Lead Capture

Top 10 Trade Show Games and Activities with their Pros and Cons [With Cheatsheet for Selecting the Best One]

Searching for the best trade show booth games? A list of the top 10 fun games for trade show booths is included in this post. There is also a cheatsheet, in the end, to quickly make the best pick for your next trade show.

The best trade show booth games attract and engage. But, while they should be fun and intriguing, it is also essential for them to meet your business objectives. 

You participate in a trade show and spend thousands of dollars not just because you want people to have a good time.

Yes, it is great that you want to entertain the visitors, but it can never be the sole objective of your participation. You’ll have other critical goals such as lead generation, product launch, boosting brand awareness, or increasing sales.

So, the right game for your booth is fun and enables you to get closer to your exhibition goals.

[READ: How Trade Show Games Boost Audience Engagement]

With that in mind, here are 10 trade show booth game ideas that you can consider for your upcoming event-

1- Custom Trade Show Trivia

Interactive trivia games are fun and very effective in grabbing attention. And when it is a custom trivia built for a brand, it can also help achieve business objectives.

A custom interactive trivia online has questions crafted around a particular industry, business, product, or service. Booth visitors play through iPads or tablets, and there are large LED leaderboards to keep things competitive and fun.

Players fill up the form and answer questions for a chance to be one of the top scorers who win prizes. The questions are carefully crafted to help with lead qualification. 

The Pros

Custom trivia encourages engagement. It allows you to collect engaged leads and boost brand awareness while entertaining and stimulating your audience. In addition, the leaderboard and prize rewards add to the game's competitiveness.

[READ: How Trade Show Trivia Games Assist in Cross-selling and Up-selling]

The Cons

Creating the right trivia questions can be challenging and time-consuming for the already-busy event managers. However, partnering with the right custom trivia game service can solve this problem. Not only do you get a platform to run the game, but right from creating questions suited to your brand and taking care of deployment and setting up on the day of the event, everything is taken care of while you focus on other important aspects.  

2- Virtual Prize Wheel

Prize wheels are excellent at drawing a crowd. And if you need a fun and engaging game for your trade show booth, a virtual prize wheel can be an apt choice.

The game is played on an iPad or tablet, eliminating the need for an actual spin wheel installation at your booth. Instead, visitors use the on-booth device to enter their contact details and participate in the game.

The biggest incentive to play this game is the opportunity to win prizes. Exhibitors can consider a combination of free product samples, treats, and cash prizes. The jackpot or grand prize could be a free one-year supply of your product or service.

The Pros 

It is a digital version of a popular and easy-to-play game that entices the visitors with the prizes and collects their contact details in the process.  

The Cons

Since the prizes are given away on almost every draw/spin, you'll need to factor in the cost and adjust your budget. Moreover, since participants are motivated to win the prize, it may sometimes be difficult for you to meet your business objectives, such as brand awareness. 

3- Digital Fishbowl

Like the virtual prize wheel, the digital fishbowl is a modern take on a traditional trade show game.

Rather than keeping an actual glass bowl where booth visitors can put their business cards to enter a lucky draw, a digital fishbowl generally involves an online survey.

Booth visitors can complete the survey with the devices installed at the booth to participate in the contest. The survey questions are crafted to help the exhibitor qualify the attendees. 

The Pros

Unlike the traditional fishbowl that just collects random leads without qualifying, a digital fishbowl proves more useful for a business.

The Cons

Although it may sound fun, the digital fishbowl is not that fun and engaging for visitors. Answering survey questions is rarely fun. Moreover, there is little opportunity for the booth staff to engage with the visitors lessening your chances of meeting your core business objectives such as brand awareness or engaging with them and informing them about your product or service. 

4- Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is one of the most fun games for trade show booths as it fascinates and arouses curiosity. The game involves subtle clues based on which the participants must collect the hidden items spread across the play area.

You can use the booth area or even the entire trade show floor to hide the items, but only after getting permission from the organizer and sometimes other exhibitors. 

You can distribute prizes to 5-10 people who finish the hunt first or add every finisher into a lucky draw.

The Pros

Scavenger hunts can be creatively used by brands to tell a story and introduce people to their products or services.

The Cons

One of the biggest disadvantages of a scavenger hunt is that it takes a lot of space to play this game. With most trade show booths being medium or small in size and event organizers rarely ready to let you use the entire floor, this can become challenging to implement. 

Moreover, this is typically a team activity. However, you'll usually find 1 or 2 representatives from a company visiting your booth in most trade shows. This makes it difficult for your booth staff to create a fun environment among strangers. 

5- AR/VR Games

If you're a technology company, you can use Artificial Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) for your trade show games to attract traffic and captivate the audience.

You can use this technology in many different ways to organize unique and interesting games. For instance, you can use AR to create a scavenger hunt even if you have a small booth.

The use of AR/VR will automatically make your brand appear modern and technology-friendly. But note that you’ll need tech staff to handle these activities at the booth.

The Pros

AR/VR adds that novelty factor to your booth. The game you choose can be designed to help people learn more about your brand.

The Cons

From setting up the equipment to logistics, it can be difficult to pull this off. Moreover, with participants wearing AR/VR equipment and immersed in their game, it can become challenging for your booth staff to engage with them. 

6- Branded Photo Booth

While it is not really a booth game, I’m still adding it to the list as photo booths are fun. They’re also very effective in attracting a crowd, especially if your target audience is young.

You can install branded mock-ups of platforms like Facebook and Instagram or attractive head cutouts at your booth where the visitors can click pictures.

You can share the photos on your social media pages, and there is always a possibility that your visitors will upload them on their pages and tag you.

The Pros

No business can ignore social media anymore. Branded photo booths can help your brand reach more people on leading social platforms. Moreover, the time people spend at the booth will also allow your staff to interact with them.

The Cons

While they are fun, they do not qualify the leads and do not give the booth staff to engage with the visitors. Moreover, with businesses over-using this in the last few years, they have lost the appeal they once used to have. 

7. Arcade Games

Classic arcade games like bowling, basketball, retro video games, and claw prize machines will never go out of fashion. As these games are already popular among people, they should be able to attract a constant stream of traffic to your booth.

And there are many different ways in which you can personalize the games for your brand. For instance, the game counter and props can feature your logo. Top players can also be given branded merchandise.

The Pros

Everyone loves arcade games, especially when they can offer some respite from the monotony of a trade show. Moreover, the games also offer various options to highlight your brand and let people know more about you and your business.

The Cons

Depending on the game you choose, they'll take up a lot of space, and you may need to rent out a really bigger booth. Moreover, something as simple as the lead collection is still manual, which beats the purpose of setting up the game. You may have a lot of buzz at the booth, but it may or may not translate into engaged leads. 

8- Email Sign-Up Raffle

We’re in the 21st century, and it's time to bid goodbye to the age-old business card raffle finally. The email sign-up raffle will require you to install touchpad kiosks through which the booth visitors will enter their email addresses and agree to receive your marketing emails.

At the end of the day, you can choose 5-10 random email addresses that’ll win the prize. As always, the prizes can be your products or services or branded merchandise.

The Pros

While most booths would focus on collecting business cards, you can stand out by only asking the booth visitors to provide their email addresses.

The Cons

They do not engage your audience in any way. And many may not be comfortable sharing their emails without knowing you or trusting you. Again, it scores low on engagement and fun. 

9- Scratch-Off Cards

We all love testing our luck every now and then. And what better than scratch-off cards to test luck? You can distribute branded scratch-off cards among your booth visitors to keep things interactive and interesting. The exciting activity will keep things lively and attract more traffic to your booth.

You can use large displays to showcase the top prizes to make the game highly captivating.

The Pros

You can create a positive image of your brand by providing the booth visitors with an opportunity to play the odds.

The Cons

Unless the prize is really grand (which will also cost you a lot of money), participants may not be interested in this. Many feel this to be a marketing ploy to get leads. Moreover, the lead collection process is still manual, and there isn't much qualification. 

10- Social Media Hashtag Contest

Hashtags are wildly popular on social platforms. You can take advantage of this trend by running a hashtag contest. If you don’t already have a brand hashtag, you can select a short and catchy brand- or event-specific hashtag for the trade show. When people visit your booth, ask them to follow your page and use the hashtag with the event pictures they upload on their pages. 

People who fulfill the criteria will be added to the lucky draw for a chance to win branded prizes.

The Pros

A hashtag contest is a smart way to boost your social media following and encourage people to know more about your brand.

The Cons

This may be great for a younger audience, but if you’re hosting slightly mature audiences, it may not work. People are usually reluctant to post on social media platforms about their whereabouts. 

Cheatsheet for Selecting the Best Trade Show Game or Activity

While you should look at the pros and cons before choosing the right activity for your trade show booth, it is equally important to weigh the options against some important parameters. 

4 key questions that you should look into are-

  1. Is the game or activity tech-based? 
  2. Does it offer an automated lead collection process?
  3. Does it help you in qualifying the leads? 
  4. Does it help you in brand awareness?

This will help you select the best trade show game or activity that is engaging, fun, and meets your business objectives. Have a look at the table below. 

Cheatsheet table for selecting the best trade show game and activity where top 10 trade show games are compared against parameters such as tech-based, automated lead collection, qualified lead collection, & brand awareness.

[READ: Trade Show Planning Guide for Event Managers]

Use Trade Show Games for Maximum Impact

As can be seen in the table above, a custom interactive trivia game perfectly fulfills the criteria of being the perfect gaming solution for trade shows.

A custom quiz can be the right exhibition game to attract, engage, collect and qualify leads, and boost brand awareness without requiring any significant setup or staff involvement. 

Contact us to know more about custom trivia and what makes them the best choice to achieve your trade show objectives.

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