As an experiential provider, at exhibitions we are happy to confess we obsess about footfall, and the right footfall, for our clients. There are some key elements we focus on which we think make all the difference.

  1. Do the experiences tie in with the client's message?
  2. Do the experiences have broad appeal (in the round)?
  3. Do the experiences accommodate multiple delegates at any one time?
  4. Do the experiences accommodate multiple delegates participating at different arrival times?
  5. Do the experiences occur within an optimum duration? (ideally 3-5 minutes from experience).

In the 4+ years we've been working in the exhibition industry we've been incredibly impressed with the stand build work done by the exhibition industry, but we've often been surprised that what to most would be a key hurdle, perhaps the key hurdle, regularly seems to have been overlooked. Because isn't having the busiest stand at the exhibition, hosting the people who count, and then converting those delegates into clients, the main reason clients have exhibition stands? I'm not suggesting for a minute highly experienced ESSA stand builders don't entreat clients to think about the end objective, but we've caught enough glimpses of exhibition stand personnel tapping away forlornly at mobile phones waiting for that delegate connect, and generally quiet stands, to know that there is a disconnect somewhere.

Our experiences aren't for every brand. We host wine tastings, chocolate tastings, craft beer tastings, artisan cheese tastings, gin tastings, cocktail tastings, molecular detox juice tastings (really) and other activities that have seen 100% rebooking rates from every exhibition client who has booked them. We host a minimum of 3 activities per exhibition as standard.

I've worked in food and drink all my life and I've seen time and time again the power of taste and smell to create positive memories and associations, and that working with people's appetites and taste predelictions is a great way to get to know them. Although food and drink have the power to create strong memories and impressions that last a lifetime, it's how you couple them with exhibition presence that makes them work.

For us, carefully structured and integrated experiences are much more than a matter of picking the right activities, although that can be difficult enough. Aside from plenty of regulatory requirements and venue stipulations, we also need to make creative leaps to genuinely link the food and drink to the client's brand and messaging goals, and we love doing this.

It's clearer than ever stands need to offer something more than leaflets, screens, and infographics. Clients must be brave and throw out the same old. They'll be surprised at what's out there.

The Tasting Quarter currently offer Multi Tasting experiences at a 15% discount (or on commission basis) to all ESSA Members. For more information here

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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