How to Keep Exhibitor Retention High


May 4, 2023

Exhibitors are essential to the success of trade associations. They contribute funding for programs and initiatives, provide insights to what's happening within the industry, and back the overall mission and cause of the association. For these reasons and more, associations shouldn't overlook the importance of building strong relationships with their exhibitors, especially during the main attraction of the year — their annual meeting and trade show.

Here are 6 tactics that can assist in your exhibitor retention strategy:

  1. Make sure your show is worth coming back to. This seems like a no-brainer, but if you can't offer exhibitors an event that's worth attending again and again, they won't come back. Make sure your show offers the right audience for their brand and product, as well as valuable networking opportunities. Go a step further and allow your exhibitors speaking opportunities to become a greater thought leader within the industry.

  2. Show your appreciation. You want your exhibitors to have a great experience at the show, so it's important to treat them well from start to finish. That starts with making sure you're keeping their needs in mind throughout the planning process by asking for feedback and suggestions on how they'd like things done differently next year.

  3. Give your exhibitors visibility. Companies attend trade shows to increase their brand awarenessThey go out of their way to make sure they stand out and don't get lost in the sea of booths. While associations do their best to spotlight each exhibitor, it can be challenging to give everyone the visibility they deserve. By offering unique sponsorship packages and branding opportunities outside of the booth, associations can increase the number of touchpoints for industry partners to promote their business.

  4. Communicate with exhibitors often. It's important to stay in touch with your exhibitors so they know what's going on and when things are changing. That way, if something unexpected happens — like needing to move their booth because of an issue with another vendor or last-minute changes to the show floor layout — you can let them know right away and avoid any surprises on either side.

  5. Don't forget about your exhibitors. You can't just focus on the show, or you'll miss out on all the opportunities to improve your brand and make money. Take care of your exhibitors by making sure they have everything they need to succeed at your event — whether that's extra supplies or help setting up their booth when they arrive.

  6. Allow exhibitors to showcase their voice. Given the industry supplier's role within the marketplace, they are often aware of changes, shifts, trends, and other economic impacts before anyone else. So, it would be wise for associations to work closely with industry partners and include them in the conversation. Disregarding their input could lead to missing out on important information that would benefit their members.

There’s no doubt that exhibitors help you attract attendees and make sure that they have what they need while at the show. They also contribute to the overall atmosphere at your event, which helps attendees feel like they're at home — and that's something that will make them want to come back again next year!

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