All you need to know about Virtual Trade Show

Aditi Singh
• November 30, 2023

(10 min read)

A trade show has been organized since Ancient times, evolving from time to time for the benefit of all. In the post-COVID world, the need for digitalization was widely realized and accepted.

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Hence, more and more Virtual Trade shows have gained popularity and started to take over the traditional trade show. Being far more cost-effective and with global reach, Virtual trade show has not just gained popularity but also acceptance, and more and more organizers are opting for a cost-effective virtual trade show. 

With new mediums come new challenges, Here we will discuss what to keep in mind when hosting a virtual trade show.

Virtual Environment:

Creating an environment as per the theme is important for any trade show, but also creating a feel for the trade show is essential for any virtual trade show. From lobby to welcoming attendees to booth, each and every detail will be noticed by attendees. 

A few points to keep in mind when creating a virtual environment for exhibitors and attendees:

  • Bewitch attendees attention with 3D lobby.
  • Design and brand the lobby, reception, auditorium, and exhibit hall according to the theme of Virtual Trade Show.
  • Design each exhibition space with the exhibitor’s brand vision and also include graphics, videos, and interactive content.
  • Tailor the experience of attendees with relevant content recommendations, making them feel valued and captivated.

Interactive Trade Show Booth:

Attendees like to interact with products or services and gain as much knowledge as possible, but of course in an interactive way. Keeping attendees attention on what matters most is important, of course, without attendees getting overwhelmed with information.

Some points for organizers and exhibitors to interact with attendees and gain their attention are:

  • Engage with visitors via text, audio, and videos.
  • Upload the product catalog, relevant demo videos, and other resources.
  • Allow attendees easy access to explore products and enable buying now.
  • Provide links to websites and social media.
  • Make the trade show more fun and interactive with the Selfie Booth.
  • Encourage sign-ups by offering swag bonus.
     

Networking:

An aspect of a successful trade show that no one can ignore is networking. In a fast-paced world where anyone hardly has time for others, networking is one of the key aspects of growing your business, and it is as important to network with your current partners as to form new alliances. A virtual trade show provides a platform to strengthen your relationships with other partners and buyers and form a long-term alliance with them. 

A few suggestions to make most of networking at your next virtual trade show:

  • Interact with attendees in 1-on-1 or group meetings via text, audio, and video meetings with relevant representatives.
  • Exchange Business cards with company representatives.
  • utilize networking space in the booth.
  • Utilize networking space in the booth, and attendees can engage in chat and react with emojis.
  • Highlight spontaneous interactions in the fluid room and let attendees find discussions that grab their attention.
  • Build interactivity and fun while getting everyone on single stage.
  • Allow attendees to build better relationships with custom networking.
  • Build your community and engage with buyers through attendee-led discussions in the lounge.

Engagement:

Holding the attention of the attendees is as difficult as bringing them to the platform. There is so much happening in the digital world that it is important to engage your audience with relevant elements and provide them with a variety of options too choose from. 

Let’s see few engaging tools to hold the attention of your attendees.

  • Build engagement with gamified elements like online trivia games, quizzes, and virtual scavenger hunts.
  • Let attendees be an active part of every event with polls, emojis, chat, CTA offers, and more.
  • Fuel engagement with Q&A and interactive demos.
  • Increase engagement with “Ask me anything” session.
  • Allow your attendees to interact with fellow attendees.
  • Host Spin the Wheel to attract more customers.

Content:

Providing right information to the attendees and partners is crucial to building trust and forming long-term alliances. The right content adhering to brand values and products is critical to hosting a successful virtual trade show. 

Let’s dive into some aspects of creating content for the show:

  • Welcome attendees with the video in the lobby.
  • Provide attendees with brochure at the customized reception.
  • Let attendees choose from variety of content and downloadables.
  • Introduce a variety of content, such as solo acts, interviews, and multi-person panels.
  • Educate attendees and buyers with best resources.
  • Pinpoint the most important content.

Event Marketing:

To host a successful event, you need a good marketing plan. Covering the target audience through a multichannel approach and attracting more and more people to an eye-catching landing page is important because, in the end, our target is to get the right audience to the right platform and participate in the virtual trade show.

 Let’s practice some effective marketing strategies to host a successful virtual trade show:

  • Promote the event with a multichannel marketing approach.
  • Drive more registrations through an eye-catching landing page.
  • Boost attendance via consistent communication, such as targeted email reminders and calendar invites.
  • Develop event buzz with early access and sneak peeks.
  • Reach out to attendees via email, survey, and social media to analyze their overall trade show experience.
  • Stay in touch with attendees after event by sharing bite-sized snippets from the event.

Reporting:

Removing the uncertainty is essential to the growth of business, and why not benefit the most from new technologies and have strong data to reap the most benefit from hosting an outstanding event? It will also be advantageous to the exhibitors and organizers post-event.

Here are some insights on how to collect data and host a world-class virtual trade show.

  • An insight into the attendee’s buying intent through in-event behavioral data
  • Receive real-time event analytics.
  • Sync event data with your CRM.
  • Real-time visitor tracking.
  • Obtain reports of booth engagements and audience engagements.
  • Evaluate the most engaging and least engaging areas.

Why hosting a Virtual Trade Show is Important

We live in a fast-paced, competitive world, and to stay ahead in business, it is important to know the latest trends as well as network with more people from the industry. Trade shows play an essential role in achieving this. 

Virtual trade shows offer a cost-effective alternative and allow attendees the flexibility and freedom to attend the event from anywhere in the world.  Hence, it is a much more comfortable option for various organizations.

It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends for the company’s growth and share ideas to enhance their market positioning. 

Here are few benefits of the Virtual Trade show:

  • Networking: Various business owners use this opportunity to collaborate with partners and build a long-term association to take their business a step ahead.
  • Brand Awareness: Attendees and exhibitors participating from different parts of the world are provided with enormous opportunities to enhance their brand exposure. 
  • Lead Generation: Number of attendees visiting companies booths, providing their information. Later on, these attendees can be nurtured to be valuable customers for the company.
  • Market Research: Companies can gather feedback from the attendees right there and use it to enhance their product or service and marketing strategies.
  • Revenue Generation: Virtual trade shows require an investment, but you can also generate revenue from exhibitors and attendees.
  • Community Building: Having a sense of community is important for an industry to gather like-minded people on the same platform.
  • No space limitations: With a virtual trade show, there is no limitation on space, and organizers can invite as many exhibitors as possible, all with an equal opportunity to shine.
  • Lower Entry Barriers: Small and medium-sized businesses can easily afford a space in a virtual trade show with larger competitors and have equal exposure.

Hosting a virtual trade show can be a lot of hard work and investment, but nonetheless, it is also important for the company’s growth and to position itself in the market. 

To break through the competition, maximizing the benefits is crucial, and selecting the right platform for the virtual trade show with all the necessary features is essential for a successful trade show. 

Who hosts a virtual trade show?

Different organizations and entities can host a virtual trade show, depending on their goals and objectives for the event. Here are some of the regular hosts of virtual trade show

  • Trade Show Organizers: Event Management and trade show organizations also host virtual trade shows. For example, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is hosting ElectronicAsia-Virtual 2023, and Informa Markets also hosts events such as Global Health Exhibition 2023-Virtual.
  • NonProfit Organizations:- To raise awareness or funds, nonprofit organizations host virtual trade shows. One example is that the International Solar Energy Society hosts the ISES Solar World Congress 2023.
  • Media Companies:- DigiMarCon, which is hosting DigiMarCon World 2023, is one example of such a company. Industry-specific publications, magazines, digital media marketing companies, news outlets, or public relations companies usually host virtual trade shows to engage and educate their audiences.
  • Business Associations: Industry-specific associations or companies often host virtual trade shows, bringing together industry professionals and businesses to network and discuss best practices, emerging trends, as well as new products and services.
    For example, the Confederation of Indian Industry, Goderej Green Business Centre, is hosting IGBC Green Building Congress 2023
  • Government Authorities: Government authorities and agencies organize virtual trade shows to exhibit trade, foster industry growth, and highlight economic developments. An example of this is that EEPC India is hosting 3rd Edition India MSME Defense Week 2023

The hosting of virtual trade shows may vary depending on the event’s objective and target audiences. The crucial factor is to host an engaging and captivating virtual trade show and choose a platform that provides all the necessary tools to host a successful virtual trade show.

Challenges while hosting a Virtual Trade Show

There are several advantages to hosting a virtual trade show, such as global reach and reduced cost, but it also comes with a set of challenges that organizers and hosts face. 

Here, we will discuss those challenges and make suggestions to solve them.

Technical Issues:-

Virtual trade shows are heavily dependent on technology, and with a single glitch, a lot can go wrong. Issues can arise from anywhere, from internet connections to camera issues to platform errors and any other significant problem hurdling the smoothness needed for the trade show. 

The concern is serious, and hence, there is a need for a strong IT support team to solve any technical issue that arises. 

Engagement:-

With so many distractions at home, in the workplace, and also on internet, retaining people’s attention and preventing multitasking can be challenging. 

To hold their focus on virtual environment of virtual trade show, it is important to include interactive and engaging activities and sessions such as interactive demos, Q&A sessions, polls, quizzes, and gamified elements.

Networking:-

Networking and building relationships are important aspects of trade shows and can be more challenging in a virtual setting, and attendees can be afraid of the same. It is important to ensure that by including elements of networking in the virtual trade show, such as fluid spaces, breakout rooms, speed networking, and many more

Many businesses connect at trade shows for networking purposes, and hence, it is a challenging aspect to keep in mind.

Content Quality:-

Content created for a virtual trade show is different from that created for a traditional trade show. Speakers, presenters, and hosts need to adapt the content for an online audience. Make it more engaging and eye-catching with the help of visuals.

Monetization:-

Monetization of a virtual trade show can be challenging, as participants may be hesitant to pay money due to various other free options. Hence, it becomes important to justify the price asked for for the trade show, and it should have enough value. It is also important to develop right pricing model for virtual trade show.

Features of the Airmeet Virtual Trade Show Platform

Let’s dive into top features of Airmeet Virtual Trade Show to help you make most of the show:

Customize your booth in accordance with the brand voice:

We understand the need of the hour; it is very essential for any company to stand out from the crowd, to make a name for itself, and to attract prospects to come and try out the products or services to make a purchase. Hence, attracting the right customers to your booth is essential for your business. We all understand the requirement of personalized branding to grab the attention of the right audience.

We have designed highly customizable features for branding, whether live stage backdrops, eye-catching landing page design, immersive video, interactive reception, cinematic stage, and many other features to leave an impact on the attendee’s mind.

These are all important tools to attract attendees to your booth to connect with the prospect and leave a deep impression on their mind, and hence, it will be a lot easier going forward to convert them into paying customers. 

People are more inclined toward brands with a clear voice, and customized branding is a way to grab people’s attention. The more personalized a brand is, the deeper the impact it will have on attendees.

A wide range of engagement and networking options for customer and buyer’s engagement:

Increase engagement and networking with Fluid Spaces, Breakout Rooms, Social Lounges, Speed Networking, Large Meeting Rooms, Scheduled Meetings, and many other features to increase the engagement of attendees. Through various features, you can increase the time attendees spend with you, easily qualify leads, and measure the buying intent of attendees. The outcome will surprise you, as we have seen attendees being hooked and active throughout the show. The result is more and more qualifying leads for you, and hence longer associations will be built with customers as well as partners.

Various features for a hassle-free virtual backstage experience include:

We know how tiring it is to manage every backstage duty to make a successful trade show, especially if you have to fulfill all the tasks manually; hence, we have brought ‘Aircontrol’ to give you no more headaches but tools to deliver a stellar experience to yourselves and attendees.

We provide advanced customization control for every part of your journey and take care of everything from event entry to ticketing. Email management, session replays, automated sessions, session access control, CRM integrations, ticketing and registrations, and various other useful tools are available to enhance your experience. Never before has it been easier to schedule and stream as per your needs. 

Easier to make more revenue with the right data:

Look no further; with the right data from the event, you can nurture more leads than ever before with real-time event analytics. You can also sync event registrations and attendance data with your CRM and get easier access to more prospects. You can also create a separate segment of the most engaged leads and customers to create warm leads from the data. With detailed data on prospect activity from the event, it will be much easier for your sales representatives to initiate conversations with prospects and grab their attention. 

There are a wide range of features to make your trade show more successful, such as Event Registration and Attendee Counter, Account Level Analytics, Booth Engagement Reports, Booth Overview Analytics, and many more to count.

Throughout the journey, your constant go-to is:

We know what it takes to host a virtual trade show, and we want you to experience the best of all. We also provide extensive platform training for your team to make the most use of the features of Airmeet. We are here with you from beginning to end for a seamless journey. Our support team will be there to resolve all your queries regarding operations, logistics, excess resources, and any other hiccups throughout the journey. We want you to focus your energy on what matters most, namely, captivating the attention of your attendees.

We provide you with many services, such as in-event technical support, hybrid event consultation, stage management, and event management, to name a few.

A successful trade show leads to a positive ROI (return on investment); hence, an increase in revenue, which is the ultimate goal of any business, and indeed, it is essential for any business to sustain itself in the market for the long term.

With the right product or service, your business also needs the right tools to deliver a world-class experience to attendees, and we at Airmeet believe in you and your business to take a step further to showcase your best product or service at a world-class virtual trade show. 

FAQ

A virtual trade show is an event that is hosted on a virtual event platform, enabling attendees to access content and interact online and allowing exhibitors to also exhibit their products or services in virtual booths within a virtual environment. 

Organizing a virtual trade show involves a number of steps, like planning the schedule, creating the content, promoting the event, selecting a virtual event platform, finding exhibitors and sponsors, and managing the technical aspects.

An important aspect of hosting a virtual trade show is to consider a platform that is budget-friendly and has engaging features, networking options, interactive tools, a user-friendly interface, reliable technical support, and the ability to integrate with other tools.

Ideally, you should review your marketing budget quarterly to effectively respond to changing market conditions, performance insights, and trends.

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