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5 Exhibition Trends you must know in 2024

As professionals in event planning and marketing, staying ahead of the curve is essential to differentiate your brand amongst competitors. Subsequently, the exhibition industry has also been forced to evolve more rapidly than ever before. Hybrid and digital alternatives are now the new normal in a post pandemic world which are proving to reshape attendee experiences that extend beyond the show floor.

1. Social Media at Exhibitions

As social media continues to play an increasingly large role in the lives of consumers, it is becoming  important for exhibitors and organisers to incorporate this in their exhibition strategy. According to a recent survey, 64% of the attendees said they will make their decisions about which events to go based on what they saw online.

Here’s our top recommendations:

  • Expo Exclusives: In the lead up to the exhibition, why not announce an exclusive product release, surprise guests or educational sessions to generate excitement? Drop hints on social media channels throughout your content schedule to encourage followers to stay tuned for these exclusive expo opportunities.
  • Countdown Timers: Build anticipation by creating countdown posts or stories leading up to the exhibition. This not only keeps your audience informed about the approaching date but also encourages your audience to share across their networks.
  • Leverage Influencers: Why not forge partnerships with emerging influencers in your industry or host a takeover of your social media channels with industry professionals?
  • User-Generated Content (or UCG): UCG continues to gain traction and this year is no different. Encourage attendees to share their experiences by creating event-specific hashtags and be sure to repost UCG content to build a sense of community around your exhibition.
  • Live Streaming: Leverage live streaming features on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to broadcast key moments, presentations or interviews. This provides a real-time experience for those unable to attend in person.
  • Post-Exhibition Highlights: Don’t forget to create a highlight reel or recap videos to be shared across platforms and extend your content lifespan as well as exhibition impact.

2. Exhibition Experiences and Brand Storytelling

In today’s digital age, attendees are inundated with an abundance of content, making it crucial for exhibition planners and marketers to explore innovative ways to engage their audiences. A captivating exhibition stand not only leaves attendees satisfied but also encourages ongoing engagement and increases the likelihood of brand advocacy. In 2024, we anticipate a heightened focus on crafting compelling content, dynamic breakout sessions, wellness areas and ample networking opportunities within the exhibition space.

Check out these examples of how you can create immersive exhibition experiences and engage in brand storytelling:

  • Themed Environments: Design your exhibition space around a central theme that aligns with your brand narrative. For example, if you’re a technology company focusing on sustainability, create a futuristic eco-friendly environment with interactive displays showcasing your green initiatives.
  • Sensory Elements: Consider using scents, diffusers, background music or tactile components that align with your brand identity and enhance the overall experience for visitors to your space.
  • Live Demonstrations and Workshops: Instead of static displays, host live demonstrations or workshops that provide value to attendees. For instance, if you’re a kitchen appliance brand, conduct cooking demonstrations using your products, allowing visitors to experience their functionality firsthand. And don’t forget to hand out samples! This will encourage dwell time and further exploration of your product and services.
  • Customer Testimonials: Bring your brand story to life by featuring customer testimonials within your exhibition space. Showcase real stories of how your products or services have made a positive impact through video, signage and graphics or other collateral to add authenticity and emotional resonance.
  • Brand Ambassadors: Employ brand ambassadors who embody your brand values and can interact with attendees pre-event, during and post-event phases. These ambassadors can share personal experiences, offer insights and create a human connection, making your brand more relatable.

3. Sustainability in Exhibitions

Sustainability has gained such significance within the exhibitions industry that event planners, now more than ever, are acknowledging the importance of minimising the adverse environmental effects stemming from their activities. In fact, the Eventbrite 2023 Event Trends report revealed, 83% of Australian respondents claimed they have a sustainability target for their events this year. As such, if exhibitors choose to adopt a greater focus on sustainable practices, you can not only contribute to environmental conservation but also attract environmentally conscious attendees and enhance your brand’s reputation. Explore more of our top tips on how you can incorporate some practical and sustainable initiatives for your next exhibition in our Planning Greener Events blog article.

4. AI is Changing the Face of Exhibitions

It’s true, AI is revolutionising the landscape of trade shows, impacting not just the planning and organisation phases but also the entire exhibition journey, including post-event analysis. Incorporating AI into exhibitions unlocks an unprecedented level of efficiency and individualisation for brand and marketing managers like never before.

Explore some practical examples of how to leverage this exhibition trend in 2024:

  • Interactive Virtual Assistants: Implement chatbots or virtual assistants to engage attendees in real-time conversations, answering queries and providing product or service information promptly through apps or devices.
  • Visitor Analytics: Leverage AI-driven analytics to analyse attendee movement patterns and optimise stand layouts for better navigation, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience. You can use this data for future exhibitions or events too with the aim of maximising the use of space and enhancing the customer experience.
  • Personalised Content Recommendations: Utilise machine learning algorithms with CRM integration to analyse attendee preferences and behaviours. You can deliver personalised content recommendations, product and service suggestions and make informed post exhibition follow-up choices to maximise effectiveness.

5. AR, VR & Gamification

Augmented Reality (AR) has surged in popularity as a captivating form of entertainment, enabling users to interact with virtual environments and objects through smartphones and other devices. This innovative technology is now being harnessed by businesses to enrich customer service, offer supplemental information and even facilitate product sales.

Similarly, Virtual Reality (VR) has emerged as an expanding trend within the exhibition industry, rapidly gaining traction for its ability to provide attendees with immersive experiences. VR headsets transport individuals into alternate realities, allowing them to perceive what others cannot and feel fully present in a virtual space. Beyond merely enhancing immersion, VR presents a unique opportunity to engage customers in novel ways previously inaccessible.

Here’s some practical ways to incorporate the AI trend into your exhibition space:

  • AR Brochures with QR Codes: Embed QR codes in your physical brochures or promotional materials. When attendees scan specific pages with a mobile app they can access additional digital content, such as videos or 3D models or other related material that provides a more in-depth understanding of your services.
  • AR Scavenger Hunt: Encourage attendees to use their smartphones to locate and interact with virtual objects related to your products or services. Offer rewards or discounts for successful completion, encouraging active participation and engagement.
  • VR Exploration: Develop a virtual reality experience that allows attendees to virtually explore your products and services in greater detail. This immersive approach aids in decision-making and fosters a memorable experience of interacting with your brand.

These exhibition trends we’re predicting for 2024 are more than just shifts in preferences; they’re reflections of a deeper change in the industry’s approach to creating more meaningful memorable, inclusive and impactful experiences. So, as you gear up for your next exhibition, remember: it’s not just about your stand presence; it’s about embracing the whole experience. Reach out to the team at Creative Hire and we can help you leverage these trends for your brand to stay ahead and prepare your strategy for 2024.

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