Exploring Exhibitor Booth Management and Online Registration: A Global Approach
Jan 26, 2011

Who remembers the days when we used our phones to call travel agents to purchase airline tickets? The calls, the phone-tag, the long pauses of silence as you listened to the sound of your agent's keyboard clicking away. Seems so long ago, right? This move towards online ticketing and sales of airline tickets has launched us into a new and exciting level of efficiency. Not only is buying airline tickets practically flawless, we can even on certain sites choose our seats and food options. Now, we all know that online registration for events is nothing new. We've been buying concert tickets from Ticketmaster since 1999.


But even still, registering for a conference with concurrent educational sessions while purchasing a table for the keynote for you and your colleagues requires a lot more finesse in terms of software. Of course the options in the marketplace are tremendous with almost every imaginable feature available, needless to say, depending on how much you are willing to pay. But now here's something new: has anyone seen, on one global platform, the ability to provide online registrations and sell exhibitor booths?


The technology, according to Jimmy Brake owner of DW Alliance, is a no-brainer, and is not dissimilar to that of the organic movement of how we have been purchasing airline tickets in the last decade. For nearly ten years, DW Alliance has been creating brandable event registration sites. Over the years, DW has seen about an 85% uptake from manual and fax registrations to online registrations. Now with the newest developments, an event planner on DWevent can set up their exhibit hall floor plans, and provide access for both attendees and exhibitors to register online and purchase conference hall space, respectively, themselves. The backend tools allows traditional sales team to continue to sell booths.  In other words, there is one single platform that allows event planners to manage both of these components. DWevent, DW Alliance's suite of event modules provides this comprehensive solution for effective management of attendee and booth related activities. Brake believes that if booth registration has the same trajectory as online registration, this will be the new latest and greatest for some time to come in the event management space.


For those who are not already navigating the frustrating world of functioning within multiple platforms, with the separated databases, importing and exporting nightmares, merging documents, inconsistent reports, and the more financial factors of  per-seat charges, exhorbitant staffing costs, the question becomes, What are the benefits of being on one platform? For DW, it is as easy as the abc's.


a. Absolutely intuitive and visual. Just create an event and upload the conference floor layout in png or jpg format and get started on our floor plan generator with easy-to-spot color-coding options. There is no need for extra software. All you and your exhibitor needs is Internet Explorer 7+ or Firefox 3+. Simply hover your mouse over color-coded reserved spaces, and the system will automatically display the name and booth number of the exhibitor.

b. Breakneck speed. Bulk uploads of booth purchases allow you to manage all your preliminary data on a spreadsheet and upload everything at once! Quickly and seamlessly download your event data to Salesforce, SugarCrm, and other databases.


c. Cogent. Maintain your entire event from managing attendees to booths, from scanning to speaker management on one global system. Once you have uploaded your conference floor plan, you can identify sections, sell booth spaces, and upload exhibitor information with just a few clicks of the mouse. Are your exhibitors also attending classes? Even better, because that is where DWEvents really shines. What if your exhibitors need extra tables and outlets? No problem, just find the company in the database, click on the options they want, and then send them an email with a system-generated invoice prompting payment for these additional items online.


Essentially, you have to ask, can you envision your website as a place where you entice visitors to come to your trade show, provide event registration, as well as sell booths? How much time and money do you want to save?


There is good news, especially for trade show administrators who don't have their own technology team to back up their tech-needs or unlimited resources for the most costly tools of the trade. Now these event planners and conference coordinators no longer have to feel left listening to the preverbial click clicking of the travel agents, waiting for the next big thing. They can try out the global platform to manage all the elements of their events from the comfort of their own homes, all for an affordable rate. The CES show’s message this year was “convergence” touting products that allow us to access what we need where ever. In the spirit of convergence, now we can sit in our digital living rooms and manage our events on one platform using enterprise-grade management tools.


This capability gives the trade show floor experience a new light before, during and after the conference for your exhibitors as well. As an exhibitor, I will be able to view the conference layout online, purchase my booth online, see where I will be located, upload my corporate information and logo, and periodically check in to see who is moving in next door and contact them if say, I want to meet them for lunch beforehand. We know that at any trade show, knowing your vendor booths in relation to one another is vital to a successful trade conference. During the conference, using the handy iPhone guests will be able to see the conference hall, and locate what booth I am in, and perhaps read my profile before visiting. Maybe they'll take note that I am having a drawing for a new iPad at 3pm and they need to be at the booth to win. Instead of collecting business cards, I might scan their barcoded badges so that I can follow up with them post conference. Automatically, this data is pulled into my exhibitor sales leads database. Is this yet another way to generate revenue from my exhibitors in the guise of a time-saving tool for them? Maybe someone at the business center wants to run a list of exhibitors to do some research on service options. By going through the event website, they will be able to see and download this list of exhibitors with links to their websites. Post conference, this list can be email blasted to all attendees, compliments of the happy and at ease conference producers.

Remember, if you want to expand on your trade show management experience as a manager of the event as well as for your clients, you can now choose a option that offers global solutions for both online registration and booth management. It is as easy as the abc's.




Written by: Linda M. Lee

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