The ultimate trade show game guide

A beginner to pro guide to ace at your next event with trade show games

"It's more fun when you're not the only one having it."

The Great Exhibition[1], widely touted as the father of modern exhibitions, was organized in England in 1851. Hosted by Queen Victoria, the gigantic event had over 100,000 exhibits and around 6 million visitors.

Fast forward to the present, the trade shows and events industry is worth more than $100 billion[2], with approximately 13,000 exhibitions organized annually in US alone.

But while these physical events have proved their mettle, most exhibitors would agree success at trade shows is more than just booking a booth and showing up.

Even after acing the elements like great products/services, trade show booth design, visuals, giveaways, and well-trained staff, exhibitors struggle with creating a buzz and attracting visitors. More often than not, it is due to the lack of an effective audience engagement strategy.

At Audiencegage, a leading event gamification company, we help you exhibitors add that “wow” factor to your booths, attract attendees, and achieve business objectives.

In this guide, we share our nuggets on trade show gamification, tips on choosing, and how to excel at an event with the right game.

We hope it helps you kick the ball out of the park at your next event
.Let’s get into it!

Part 1

Audience engagement

First things first, what is trade show engagement?

Engagement, with regard to physical events, can be defined as emotional, affective, or cognitive experiences visitors have with your booth or brand. The strategy helps improve your interaction with the attendees so that they’re no longer passive spectators but active participants. With a well-thought trade show engagement strategy, you can increase audience involvement with your brand and build a deeper connection with them. And if you succeed at striking the right chord with the booth visitors, you put your event objectives well within your reach.

Why engage your attendees at trade shows?

On a busy trade show floor, it is about standing apart from the crowd aka other booths and giving people a unique reason to visit your booth and spend more time. With most exhibitors relying on overused trade show booth ideas like custom exhibits and visuals, an engagement strategy could be that differentiating factor you’re looking for.

Here are some reasons why you should engage your attendees at exhibitions-

1. Attract more booth visitors

Imagine you’re attending a trade show with various booths. Would you be excited to go to a booth that’s empty or the one where you see buzz? No points for answering that right? Attracting booth visitors starts with great visuals but goes beyond it. Unfortunately, many exhibitors just stop at the visuals hoping they could get the maximum visitor share in a trade show. However, it’s engaging with the visitors that helps you attract more attendees to your booth.

2. Amplify brand awareness

Activities like custom trade show games can play a crucial role in your engagement strategy. The game can be designed in a way to help the visitors learn more about your brand, products, and services. Not to forget, the games also work as an excellent point of attraction.

3. Build trust

Through engagement activities, exhibitors can tell their brand story meaningfully. The engagement strategy can provide visitors with a more positive brand experience, building trust and loyalty in the process.

4. Collect more leads

An effective engagement strategy also improves lead collection. A deeper audience connection built through engagement gives your business an edge over others. It can not only attract more visitors to the booth but also make them more willing to share their contact details and do business with you.

How trade show activities engage attendees?

Trade show booth engagement ideas like interactive games are trusted by exhibitors and loved by visitors. With engagement now being a vital component of every marketing strategy, such activities have gained prominence in the trade show industry.

But how do these activities help with engagement? Intrinsically, it is all about human emotions.

Take a look-

1. Curiosity builds interest

Vendor booth ideas for engagement are super effective in building curiosity among the attendees. Whether a custom quiz, photo booth, scavenger hunt, or scratch-off cards, the distinctive feature makes people want to visit your booth and know what's happening.

2. FOMO (Fear of missing out)

If you're at a trade show and see others thronging a particular booth, wouldn't you also want to be there? After all, you wouldn't want to miss out on the buzz, right? This feeling of FOMO is another reason trade show booths with engagement activities are a huge hit.

3. Dopamine Induced Excitement

We all want to win, and this sense of beating others and winning a prize makes people want to focus on the activity and give it their best shot. Many engagement activities, like trivia, have a live leaderboard with the top scorers generally being awarded exciting prizes. Good experiences coupled with an incentive activate the reward part of the brain, releasing dopamine.

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Best Ideas to engage your audience at trade shows

So, what are the best ways to engage people at your exhibit? Here are some of the top choices-

1. Trade show games

Gamification at trade shows is a growing trend. These are fun and interesting booth activities that can be crowd-pullers if executed correctly. Some popular booth games are

Custom Trade Show Trivia
Personality Quiz
Virtual prize wheels
Scratch-off cards

2. Product demos

Product demos are one of the most popular trade show engagement ideas. They help you educate people about your brand and product/service in an interactive manner and make them excited about your offerings.

3. AR/VR

Latest technologies like AR/VR can also be utilized to offer a unique experience to booth visitors. You can use these technologies to demonstrate your product/service or even deploy an interactive game that people can play through AR/VR headsets.

4. Photo booth

In this age of social media, people love clicking pictures. So, why not give this beloved activity a platform at your exhibit by deploying a photo booth? You can customize the photo booth with your branding for free promotions every time a visitor clicks a picture and shares it online.

How to choose the right trade show engagement activity?

To ensure your engagement strategy delivers the expected results, you must be careful with the activity you choose for the booth.

Here are some of the most critical elements of a successful engagement activity-

1. The activity should be fun and interesting

While many people visit trade shows with a business objective, there's no reason not to make this fun and rewarding. On a busy trade show floor, there's nothing more vital than an engagement activity that is enjoyable, informative, and entertaining.

2. It should align with your objectives

While you definitely want people to have a good time at your booth, you also have more important goals to achieve. Thus, the best trade show booths deploy engagement activities that help them get closer to their event objectives.

3. Ideally, it shuld be tech-based

For most people, their love for technology spills over to their everyday life choices. So, as compared to a traditional activity, exhibitors should select something that is more tech-based and better aligns with audience preferences.

4. It should help you in lead collection

Integration of lead collection with the engagement activity can help exhibitors collect more loads. And these are not your standard leads. These are engaged leads where the potential customers or clients already know about you and your products/services through the booth activity.

4. The activity should be easy to setup and manage

Your booth staff already have their plates full. And hiring more people will only make the exhibit more expensive. So, try to look for an activity that requires minimal setup and is easy to manage.

Now that you know how to choose the right activity, let's consider why we recommend games as the best trade show activity.

Games VS other activities

How do fun games for trade show booths compete with other booth activities?

Let’s compare the booth games with other activities based on the five factors discussed above-

As can be seen in the table above, trade show booth games are one of the few that effectively fulfill the must-haves of successful engagement activity. While other activities also have their benefits, a custom exhibition game can be a one-stop solution for your engagement needs.

Well, it’s time to move to the next section….Trade Show Games. In this part, let’s delve deeper into why trade show games, various types, and how to choose the right one.

Part 2

Trade show games

As discussed, there are plenty of trade show booth ideas you can consider for engagement. But trade show games are gaining widespread popularity and for all the right reasons.

Why games for audience engagement at trade shows?

Trade show booth games are a perfect fit for physical events like trade shows as they effectively fulfill all the previously discussed criteria of successful engagement activity. For instance-

1. Booth games are fun

People love playing games as they’re fun and entertaining. The booth game can be a great way to offer attendees some much-needed relief from the monotony of other booths.

2. Some trade show games can be customized

There are custom exhibition games that can be personalized to help with event objectives. Whether your goal is to boost brand awareness, launch a new product/service or collect leads, fun games for trade show booths can support your objectives.

3. Tech-based games can help in how visitors percieve your brand

You can find plenty of tech-based and online trade show games. Upgrading to one such activity will also help with brand perception, encouraging people to believe that you’re a technologically-advanced company.

4. You can digitize your lead collection with a custom game

Games can digitize the lead collection and help you collect more engaged leads with higher conversion potential. Before or after participating in the activity, visitors can be asked to fill out an online lead collection form.

5. Games are easy to manage

Games like custom trivia don’t have extensive setups and require minimal staff involvement. Rest assured your booth staff can fully focus on engaging the booth visitors.

Types of trade show games

Trade show games are nothing new. Exhibitors have used prize wheels, fishbowls, and arcade games for a long time. But what has changed in the last few years is how these games are designed to help exhibitors with their business goals. The games are no longer set up only to add a fun element to the booth. An important consideration, yes, but interactive games should also help you meet your event goals.

Game providers like us work extensively with exhibitors to build interactive trade show games according to their target audience and business goals.

Some of the most popular types of trade show games are-

1. Trade Show Trivia

An interactive trivia game online is an excellent way to grab the attention of the attendees. Combined with a live leaderboard, it can provide your booth an edge over others.

2. Arcade Games

Here you deploy some evergreen arcade games, such as retro video games, claw prize machines, bowling, etc., to attract visitors.

3. Scratch-Off Cards

Let attendees test their fortunes with an offline or online scratch-off card game where they can win exciting prizes.

4. Scavenger Hunt

Let the attendees solve clues placed around the trade show floor to find hidden items and possibly the ultimate prize.

4. Bingo

How about a round of bingo with the visitors? This game of luck can be customized with branded cards to help with brand promotion.

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Factors to consider while choosing the best trade show game

Not all the booth games for events are built to support business objectives. So, how should you choose the best? Focus on these critical factors-

1. Effectiveness

Analyze the effectiveness of the interactive trade show booth games based on your event objectives. For instance, if the goal is improving brand awareness, the game should help educate visitors about your brand and products. In such cases, games like arcade games may be able to do little for your brand.

2. Booth Space

Games like arcade games, scavenger hunts, and AR/VR-based games may require more space. So, if you've rented a smaller booth, say a 10'x10' exhibit booth, ensure you choose the game carefully.

3. Budget

Generating positive returns on your trade show investment should be your key goal. So, spending a lot of money on a game that doesn't help you with the event objectives can hurt your prospects.

4. Branding

The games provider should either enable or help you customize the chosen game with your brand logo, colors, and type fonts to help you with your marketing goals.

5. Time Spent

The booth visitors don't appreciate long waiting times. Some time-consuming games, like a scavenger hunt, however enjoyable, can lead to excessive staff involvement in hosting the game or wait time for attendees trying to play the game. Moreover, this can also distract your precious booth staff from the ultimate goal of any event - to interact with your audience and engage with them.

“The game should not overshadow your business.”  

Now that we know various factors to look for when choosing a game, Trade Show Trivia seems like an obvious choice, right? Well, let's dive deep into this in our next part.

Part 3

Trade Show Games

Custom trade show trivia can easily be integrated into any event marketing strategy to help exhibitors with their event objectives, be it awareness, leads, or product launches. The game requires minimal setup, including a few iPads or other similar devices and a live leaderboard to keep things simple for the players and the booth staff.

Why trade show trivia for audience engagement?

We’ve been playing trivia from a very young age. And now that we’ve grown up, most people would agree that we still love a good trivia game every now and then. But what makes trivia so popular? More importantly, why trade show trivia for engagement?

1. Interactive Trivia Games Test Our Intelligence

People love testing their intelligence by answering trivia questions. Moreover, as these games require the players to be mentally present in the moment to answer the questions correctly, they work very well in enabling active participation.

2. Custom Trade Show Trivia Aids in Socialization

Every visitor who plays the booth game wants to be the top scorer and win the mega prize. The entire process of competing with other players instantly turns the custom quiz into a fun and entertaining social activity.

3. Booth Quiz Works as a Powerful Ice-Breaker

The custom questions of the trivia introduce people to your brand and products/services. Once they already have a basic understanding of your brand, your booth staff can approach them to take the conversation forward.

4. Trade Show Trivia Makes Your Brand Memorable

Most people forget the majority of the booths they visit at the trade show as they don’t offer anything unique. But the chances of remembering a booth where they enjoyed a fun game and maybe won a prize is significantly higher.

Trade show trivia VS other games

While there are various interactive trade show booth games to choose from, what makes custom trivia one of the best choices? Let's try understanding this by comparing custom trivia with other popular trade show games.

The table above clearly highlights why interactive trivia games are an excellent choice for trade show booths. Whether it is a tech exhibition or a healthcare trade show, you can consider deploying custom trivia at your booth to attract and engage the attendees.

Types of trade show trivia

So, you’ve decided to go with a trade show quiz for your booth. But what type of quiz? The selection is critical as it significantly impacts the success of this engagement activity.You can consider factors like the type of trade show and event objectives to make the right selection. The game provider can also assist you in making the right decision.As for the available options, here are a few you can consider-

As for the available options, here are a few you can consider-

1. Industry Trivia

If you want trivia to educate the players about your industry and the latest trends, industry trivia can be an excellent choice. Such trivia games also make it easier for the exhibitors to incorporate their brands and solutions into the quiz questions.

2. General Knowledge Trivia

Want to keep things fun and interesting? Deploy a general knowledge trivia quiz. For instance, the quiz questions can revolve around the city where the trade show is organized. Or you can also consider themes like sports, food, travel, music, etc.

3. Picture Trivia

A picture trivia game is also a great way to keep things fun and light. You can either show photographs and ask people to identify who/what they are or ask questions and ask them to select the right picture from the available options.

4. Product/Service Recommendation Trivia

It is often the case that people don't exactly know the right product/service that could help them with their problems. So, your quiz can ask a series of related questions to help them decide.

5. Personality Trivia

Personality tests and quizzes are a huge hit among people as they help them know more about themselves. You can design creative questions around self-discovery and watch your booth attract a steady stream of visitors.

6. Diagnostic or Survey Trivia

Want to know more about the problems your target audience is struggling with to refine your product or service further? Consider diagnostic trivia. For instance, a healthcare brand can have questions about potential health issues, skin type, or fitness level.

7. True/False or Yes/No Trivia

True/false and yes/no quiz games for event booths are also very popular. These quizzes have factual questions or questions designed around a particular industry, problem, product/service, or personality.

What are the elements of a successful trade show trivia?

So, what turns a trivia quiz into a successful trade show trivia that helps the exhibitor leave a lasting impact on the potential customers? Take a look-

1. Customization

The trade show trivia games should provide exhibitors with ample customization opportunities. From the brand logo and game interface to the design and colors of the quiz, all the elements should be customized to better align with the brand guidelines. It should ensure that people are not playing any random quiz but a quiz specifically designed for your brand.

2. Engaging and Purposeful Questions

The trivia questions are the heart and soul of your activity. They should be fun and engaging. At the same time, they should have a clear purpose. For instance, if you're exhibiting products in the fintech sector, some questions around the industry can not only make it interesting specifically for your audience but also help you engage better with the visitors.You can create the quiz questions yourself or work with the game provider to develop exciting questions built around your brand and event objectives and specifically suited to your audience. Just make sure that the questions are not too difficult or too easy. Stick to the middle for the best results.

Pro Tip: Give variations to your questions. For instance, following a technical question around your industry with a fun and relatively easy question can keep the interest of your audience.

3. Analytics

Analytics has now started making its presence felt in the trade show industry. You can now find custom trivia providers that offer games with analytical capabilities. For instance, after the event, we share a detailed report with important data like engagement analysis, attendee data, and more to help you plan more successful events in the future.

4. Lead Collection

The lead collection is one of the most important event goals. Some interactive trade show quizzes digitize the lead collection process to help exhibitors collect more engaged leads. Before playing the quiz, people are asked to fill out a short online lead form. The quiz is connected to an online lead collection platform that the exhibitors can access during and after the event.

It looks like you've zeroed in on the right trade show game (hopefully, it's trade show trivia, but either way), but your job is still not over. So, in the next part, let's discuss promoting your event and activity.

Part 4

Trade Show Game
Marketing and Promotion

Fun games for trade show booths, like custom trivia, can be a comprehensive solution for exhibitors looking for an engaging booth activity. However, you should also promote the booth game to attract a crowd. And there are many different ways to do it right.

How to market your trade show game to attract audience?

You can use online and offline strategies to promote your booth game. Some ideas you can consider are-

1. Promote the Booth Game on the Trade Show Floor

You can use overhead structures, customized standees, banners, or large screens for advertising your booth game on the trade show floors. Use attractive colors and lighting to ensure the display attracts visitors' attention.

2. Hare Event Photos/Videos

Once the event is underway, you can take pictures and videos of people enjoying your booth game and share them through your social media handles. If the trade show has an official page on popular social platforms, you can share your content on those pages as well to increase your reach.

3. Go Live

Another powerful strategy to promote your trade show booth game is to go live during the event. Almost all the major social platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, now come with the live streaming feature.

4. Use Emails

You’ll mostly have an email strategy to promote your participation at the upcoming trade show. While promoting your booth in the emails, don’t forget to highlight the booth game and the exciting prizes you have for the participants.

How to select giveaways for your trade show?

Giveaways are an excellent way to encourage people to visit your booth. Depending on your marketing strategy and budget, you can only distribute the trade show giveaways to people who play your booth game, are top scorers, or to everyone who visits the booth.

As for what the giveaway should be, here are a few tips to help you make the decision-

Choose giveaways that resonate with your target audience and align with your brand
Select something that people can use in their everyday life
Avoid choosing items like stickers, t-shirts, mugs, etc., that are commonly available at every other booth
You can also take inspiration from the location where the event is being held to select unique giveaways

Here are some other tips to help you with the trade show giveaways-

Integrating your giveaways into your engagement strategy is an effective way to ensure only people who engage with your brand receive the goodies
Don’t forget to customize the giveaway with your brand logo, colors, etc., so that people remember your brand every time they use the product
Choose giveaways that resonate with your target audience and align with your brand

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How to train booth staff for trade show games?

Your booth staff has a significant role in making your exhibit a success. If you’re deploying a trade show booth quiz, don’t forget to train your booth staff for the same. Some tips for training the booth staff are as follows-

1. Choose a Simple Trade Show Game

The easier the trade show game is, the easier it'll be for you to train your booth staff. A game with complex instructions will be challenging for the staffers and the participants. Moreover, your booth staff will have to spend a lot of time explaining the game to the booth visitors.

2. Start Training Your Booth Staff in Advance

Whether hiring professional staffers or selecting an internal team from your office, it is always better to start training them at least a few weeks before the event. Then, once the booth game is selected, train the staff on all aspects, including the gameplay, the working of the interactive game app, scoring, etc., to avoid any issues during the event.

3. Work on Their People Skills

Once the participants are done playing the booth game, your booth staff can approach them to take things forward. First, however, the staffers should possess excellent people skills to communicate with all the different types of attendees. You can consider hiring a professional to train the booth staff for these vital skills, especially if you have an internal team staffing the booth.

Wow, you've come this far. But don't just stop at marketing and promotion. In the next part, let's talk about some tips that will come in handy, like how to select a trade show game provider, the cost, and more. Let's get into it.

Part 5

Trade Show Games
Tips and Tricks

How to come up with trivia questions?

The questions of your custom trade show trivia should be fun and challenging. Use these tips to create interactive trivia game questions-

Ensure the questions revolve around your industry.
Creatively integrate your brand and products/services into the questions
Don't make the trivia too easy or too complex.
Select the right type of trivia you believe will resonate the best with your target audience.
Finalize the total number of questions.
Work with the trivia provider for the best results.

Factors to choose a trade show gamification service

What are the factors you should take into consideration when selecting the trade show game provider? Take a look-

1. Industry Experience

Ensure the game provider has adequate industry experience. For instance, if you’re a B2B company, look for a game provider that excels in B2B trade show gamification.

2. Software/Hardware Requirements

The trade show game should not have extensive software/hardware requirements. For instance, games like custom trivia have minimal setup requirements.

3. Live Leaderboard

The gamification company should also offer a live leaderboard feature as it makes the game more competitive and fun.

4. Online Lead Collection

The game should also help you collect leads online. There should be an online lead collection platform you can log in to access the collected leads at any time.

5. Post-Show Analytics

The game provider should also offer post-show analytics to help you better understand how well the game performed and how you can further improve your future events.

6. Live Support

If anything goes wrong during the trade show, the support team of the gamification company should offer all the assistance you need.

What is the cost of a custom trade show quiz?

Cost is definitely a vital consideration for every exhibitor. While you can easily find trade show trivia games for a few hundred dollars or even for free, it is important to ascertain whether such games contribute to your success.

Wouldn’t it be better to invest in a quality custom trivia quiz that can actually help you with your event objectives, collect more leads, improve sales, and grow your business? So, while cost is an important factor, avoid selecting custom trade show trivia solely based on this factor.

We hope the guide helps you to achieve your trade show objectives and ace them with the help of games and activities.

In the final part, learn more about Audiencegage and how we can help you in your journey to becoming a pro exhibitor at a trade show.

Part 6

Audiencegage- Your Trusted
Trade Show Game Partner

Audiencegage is a leading event gamification company. We use the power of custom trivia games to help our clients engage with the attendees at B2B trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, and conventions. By personalizing the booth game around our clients' objectives, we ensure our trivia not only creates a buzz but also helps them with business growth.

We offer end-to-end custom trivia development services so that our clients have one less thing to worry about when planning the event. Over the years, Audiencegage has collaborated with businesses across industries, including Real Estate, Healthcare, FinTech, Manufacturing, Construction, IT Services, and more, and provided them with exceptional results and ROI.

How can audiencegage help?

Audiencegage, with its custom trivia, can add that "wow" factor to your booth. While games automatically work as crowd-pullers, we customize them as per our clients' business goals, converting them into a powerful marketing and lead collection tool.
Combined with a live leader board, post-show analytics, and live support, rest assured we can take your exhibit to the next level and make it memorable for the attendees.

How does it work?

Here’s a quick overview of how Audiencegage works-

1. Create Quiz Content

The process begins with elaborate discussions with our clients. We try to understand their target audience and their needs and expectations before we start working on the quiz content.

2. Trivia Content Review

Once the content is created, our gaming experts review and QC it extensively to ensure everything is bang-on. We also take inputs from our clients to refine the content further. The idea here is that the game should score well on 3 key aspects-

  • It is fun and engaging
  • It represents your brand well
  • It meets your business and event goals

3. Customizing Quiz Aesthetics

Based on your brand guidelines, we customize the quiz aesthetics. All the aspects, including brand logos, background images, and colors, are carefully chosen to align with your brand. At this stage, we may ask you for your logos, fonts, and brand colors to ensure the game represents you best.

4. Quiz Testing

The booth activity needs to function flawlessly during the event. As a result, the trivia goes through rigorous testing before the setup instructions are shared with the clients.

5. Quiz Deployment

We share the setup instructions with the clients and support them through the process. Rest assured, deploying our custom trivia is a straightforward process that doesn’t require more than a few minutes.

The next steps

Thank you for reading through the e-book, and hopefully, it helps you with all the information you need to use gamification strategy correctly to ace your next event. With that, here are a few things we recommend you do.

Schedule Product Demo

Want to know more about Audiencegage and our solutions? Schedule a quick 30-minute Demo with us and see how gamification can help you.

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