Exhibitions offer a valuable platform for businesses to connect with customers, showcase products, and drive sales. However, exhibitors often face challenges in managing their participation, from coordinating logistics to managing leads and ensuring smooth communication with event organizers. 

Exhibition management software provides a centralized platform for exhibitors to efficiently manage their presence, engage attendees, and maximize their return on investment (ROI).

In this article, we describe the non-negotiable features you should look for in an exhibitor management software to ensure a successful and stress-free exhibition. 

But first, let’s quickly understand what exhibition management software is and why you need one. 

What is Exhibition Management Software?

Exhibition management software is a tool used to plan, organize, and manage exhibitions or trade shows smoothly. It helps streamline various tasks involved in hosting an exhibition, such as booth allocation, attendee registration, floor plan management, scheduling sessions or presentations, and tracking exhibitor and attendee data. 

The software provides a centralized platform where organizers can oversee all aspects of the event, from initial planning stages to post-exhibition analysis. 

Exhibition management software aims to simplify the planning process, improve organization efficiency, enhance attendee experience, and ultimately ensure the success of the exhibition.

Why Do You Need Exhibition Management Software?

You need exhibition management software to make organizing exhibitions or trade shows easier and more efficient. Without it, managing tasks like attendee registration, booth allocation, and scheduling is chaotic and time-consuming. 

The software helps you keep everything organized in one place, so you don’t have to juggle multiple spreadsheets or documents. It also allows you to streamline communication with exhibitors and attendees, send updates and reminders quickly and easily. 

Plus, the software often includes features like floor plan visualization, which helps you optimize the layout of the exhibition space for better flow and accessibility. 

Exhibition management software saves you time, reduces stress, and helps ensure that your exhibition runs smoothly. 

How to Choose an Exhibition Management Software?

Choosing an exhibition management software is important to make sure it fits your needs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Figure out what tasks you need the software to help with, like attendee registration, booth allocation, or communication.
  2. Look for software that has the features you need, like online registration systems, floor plan management, communication tools, or even an entire event management software suite.
  3. Make sure the software is easy to use for you and your team. You don’t want something too complicated that will take a lot of time to learn.
  4. See if the software allows you to customize it to fit your specific event needs. 
  5. Check if the software integrates with other tools you already use, like email marketing software or CRM systems.
  6. Consider the cost of the software and make sure it fits your budget. Some software might have a monthly subscription fee or charge per event.
  7. Look for software that offers good customer support in case you have questions or run into issues.
  8. Lastly, read reviews from other users to see what they like and dislike about the software.

The 12 Must-Have Features of Exhibition Management Software 

#1. Booth Selection via Floor Map

Booth selection via floor plan lets exhibitors pick their perfect spot on a digital map of the exhibit hall, all within an exhibition management software program. 

This feature is super handy because it gives exhibitors control over their space. They can strategically choose a booth location that suits their needs, whether it’s for visibility, foot traffic, or proximity to certain attractions. 

A good exhibition management software automatically updates the floor plan and shows which booths are booked and which are still up for grabs to avoid confusion.

#2. Add-on/Rental Sale

Add-on/rental sale allows event organizers to offer additional services or items to exhibitors beyond just booth space. 

For example, organizers can offer rental equipment like tables, chairs, or display stands for exhibitors to enhance their booths. Additionally, they can sell add-ons such as electricity connections, Wi-Fi access, or promotional materials like banners and signage. 

It ensures that exhibitors have access to all the necessary resources to make their booths stand out and maximize their participation in the event. Plus, organizers can generate additional revenue by offering these extra services or items for rent or sale. 

#3. Secure Payment Collection

Chasing checks, dealing with wire transfers, and worrying about security are all hassles exhibition management software with secure payment collection can eliminate. This feature lets exhibitors pay for booth fees, add-on services, and anything else electronically, all within the software platform.

Organizers can integrate trusted payment gateways into the software, allowing exhibitors to make payments using credit cards, debit cards, or other online payment methods.

#4. Exhibitor Category and Tiering

Exhibitor category and tiering is a feature in exhibition management software that helps organizers group exhibitors logically and create a more organized experience. 

It allows organizers to classify exhibitors into different categories based on criteria like industry, product type, or service offering. This classification helps organizers to better understand their exhibitor base and tailor their marketing and communication strategies accordingly. 

Additionally, exhibitor tiering enables organizers to assign different levels of benefits or privileges to exhibitors based on their category or level of participation. For example, premium exhibitors may receive priority booth placement, enhanced marketing exposure, or additional promotional opportunities compared to standard exhibitors. 

#5. Online Booth for Lead Generation

Exhibition halls are great, but what if you could extend your reach beyond the physical space?  Online booth functionality within exhibition management software lets you create a virtual extension of your physical booth, perfect for lead generation before, during, and after the event.

With the online booth, exhibitors can upload brochures, product photos, and videos to provide detailed information about their offerings.

Moreover, exhibitors can offer discounts, coupons, or giveaways through their online booths to incentivize attendees to interact with their brand. These promotional offers encourage visitors to take action, such as signing up for newsletters, scheduling meetings, or making purchases.

#6. Exhibitor Live Stream & Chatroom

Keeping the momentum going, exhibition management software can also be a game changer for how exhibitors connect with attendees. The live stream and chat room features allow exhibitors to host interactive presentations, demos, or Q&A sessions directly from the software platform. 

Attendees can tune in from anywhere, on their computers or mobile devices, and even participate through a live chat function. It opens doors for real-time engagement, even for those who can’t attend the exhibition in person.  

#7. Exhibitor Information Collection

Exhibition management software with exhibitor information collection streamlines the process of gathering crucial details from participating businesses. Organizers can create online forms that exhibitors can fill out to provide all the necessary details. 

Different exhibitions have different needs. So, the software should allow you to customize the fields based on what info you need to collect.

Having all exhibitor information readily available allows organizers to make informed decisions about booth layout, marketing strategies, and overall event planning.

#8. Direct Communication to Exhibitors

Direct communication to exhibitors is a vital feature of exhibition management software. It allows organizers to send targeted/personalized messages to exhibitors, and keeps them informed throughout the event planning process. 

This feature is necessary because it solves several common problems, such as:

  • Ensuring exhibitors receive important updates and deadlines
  • Reducing email clutter and miscommunication
  • Enabling exhibitors to ask questions and receive timely responses
  • Streamlining the process of collecting information and documents from exhibitors

Direct communication features ensure that exhibitors have all the necessary information and resources to prepare for the event, which can lead to a more successful and well-run exhibition

#9. Exhibitor Showcase Web Page 

Exhibition management software with exhibitor web pages provides a dedicated online space for each participant. 

The webpage goes beyond just a name on a list, it allows exhibitors to display important details like contact information, product brochures, and video demos that showcase their brand, products, and services to a wider audience. 

Exhibitor web pages also allow for lead capture forms. They let attendees easily express interest and share their contact details directly through the platform.

#10. Lead Retrieval App

A lead retrieval app empowers exhibitors to easily capture and manage leads during events. By using a lead retrieval app, exhibitors can scan attendee badges to collect contact information, rate leads based on interest, and add notes for personalized follow-up campaigns. 

The app helps exhibitors maximize their return on investment (ROI) by ensuring that they are focusing on the most promising leads. 

Additionally, a lead retrieval app with offline capabilities can ensure that data collection is uninterrupted, even in areas with poor internet connectivity. A QR scanner is often included in lead retrieval apps that allows for quick and easy scanning of attendee badges

#11. Massive Campaign for Exhibitors

Exhibitors invest significant time, money, and effort into participating in exhibitions. However, they often struggle to stand out in a crowded event, connect with the right audience, and generate quality leads. 

Exhibition management software should offer robust marketing, promotion, and outreach campaigning tools to help exhibitors maximize their visibility and engagement.

Integrated campaign management tools allow exhibitors to create and send targeted email blasts to potential attendees, promote special offers or highlight new products. 

#12. Passport Contest

In a passport contest, attendees collect stamps or digital signatures from exhibitors, and completed “passports” are entered into a prize draw. This simple yet effective feature boosts attendee engagement and drives exhibitor success. 

A passport contest adds a layer of excitement and competition to the exhibition. It encourages attendees to be more active participants. It transforms a traditional trade show into a memorable and enjoyable event.

When attendees visit a booth to get their “passport” stamped, exhibitors have a natural opportunity to capture leads and gather valuable contact information. 

The Right Event Management Software for Your Success

Choosing the right exhibition management software is crucial for streamlining the planning process, maximizing exhibitor ROI, and ensuring a successful event.

Whova is an award-winning exhibition management platform that offers all the features we’ve discussed and more, to ensure a successful and stress-free event for everyone involved. 

Learn more about Whova here.

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