Everything You Need To Know About Exhibiting Outdoors
The Risks of Outdoor Exhibits
The first and most obvious concern with outdoor exhibiting is, of course, the weather. Depending on the time of year the show is running and location of show, the climate can play a huge role in attendee experience. The Product Manager will have to ship the kitchen sink for “Just-In-Case” scenerios. Extra tarps, weights for the tent structure, and hold down straps are just some of the extra resources required to make sure you booth is dry, cool, warm, or sturdy enough to make it throught the show. You also have to keep the labor in mind when setting up and tearing down in poor conditions. It’s standard practice within the industry for labor hours to increase due to bad weather. The best approach with an outdoor exhibit is to ask yourself “is everything in my exhibit safe if…”? We’ve seen an entire boat show in Miami completely destroyed by 2 inches of rain because it was in a Marina parking lot and the owner left the rain drains closed.
Booth placement is very important for outdoor events, which is why most company’s pick the space a year out. Where will the best opennings be? What are you displaying? When your exhibiting in a hall, things are much more consistent and predictable. When your exhibiting outside, the landscape, surrounding architecture, and traffic flow can all be major variables, so make sure you know your space well before you start designing your booth.
What about security? A 100″ monitor may look awesome, but do you pay a third party security to watch it all night, or pay labor to come back and secure your products? Will you have space in your booth for lockable cases to store your booth’s property? Or if you use labor to secure your product at night, what about the next morning? You will need to pay twice every day to have your propery packed and unpacked. At 5:00pm the Reps are walking out – you need to have a plan to keep your space secure.
The last major risk to consider is the landscape you’ll be placing your exhibit on. From inclines to potholes, you never know what the foundation will actually be like until you’re on site. Most exhibitors don’t realize that it is possible have a site survey once you settle on a booth location. If you have a level site you’re in good shape. If you’re running up or down hill, you’ll be able to prepare for the variance and avoid a disaster at the show.
The Rewards of Outdoor Exhibits
Each show will be different, but for the most part, there are much fewer restrictions on dimensions when exhibiting outdoors. Height is almost never a concern, and the overall mass of the structure can be much more expansive. This is an opportunity to do something structurally creative, and really draw attention to your booth.
Make A Mess
There is something about making a mess that attracts human attention and retention. Whether you’re blowing smoke, sending materials flying through the air, or watching various chemicals splatter all over the place; an outdoor exhibit allows you much more freedom to create chaos. This can be especially helpful if a live-demo of your product includes making a mess. A messy product demo can be one of the most effective experiences you can deliver to your attendees.
Right along with live demos, if your product is typically used outside, you have the opportunity to let your buyers experience your products the way they’ll use them – outside and on the job. The Miami Boat Show is a great example of this. The show takes place right in the Miami harbor, allowing vendors to give attendees a hands on experience with wind in their face and the waves under their feet.
In a packed exhibit hall, you have to keep your volume to a considerate level. When you’re outdoors, you have much more freedom to use volume to your advantage. The first time a loud sound pierces the air, human nature is to investigate. You can use music, presentations, or live demos to fill the air with the sounds of your exhibit, and watch intrigued attendees wander over.