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Learn How Free Food at Your Booth Can Help You or Hurt You

May 28, 2019

Food at a trade show booth is known as an obvious attention grabber. People who notice good looking food are often drawn in quickly without question. So, how could this attention hurt your booth?

There’s no arguing that food is a great way to increase booth traffic. However, it may not be as effective as you would hope if you don’t go about it in the right way. ‘There’s a wrong way to give away free food?’ you ask? Well, unless your goal is to have lines and lines of people coming and going from your booth without them actually engaging with your exhibit, then yes.

When businesses who are not actually in the food business have food in their booth, it’s likely meant to be an incentive for trade show attendees. It makes the decision easy for them to come check out the exhibit, and that’s great! However, once their attention has been caught with food, it’s important for you that they also stick around beyond their initial two bites to learn more.

So, how do you use free food to get more people in your booth and make sure that they leave with more than just a satisfied belly?

Plan for interaction

To give guests a better knowledge of your brand and an experience that benefits both of you, generate interest beyond the food by having a plan for interaction. Make it a goal for your booth staff to generate meaningful conversations with guests while they are enjoying the last few bites of their warm cookie. The mistake that some exhibitors make is getting all of this additional attention, and before they know it, they can’t keep up with all of the people in their booth. If you’re unable to speak with someone who enters your booth for the food, you may miss an opportunity to engage with them and grow their interest in your brand. Create a plan with your booth staffers to ensure that they can have a conversation with everyone who enters your exhibit.

Implement branding

Trade shows are all about growing brand awareness. One way to do this when offering food is through branding. If you’re giving away popcorn, put your logo on the bag, use branded napkins for cookies, make coffee sleeves with your company name on them. Any way to put your logo in the face of a potential customer is an opportunity for them to remember your name down the road. If you have the budget to spend a little more on your marketing efforts, reusable mugs are a great way to promote awareness.

Make it desirable

Think outside the box! Don’t give someone their 10th candy bar only to be tossed into the bottom of their bag. Choose a desirable treat that people will want to eat on the spot but doesn’t break the bank. When people are indulging in a good treat, they’re often put in a better mood. Use this to your advantage by giving them a great experience that helps keep that good taste in their mouth beyond their visit to your booth.  

Promote on social media

When promoting your presence on social media before the show, make sure to mention the food you are handing out. Use visually appealing photos that get people’s taste buds excited. Don’t forget to include other information around your company or brand that creates more excitement about your booth overall and the other forms of interaction that people can experience. Some people may walk by and not see that you’re giving away tasty treats, but if they see you on social media beforehand, they’ll be on the lookout for your booth.

There are plenty of ways to generate interest around your booth. Food is a great incentive. Don’t assume that throwing food to every guest on the show floor will automatically result in an endless amount of leads. Create a plan for engaging with those who come for a good snack and ensure that they leave your booth with a great taste in their mouth! Reach out to Skyline Exhibits to get started on your next trade show booth.


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