When registering exhibitors for your event, one problem you may come across is deciding how to issue booths to your exhibitors. Exhibitors usually don’t want to be in a close proximity to their competitors and probably want to be near other companies that compliment theirs. For example, one exhibitor that sells roofing supplies may be better suited next to another exhibitor that offers home siding as opposed to one that sells mortgages because the people that are attracted to one booth could potentially be interested in the other. As an event manager, your ultimate responsibility is to make your event the best it can be for your attendees and your exhibitors, and one aspect of your event you can control is where your exhibitors end up on the showroom floor. Here are three tips for making sure your exhibitors are put where they need to be.
Show Them The Floor
When registering for your event, make sure that the exhibitors can see a layout of the exhibition hall so they can see how the booths will be set up and the booth numbers. As booths are assigned the display should allow prospective exhibitors to see who they might end up next to. Giving the exhibitors all the information they need is a way that you can help them make an informed selection. Some online registration or event management tools can create a downloadable file that displays an interactive layout of the exhibit space, so make sure you get a map of the conference hall from your event space.
Give Them Options
When the registering exhibitor sees the floor layout they will probably have a few preferences as to where their booth should be, but at the same time, allowing them to choose their assignment may have consequences. For example, if you have a long time vendor that always has the same booth they could lose it to someone that registers before them. Putting the wrong vendor in the wrong place may end up spoiling someone’s day, so we suggest that you ask for their booth assignment preferences (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.) on the registration form and assigning them to a booth yourself. This allows you to try to accommodate your vendors while still being able to fix any layout problems before the event begins.
Make The Rules
Provide your exhibitors with some guidelines on how you will distribute booth assignments so they know what to expect from you. Are you going to assign booths on a first come first served basis? Is it based on the number of prior years the exhibitor has been at your event? We know of one organization that uses a “points system” to assign booths at their events. Points are awarded for attending previous events and if two exhibitors want the same booth the one with the most points wins. Some organizations use the date and the time of registration to determine who registered first and award booths that way. This approach worked for one organization we have worked with; within 15 minutes of opening up registration all their booths were filled because vendors had queued up to register. Because their registration forms were time stamped the event coordinator was able to assign booths quickly and easily on a first come first served basis.
While enabling your vendors and exhibitors to book their own booths may sound like a great way to save yourself some time, in reality it can cause more trouble than its worth. By showing them the floor, giving them options, and making the rules you can greatly improve the way that you register exhibitors for your next event. To learn more about event registration and event management software with great tools for registering exhibitors, including the booth layout form and the booth preference registration forms, download our free whitepaper or request a live demo.