Fail to Satisfy Exhibitors and Sponsors

In today’s environment companies are inundated with requests to participate in virtual events.  They struggle to learn multiple platforms, figure out how to sell in a digital world, and find ways to attract attendees into the booth.  Events that fail to provide exhibitors what they want most:  leads, interactions, and a strong ROI will create a community of companies that won’t support you when the live event returns, be there for the hybrid experience or join the next virtual event.

Much of my time helping companies execute a Cloud Conventions tradeshow or conference is spent helping my customers create a strong exhibitor and sponsor strategy.  If your strategy has flaws, then your exhibitors will walk away feeling deflated and disappointed.  Here are some critical mistakes that we see events make in the way they manage their exhibitor and sponsor strategy.

Mistake #1:  Overpromise on the audience

If you are new to the virtual event game, it is difficult to predict how many attendees will show up.  Show the exhibitor how you plan to market the event, but don’t overpromise big attendee numbers.  Get exhibitors and sponsors to partner with you in attracting the audience because every effort helps to increase attendee numbers.

Mistake #2: Fail to educate on the value of the event

The virtual event is not a consolation prize.  It offers many advantages a live event can’t deliver: targeted leads, better analytics, longer and more exposure to attendees and levels the playing field if you are a smaller exhibitor.  Get exhibitors as engaged as your attendees or they will turn in a lack-luster performance.

Mistake #3: No strategy to get the attendee to the booth

Don’t design an event without strategies to get the attendee into the exhibit hall and directed to the booth.  Event-wide directories of show specials, new products and giveaways; contests and gamification and sponsored sessions are only some of the way attendees find exhibitors.

Mistake #4: Not providing enough ways to get a sales lead

Attendees that are in the booth need to engage, have a call to action and a reason to give up their contact information.  Make sure your booth strategy for exhibitors includes calls to action, ways to capture contact information and translate those contacts into leads. 

Mistake #5Have boring or incomplete booths

Make sure that your booth design strategy provides exhibitors the opportunity to have a rich graphics and content experience to showcase new products, have videos and add images. Don’t assume your exhibitors will get things done when you are ready to open and have a plan to audit the booth and help them out if they are struggling.  Exhibitors in a live event set their booths up overnight, but this is not the case in the world of virtual events.

Mistake #6: Not letting them participate in the agenda

Exhibitors have a wealth of industry knowledge and training assets.  Incorporate them into your session design to let them show off their expertise.  Offer exhibitors the opportunity to sponsor coffee breaks, networking lounges, roundtable discussions or cocktail parties and get their creative teams engaged to make them standout.  Exhibitors are integral to the success of the event, so make sure to give them opportunities to shine outside of the booth.


Exhibitors and sponsors are most often the drivers of revenue success for a virtual event, so it’s important to have a strategy that provides them exposure, enough booth traffic, sales leads and calls to action.  Populating their booth with the best combination of content and graphics requires you to give them direction and training and work with them to make sure their booth is ready for attendees to visit when the show opens.

I’ve personally met with hundreds of exhibitors, helped our customers sell the value of the event, and watched how they are either delighted or disappointed.  Make sure your event strategy recognizes the importance of exhibitors and sponsors and find as many ways as possible to have them partner with you to ensure your event is successful.

Have an upcoming event? Explore Cloud Conventions to see how we can help.