How To Win With Trade Show Games

RENTAL Custom Island Design with 30' Wide x 10' High Backwall-Storage Closet plenty of room for a few trade show games

RENTAL Custom Island Design with 30′ Wide x 10′ High Backwall-Storage Closet, with plenty of room for a few trade show games

The toughest part of exhibiting at a trade show is getting the attention you want; you’d think the attendees were only there to play a few trade show games!

You do everything you can to make your trade show booth attractive and eye-catching. You display your products in interesting ways. Your booth signage is large enough and positioned so that attendees can see it from up to twenty feet away. A lot of thought goes into giving your booth what I call “curb appeal.”

Just like in the real estate world, people get their first impression of a house from how it looks when they drive up to it. If it doesn’t look good from the curb, chances are the prospective homebuyer isn’t going to be too interested in seeing what’s on the inside.

The same is true with your trade show exhibit.

Let’s talk about how to give your booth something more than just “curb appeal.” This is all about what goes on inside the booth to make it even more attractive and interesting to the people who pass by.

It may seem strange,  but one of the ways to accomplish this really is with trade show games and contests. In the right situation, even the tried-and-true “Spin and Win” wheel can spark interest in attendees near your display. Why?

Because people are “hard wired” to have an interest in a contest. Think of shows like “America’s Got Talent,” “Dancing With The Stars,” “The Voice,” American Idol” and the dozens and dozens of traditional game shows on TV. Their ratings are off the charts because people like to compete. And they also like to watch other people competing.

Games are a proven way of getting useful information from trade show booth visitors. And, presented well, they promote engagement and excitement—two things that make your exhibit more successful.

It’s important to remember that the game is only a tool to get people engaged. It’s still up to trade show exhibit staffers to turn that engagement into involvement.

So let’s look at some of the usual suspects in the field of trade show games, as well as some more unique ideas. Then you can decide what works for you.

trade show games prize_wheel

Trade Show Games Prize Wheel

Counting Games:

The prime example of a counting game is the jar full of gumballs. People guess the number of candies in the jar and whoever comes closest wins a prize. You can even “up” it a notch and offer a significantly more attractive prize if anyone guesses the number exactly.

But why limit it to candies in a jar? If your product is small (think sim cards, spark plugs or anything that could easily fit in the palm of your hand), you can place a large number of them in a container and play the same game. Only now, your product is part of the process, giving your booth staffers an opportunity to discuss it while people are entering the drawing. A Mason jar may not be big enough to make the game interesting with larger items, but how about a five-gallon water bottle? Now you’re talking!

Spin & Win:

This venerable game often gets overlooked because it’s been around a long time in an arena where everyone wants the latest and greatest. But don’t snub it just yet. In the right situation, it can get results and increase engagement in your booth.

Don’t make spinning the wheel the only involvement, however. For a chance at spinning, the attendee needs to fill out a lead card or give you a business card. Don’t make the process daunting, but ask for enough information to determine whether the visitor is a prospect or not.

And don’t make it all about getting stuff for free, either. Instead of each space on the wheel being some random prize or premium item, consider making most of the spaces represent discounts or upgrades on your product. This solves the problem of clogging up your trade show booth with people who are only interested in getting something for nothing. You can still put an interesting prize or two on the wheel to add an excitement factor.

For the best result from a game like this, position a staffer near the wheel, inviting people to participate. Some people need a friendly nudge to get started. And having that staffer there allows him or her to talk with visitors about your product while they play.

Arcade Games:

Several companies rent games like skeeball or basketball toss. These can also attract large numbers of people to your trade show exhibit.

How do you get the most out of a game like this? First, theme the game. Put your staffers in team jerseys that sport your company’s name, like the “Widget Wonders.” Or put them in referee shirts. Get your company or product name into the game or onto the equipment. This gives you greater exposure. Next, offer discounts or upgrades again to those who score one or more baskets (depending upon how generous you want to be). Offer a larger prize to the high-scoring winner of the day. You can even hold a shoot-out between high scorers at the end of the day.

Matching Games:

This can be done in a couple of ways. The simplest version I’ve seen is to use different colored decks of playing cards. You pass them out to booth visitors, and anyone who finds another attendee with the matching card from the opposite colored deck wins a prize. You can offer a larger prize for a team that creates a full house. You can even customize the playing cards with your logo to add extra brand exposure to the game.

The second way this can be played is with stickers. Along with your company or your product’s name, there’s a number or symbol on the sticker. From this point on, it’s played just like the game above. Attendees who find matching numbers or symbols can return to the booth to collect their prize. This approach gives greater visibility to your brand or product name, as well.

There are many other ways to incorporate trade show games into your exhibiting plans. The important thing is to squeeze the maximum marketing value out of the game itself. It’s not just about giving away random prizes. It’s about injecting a level of fun into interactions between your booth staffers and those attendees who play along.

For more information, check out our other article on trade show games or why trade show chatter matters.

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Here at American Image Displays, we don’t play games when it comes to providing the finest modular exhibits and accessories available anywhere at any price. From a pop-up exhibit to a large booth, we’ve got what you need to make a great impression. If you’re ready to “up your game” on the trade show floor, give us a call at (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].