’s and your time. Furthermore, the money the exhibitor can be sending you is slowed down with mailings and manual credit card processing.
Do you want to cut out this paperwork and receive revenue from your exhibitors faster? Here are a few very simple things you can do.
- Use email to communicate with your exhibitors. If you don’t have their emails, then launch a separate campaign to get that information.
- Have an Exhibitors tab on your trade show web site. It should be on the main menu and obvious.
- Put the exhibitor prospectus and agreement on your exhibitor page. Link to it when you email the exhibitors!
- Show your rates and fees on another easy to find page.
- Now here is the key part – allow your exhibitors to purchase their booth online. There are two ways to do this.
- If it is at all possible, use online interactive trade show software so that the exhibitor can literally point and click on the booth that he or she wants to purchase.
- If you prefer to control which booth an exhibitor goes in then use an online purchasing form which includes preferences for the booths desired.
- The online booth purchasing form should include, at a minimum, the following elements:
- The primary booth contact for billing purposes
- The exhibitor’s marketing contact for the published trade show material
- The URL of their web site
- A place for product descriptions
- A link to the exhibitor agreement. There should be a required box that says that the buyer has read the agreement.
- Payment options. You should make every effort to accept credits card online. Read this article if you’d like to know how to go online with credit card processing.
- An email confirmation with receipt and details of what has been purchased. You should include your Exhibit Manager’s full contact information on this email and other critical information.
- Remember, processing credit cards online means you get your money right away! Also, if you have the interactive floor map, exhibitors will buy their booth sooner because they will see the available booths being sold.
- After the booth is purchased, the exhibitor should have their own account where he or she can return to their record. Updates and new purchases should be made easy and available around the clock.
- The other big part of the online purchasing process is the easier management of booth staffers. Exhibitors are notorious for not knowing who is staffing their booth until the last moment. By providing a place in the exhibitor account where staffers can be registered, you are spared the heartache of long lines onsite.
- The software should use rules to control the number of staffers that are allocated for a given both purchase. For example, a regular booth may get only one staffer while an island may allow eight.
- Your trade show software should allow you to communicate with those who have bought a booth. You should send regular emails with information about the show and encouragements to make further purchases. Also use email to prod registration of staffers.
- Both the online purchase form and exhibitor account should allow purchasing of options such as advertising, sponsorships, additional staffers, networking events, and so forth.
- The software should have a robust administrative system that makes it easy for you to move booths, set staffing levels, record and change transactions, handle cancellations and so forth.
- You will probably need similar functionality for your sponsors. While you will not need a booth map, you will need to allow them to purchase, set contact information and allocate staffers.
Bottom line – if you make it easy for the exhibitors to do what they need to do, you will save time, increase revenue and improve cash flow. If you are interested in some of the solutions mention above check out our EROnline and ERShow products. Looking for a more customized solution for your trade show, contact us today!