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Best Practices for Using an Interactive Map at Your Trade Show

Mar 22, 2022 12:09:03 AM

Interactive Floorplan
Interactive trade show maps are growing in popularity throughout the expo industry. Though they have been around for at least a decade, the increase in demand for information at the fingertips of exhibitors and attendees means that the ability to display an exhibit hall in an easy-to-use digital way is in higher demand than ever before. 
The issue at hand is that not all maps are the same, and not all show managers use them in the same way. Because of this, the use of a map can either make the experience of being at a show ten times better, or ten times worse.
To help make sure that your exhibitors, attendees, and your team are getting the most possible out of an interactive map, we have put together some brief "Best Practices" to help you in promoting the show, generating revenue, and using registration. These are based on experience in working with thousands of shows with people in dozens of countries.
We hope that they are all useful for everyone with a show, but it is certainly something that needs to be evaluated for each event, and its unique market, attendees, and policies. If you are looking for ways to do things better, then you have already won half of the battle. 
Here are 9 of our top suggestions for how you might be able to better use your mapping system:

Best Ways to Promote your Show


Embed it on your Website 

Whenever possible, you want to put your map inside one of your web pages instead of directly linking to the standalone floorplan. This keeps your website visitors from leaving your site and allows visitors to continue using other parts of your site after they view the floor plan. This should be an easy thing with a good mapping system, and having an integrated software tool on your website for people to use makes the whole show look very streamlined. 

Include the Link Wherever Possible 

Just because you have the show up on your website doesn't mean that the direct link you have to it is not useful.
Any time that you are sending out updates to the exhibitors or attendees about the show, include a direct link to the map with your communication. It also helps if you encourage them to use it. "Take a look at the exhibitors and plan your show" or "All of the exhibitors are listed here with contact info. Check out who you would like to visit, and set up a time to talk in person." are two suggestions of good prompts to ensure that the link is used. 


Put Other Content on the Same Page 

If you are able to, put the map up on the same page where you have all of the other information about the show. If you have separate pages for attendees and exhibitors, then put it up in both places. The closer you can get the map to the main information page about the show, the better. The easier it is for the public to see the map, the fewer questions you end up fielding that could have already been answered. 

Best ways to Generate Revenue 


Sell Sponsorships 

This is a huge part of mapping that is overlooked by most shows. The key element here (again) is to put the map up in your website where it (and the sponsors) will be seen regularly. Face time on a public page is key for selling the space, and when done correctly the space will promote itself and have people asking how to participate. Seeing their logo up in a prominent place will make the sponsors feel like they are getting a good value. 

Advertise Sponsorships on the Map Itself 

If you have a system where you are the one uploading the sponsors, then make a promo slide for the sponsorship space and have it rotating with the other logos. A slide that says "Your Logo Here - Call 1-888-888-8888" will help to make sure that those who would be interested in buying the space have direct access to making that happen. 

Process Payments to Sell Booths 

Registration systems vary widely, but all have some use in bringing in more revenue, or simplifying the booth sales process. In an ideal registration system, you are able to sell booths at full price, take deposits, and take alternate payments such as check or invoicing with minimal effort. An added bonus to using a registration system that is incorporated with your map is that you are able to skip the step of transferring the data or manually entering it into the map. More on this in the next section! 

Best ways to use Registration 


The Obvious 

The best way to use registration is to actually use it. Many maps come with registration systems and they can be incredibly useful in many situations, but are left untouched. The main point of this advice is not to say that it would always be useful, but that it nearly always can be. Do yourself a favor and at least take a good look at the registration system that you have access to, and keep an open mind about how your processes could change to take advantage of these new tools. 

Without Payment for Data Collection 

If you are taking payment, or even collecting data in a separate system, then look into how you would be able to use the map registration without these steps. Registration systems can be used with payment turned off as a way to allow the Exhibitors to enter their own information, which you should be able to pull down afterwards in a spreadsheet form, and import into any other system that you are working with. Even if you are asking them to input some things twice, telling them that they are in control of what they put up is good motivation to have them see it as worth the effort. Depending on the way you currently enter information, this could save you hours, or even days of work in preparing a map to be seen and used by the public during the show. 

To Take Reservations for Other Things 

Some systems allow you to sell other products or services during exhibitor registration. Take full advantage of this and put everything that you can into this system, so that you can export a spreadsheet for your decorator with all the needs for each booth, and the contact info of the person that ordered the services. This can even be used for things you don't want to take payment for by putting the services in without a price. Allowing the exhibitors to choose these things during a process that they are already doing, and being able to summarize all of the needs for your decorator are huge advantages in keeping up with the details around the show.
Of course, not all of these practices will work for everyone out there. Different membership groups or exhibitors will respond differently to things, such as sponsorship costs, and all shows have varying levels of information that is already online with which to include the map.
The general idea behind all of these suggestions is: be aware of what your mapping system offers and try new things that could benefit your show or organization.
There may be missteps, but if you keep trying to push your show forward and use the tools you have with the interest of the exhibitors, attendees, and yourself in mind, then you will take more steps forward than in any other direction.
Map D

Written by Map D

Map D transforms complex event production into a simplified and easy-to-use experience.


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