This week the 2019 Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) kicked off with a bang in Melbourne, showcasing some great exhibition stand designs. The event welcomes exhibitors and professionals to build connections and share knowledge on their brand.
For expo organisers, there’s a lot that can be learnt from AIME. The organisation of the event is where it holds its strength, from the carefully devised floor plan and guest speakers at the ‘Ideas Academy’, to the private VIP event and useful workshops. It really shows how important it is to plan your exhibitions in advance.
To help you host a great expo, we’re here to share with you our top 7 tips that we learnt from attending AIME 2019.
1. Be present at your event
Having an exhibition stand or a small counter at your expo can help you engage with attendees, exhibitors and suppliers, which can build a positive image for your brand. Walking through the doors at AIME, the Events 720 team were greeted with friendly staff at the AIME exhibition counter. They offered floor plans, programs and answered any queries we had. This simple act displays a strong commitment to the event and can leave attendees feeling more comfortable knowing the staff is there to assist them, if needed.
Having a stand within your expo is also a great chance to sell floor space to current or new exhibitors for the following year’s event. This provides companies with the opportunity to receive the space they desire by purchasing it early.
If you’d like to know more about how important your presence at your expo is then read our blog post here.
2. Use easily visible signage
If there’s one thing our team can take away from AIME, it’s how easy it was to navigate and find where you needed to go by looking at signage. If your event features networking areas, guest speakers, performances, food or lounge areas, use eye-catching, overhead signage to indicate to your attendees where these areas are located. Attendee’s don’t want to waste time and energy looking for where the next workshop is or a place to relax. Make navigating easy for them!
AIME featured a space called the ‘Ideas Academy’, which showcased guest speakers and workshops. This space was located on the opposite end of the venue to the entrance which can make it easily lost amongst the rows of exhibitors. AIME’s use of large, over-head signage made this space easy to view and find amongst the busy venue.
3. Think about your floor plan carefully
A great floor plan is everything! Having a practical and attractive floor plan will play an important role in the success of your event. Your floor plan will determine the location of exhibitor space, the proximity of stands, direction of walkways and the location of media lounges, guest speakers and food. You will also need to consider the location of entrances, exits and restrooms in the venue and create a suitable floor plan that encourages a natural flow of foot traffic moving from these areas.
Whilst your goal may be to generate profit by selling stand space or to build your brand awareness, your event won’t be successful in the long-term if exhibitors and attendees aren’t happy with their overall experience. To avoid this, ensure they have a great expo by planning an effective floor plan that provides enough space for exhibitors, has clear walkways for attendees and takes into account the busy congestion of entrances.
One of the most admirable parts about AIME was the well-thought floor plan. With so many exhibitors showcasing their brand through different stands and designs, the ‘Ideas Academy’ inspiring attendees with guest speakers, and open seating spaces for networking, it was vital that their floor plan was practical, easy to navigate and encouraged a flow of foot traffic. Lucky for AIME, their floor plan worked great! Their main central hub space, ‘The Exchange’, was far enough from the entrance to avoid congestion, but still close enough to attract attendees to start exploring the event. The main walkways were clearly marked with different coloured carpet so attendees were aware of where to move. These little details in the floor plan can help your expo run smoothly.
4. Allocate seating and lounge areas
Wandering the aisles of an expo can become very tiring, especially at a large event such as AIME. If your event promotes networking, community and exchanging ideas, then seating and lounge areas for visitors and exhibitors can encourage communication.
Whilst attending AIME, it was clear to see how much power a simple set of tables and chairs has for interaction and connection. Attendees were often sitting down to relax and talk with colleagues or people they had met at the event. It’s also important to clearly define where these seating areas are by using bollards and flooring. This will help your attendees identify where they can be seated.
5. Create a useful App
An amazing feature that AIME implemented in their 2019 event was the AIME App. This app allowed you to have all information on the event in the palm of your hand, from your unique QR code to your personal planned agenda. This App made preparing for and navigating the event very easy, especially for first-time attendees. The App was easily downloadable onto your phone, featured a very sleek and simple design, and provided any detail you needed. It even featured hotel options in the area for any international or interstate visitors, and a news alert for any important notices.
Having an App, or even a landing page, to showcase your event and share details will help to keep exhibitors, attendees and suppliers up-to-date with any information they require. By collating all the information in the one place, you can ensure that everyone involved in the expo are well-informed (and they won’t need to email you with hundreds of questions days before the event begins).
6. Treat attendees to coffee and other beverages
There’s no denying our universal love for coffee (or tea), so why not offer everyone at your event the chance to enjoy a cuppa? Coffee stands and carts are a hit at expos, especially those that start early in the morning and continue until the evening. Enjoying a drink offers, not only the chance to relax, but the opportunity to interact and connect with new acquaintances or business professionals to discuss potential deals and offers.
At AIME, stands selling beverages were placed within the main seating area. These areas were undeniably very busy, especially during morning tea or lunch periods. Attendees often spent time speaking with others while they waited for their drink or sat down to relax with friends, prospects and colleagues.
7. Welcome inspiring guest speakers
Featuring guest speakers is a great way to ensure your visitors feel they are receiving a worthwhile experience from your expo. Your attendees can leave the event feeling inspired and knowledgeable after hearing people discuss a range of topics about overcoming challenges, negotiating with international businesses, and creating powerful events. There are a number of services you can contact to find guest speakers for your event, such as ICMI Speakers and Entertainers, and Saxton Speakers.
At AIME, we heard from Fabian Pfortmuller about turning events into powerful ongoing communities by following seven simple steps. Our team left the presentation feeling inspired to share our new knowledge and help our clients create their own amazing event.
So, what did we learn?
If we can sum up what we learnt from AIME it would be the reinforcement of our understanding that an expo involves a lot of planning, hard work and commitment. Your event will only be successful if you can dedicate your resources and team into planning every little detail with care.
AIME is a great example of a team that is passionate and proud of the event they host. This can be seen in the detail of the event, from the carefully mapped floor plan to the inspiring guest speakers. So, what did we learn? Expos are hard to plan, but in the end they’re absolutely worth it!
If you want to hear more about planning your next expo, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.