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5 Things You Should Know About Exhibiting At NRA

More than 1,300 exhibitors attend one of the biggest trade shows in the foodservice and hospitality industry. With three halls filled with other exhibitors and more than 44,000 attendees, here’s how you can make the most of your show.

1. Know Your Audience

Show halls can become a maze during trade shows and NRA is no different. From May 20-23, nearly all of the hall will be filled with exhibitors and foodservice professionals. Luckily, NRA has separated the show into different pavilions for specialty products and services, which allows you to be more strategic in your planning. If you’re looking for a specific product, or selling a specific product, make sure you take advantage of these. Don’t forget to get online and check out the show floor plan, and take advantage of the interactive My Expo Plan to organize everything online. Even with four days to explore, there’s no way an attendee or an exhibitor will be able to see everything. Use the interactive tool to jot down a to-do list of some of the key exhibits and events you want to check out.

2. Avoid Hanging Signs

Trade show marketers love to include hanging signs into their exhibit designs. Hanging signs provide a great opportunity for elevated branding and defining your booth space. However, hanging signs aren’t the best use of your budget at NRA Show. NRA limits exhibit height to 16 feet for both hanging signs and floor-standing structures at McCormick Place. Focus your budget on creating a targeted graphic message and making an architectural statement that reaches that same 16-foot height without the added expense of rigging.

NRA Signage Trade Show Hanging Sign

3. Communicate With Your Space

When it comes to designing your exhibit, you want attendees to walk away with a tangible message to go along with their experience. Most exhibitors at NRA create a great experience with live demos and food samples, but very few integrate their messaging well. Most value propositions go far beyond the taste (experience) of your food. You need to be communicating why your product is unique, valuable, and desireable. Messaging can be tightly woven with experience to create strong brand perceptions. Work with experts who can design your exhibit to acheive this balance.

4. Capture Lead Information

The NRA show is starting to become a Sam’s Club-like experience where attendees stop by booths for their favorite food, and leave with very little consideration to your product. As mentioned above, as great as your food may taste, buying decsions usually go far beyond the product experience. Offering free samples is a great way to drive traffic, but understand that traffic will be of very little value to you if you do not communicate your value in the space and have some process for collecting lead information.

Mold Masters NPE - Seating Area Inside of the Booth
Seating areas like this are great for casually exchanging information and generating leads.

5. Get Online

The NRA show is supposed to be fun, casual, and social, so why not share it with everyone else? The National Restaurant Association has tens of thousands of online followers and encourages exhibitors to get social. At a show with the biggest brands in hospitality and chefs that are internationally recognized, expect a flood of information to be shared. Being active during trade shows are a great way to get in touch with marketers and salespeople at companies that you want to do business with. Look at our blog to see more tips on using more social media in your trade show marketing plan.

NRA Show is filled with potential buyers. More than 85% of attendees have a say in their company’s purchasing process. It’s a show that can drive several months of sales so it’s important to make the most of it.

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