Sometimes the most practical place to host your after-hours customer/prospect event is in your exhibit. The benefits include cost savings on space rental—and you already have branding and demos in place. Plus, your attendees are already on site so you don’t need to provide transportation.
The challenge is that, typically, these receptions start right at close of show or an hour after. So how do you orchestrate a streamlined transition that can take place in relatively no time at all?
For answers, we reached out to 3D Exhibits account director Tanya Peterson. Tanya’s experience includes transitioning a 16,500-square foot space from exhibit to event for 500 guests—and back again—in just 30 minutes, on three consecutive nights.
Here are Tanya’s best practices for creating an exhibit that seamlessly transitions into an evening event space:
- Keep the event flow in mind as you plan the booth. During the planning phase and as you create your exhibit plan and architecture, keep it in the back of your head at all times that there is going to be an event in this space too. “We look at elements and areas and think, ‘how will this work for our event,’ before we commit to them,” says Tanya.
- Have a firm plan in place for EVERYTHING before you arrive onsite. It’s tempting to leave some decisions for show site—but don’t. When it’s time to transition your space from exhibit to event, you need to know exactly what you need to get done because you won’t have time to change things around if you don’t like them.
- Leave enough space. Regardless of what you’re bringing in for your event, from a jazz combo or cigar roller to food and beverage stations, be sure to leave enough open space to accommodate the activity and space for people to congregate around the activity to observe. Plus, you’ll also need additional space for people to walk through on their way to other areas of your booth.
- Think double usage. The last thing you want to have to do when you only have minutes to prepare for an event is move large items around—or bring in new architecture. And you certainly don’t want to have to move items back to their original locations or tear them down in the middle of the night to prepare for the exhibit the following day. The solution is to work your large elements into both your exhibit and event plans. For example, if you need a stage or a big LED screen for your event, use them for your exhibit too. A stage that will be used for awards or a presentation at night can double as a booth attract or live presentation theater during the day. Monitors and LED walls can also be used for both events by swapping out the day content with something produced with messaging that related specifically to the event.
- Plan the logistics of the transition in detail. It may seem like overkill to think through how many catering personnel will be needed, number of deliveries and what routes they should use to enter exhibit—but it’s not. Your transition will be far more orderly if you have a comprehensive plan for what comes in, in what order, where it enters the exhibit, and who is in charge.
- Assign help. You can’t be everywhere at once, so lean on your team for support. Everyone should be well briefed on their specific responsibility and stay on that task until it’s complete.
- Keep notes. Recording what works and suggestions for improvement ensures an even more streamlined transition next time.
What tactics do you use to seamlessly transition your booth into an evening event space? Shoot us an email. We’d love to know.