Exhibit Design Techniques in a Post-Covid World
November 16, 2020
Let’s start with an update on the live events industry...
What we know right now is that in-person trade shows have largely been replaced by virtual events or canceled altogether. But when does the industry expect to make a comeback?
We’ve seen that overseas (namely Europe) trade shows are starting to show signs of life, which is great news and keeps us hopeful! Additionally, according to this study from Exhibitor Magazine, many US event marketers intend on exhibiting again between Q2 and Q4 of 2021 - which means we must be ready for when that comes!
Some show organizers will likely decide that hybrid events are a better option to start so there can be a steadier transition back to what we knew just a year ago. Many will have extensive precautions in place to promote everyone keeping their 6-foot distance between one another. No matter when you and your company decide that it’s time to get back to exhibiting, it will look different at first to ensure everyone entering your booth feels comfortable!
How will your booth staff & exhibit design look different?
Before the pandemic, the suggested ratio of booth staffers to space in any one exhibit was suggested to be one staffer for each 50 square feet of unoccupied space. Post-pandemic this will be limited even further at first, and you will have to decide who is essential to have staff your booth. Pre-event promotional marketing can help with this decision by monitoring who is reaching out and what type of questions they have about your company or offerings before the show.
When it comes to a new recommendation of how many staffers and attendees are allowed in your booth, in an inline space of 10x10, a maximum of 3 people, including your booth staff, will be “allowed” in your booth. If you plan on having this exhibit size, plan wisely! An all-in-one workstation that can also be utilized as a barrier for a one-on-one conversation with your booth guest is a great option.
In a 10x20 inline space, you can account for 4 more people in your booth space (7 total). While you can still use similar tactics as a 10x10, you will have more room for an extra product display stand or an extra booth staffer.
Large island spaces, 20x20 or larger, allow anywhere between 14 to 31 people in your booth - obviously, the larger your space is, the more people you can accommodate. While this option lets you have the greatest number of attendees in your exhibit, make sure that you are still taking traffic into consideration. You will need very clear signage and floor graphics to ensure that booth guests know where they can enter and exit your space safely.
Whether you reconfigure your current exhibit design or start from scratch, controlling the foot traffic and allowing everyone to continue practicing social distancing in your booth will be key, and could mean some changes to your exhibit design.
Examples of social distancing elements in your booth include:
- Plexiglass dividers to keep a barrier in between your staffer and attendee(s) for extra precaution.
- Touchscreen or touchless tablet stands for attendee contact information collection (rather than the booth staffer holding and passing along to the attendee). QR code scanners would be a great option for this.
- Sanitization stations for booth staffers and attendees to use before and/or after they enter your booth.
- Flow traffic floor graphics to create one-way traffic within your booth.
- Product displays utilized as all-in-one stations to showcase your products without having your attendees touch them.
Remember, all of these changes are likely temporary, so this is something to take into consideration when designing or re-designing your exhibit. Here are some more in-depth design examples to get your creative juices flowing.
What other precautions will be taking place at trade shows?
While every convention center and show organizer will have different rules and regulations, here are the most common safety measures we’ve seen that you can expect universally:
- Mandatory face masks for everyone entering the convention center
- In and out traffic markers
- Scheduled entries into the building
- Touch-free registration, very few registration staff - only to answer urgent questions
- ‘Grab & go’ food and beverage options to minimize interaction and cross-contamination
We know that it can be overwhelming to try to plan for these changes - especially since there isn’t an established set of guidelines across all events, but we are here to ease this process for you! Let us know how we can help answer any questions or get started on a reconfigured or new exhibit design today.