Have you been wanting to maximize your results with a trade show association or if you are an association do you want to help your exhibitors get better ROI by exhibiting at your show? In this interview, Randy Bauler,CEM and Corporate Relations & Exhibits Director at American Association of Critical-Care Nurses(AACN) shares advice about how to take your events to the next level in exposition education, booth space selection, sponsorship and how you can join an exhibitor advisory council (EAC).
Exposition Education: It is an opportunity to provide CE credit to attendees in a theater setting.
- AACN offers 51 theaters, 200 topics that are presented 650 times over the course of the show.
- Exhibitors that include KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders) to present content generate the best attendance.
- Conferences that offer CE credits on the show floor like AACN provide the opportunity for attendees to stay current (in the case of AACN, nurses can put CE credits towards renewing their licenses.
- Attendees want to learn and get education along with hands-on applications. Associations that offer CE credits on the show floor provide exhibitors a way to draw attendees to their exhibit and interact with them in a “non” sales format.
- Healthcare conferences for nurses enable attendees to become educated on the show floor and take the knowledge back to their hospitals and share it with other nurses.
Selecting an Exhibit Space:You can often select next year’s space while at the show.
- Evaluate opportunities and consider a position near learning centers or special sponsored areas like the Rest and Relaxation area at AACN.
- How you bring traffic to your exhibit is more important than focusing on selecting a strategic location.
- Associations get attendees to the show-what do you do to drive traffic to your booth?
- Priority Point System is based on an accumulation of key criteria. Exhibitors earn points based on the size of the booth (1 point for every 100 feet of space at AACN). In addition, history/loyalty points matter. Points for advertising/sponsorship, year-round support also play a part. AACN also offers points if you stay in their housing block.
Sponsorship opportunities:You have the ability to explore options outside of what is offered.
- Customize a sponsorship to achieve greater exposure to the attendee. Most exhibitors say “let me see your list of opportunities- what can we do to customize” and work with the association to develop the best offering.
- Engagement with attendee is more important than exposure. An example Randy shared is that while nurses are waiting for their seated message at the Rest and Relaxation lounge, the sponsoring company has greeters to interact with attendees, getting to know them and work the line before the nurse gets their message.
- Receptions offer an additional opportunity to interact and engage with attendees and the host company is encouraged to mingle and make connections. At AACN, a sponsoring company is able to have senior management speak for a few moments. Products can be on display at a sponsored reception giving companies a second opportunity to engage with attendees.
Ways to Get Involved with Associations: Join an Advisory Council.
- Most shows have an exhibitor advisory council or committee-they invite representatives to talk about the event.
- Being on the EAC (Exhibitor Advisory Council) gives companies the chance to increase visibility in the industry and gain recognition.
- At AACN the only purpose is to make the experience better for exhibitors and attendees.
Favorite Resource:HCEA-Healthcare Convention and Exhibitor’s Association. In healthcare, HCEA is a unique organization that includes exhibitors, show management and suppliers together. The HCEA events enable attendees to meet with peers, customers, potential customers and suppliers to the industry.
If you have any questions about this episode, reach out to me, I love hearing from you!A big thank you to Randy Bauler for doing a two-part interview!