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10 Things Exhibition Organisers Should Do Differently in 2017

19th September 2016
Interior of Senate House Exhibition Space

Trade Show Industry Trends

1.     Gamification

To really make an impact in 2017, find out how to gamify your exhibition stands. In the naturally competitive environment of a trade show or exhibition, grabbing and keeping the attention of visitors is key. Gamification will help give you that edge!

Gamification involves so much more than providing light entertainment for your guests or setting up a games console in the corner. Gamification entails using game design elements in a non-game context and applying these to your event. You need to utilise technology to create an attraction, which is relevant, interesting and fully engages people with your brand.  

Busy event Exhibition crowd






Credit: Kevin Dooley, Flickr.

Use gamification tactically at your exhibition to encourage actions such as early registration and networking. For example you can tap into people’s desire for better access and status amongst their peer group, by awarding in app rewards for those who actively network.  

You could create a touch screen game, such as a puzzle that reveals the company’s newest product or a quiz about the company. This way you build awareness, impart useful information and let people have fun at the same time. Any way to engage a visitor and leave them with a sense of enjoyment will prove successful in brand awareness and word of mouth recommendations too.

1.     iBeacons

Lead the way in 2017 by capitalising on iBeacon technology at your upcoming exhibitions. Reach out to your specific audience, amongst the throng of delegates, by using beacons on your stand.

An example of how this works well in the public arena can be seen in this campaign by Transport for London, illustrated in

And no, we don’t mean big flashing lights. Beacons are all about subtlety. Using Bluetooth Low Energy, beacons enable you to broadcast advertising messages to any smartphone with a synced app. The device must be within a radius of between 70-100m.

It’s a great way to encourage visits and push engagement by offering unique content. iBeacon technology can deliver virtual invitations to the people you want to connect with. This helps you to avoid timewasters and improve efficiency.

Using a beacon can make your stand a hot spot, with people receiving exclusive discounts and content. Once you’ve created a buzz and attracted a significant amount of attention, you’ll be able to document this for your own social media promotion or use at future fixtures. 

Steam of light like a beacon coming into a cave














Credit: Stenhock1, Flickr.

You can also use beacons to enable people to pick up their entry badges as well as provide feedback at the end of your trade show or exhibition. 

1.     Augmented Reality

Add an additional fun tech element to your exhibition by using augmented reality. A relatively new technology to enter the mainstream (hello Pokemon Go!), this is a great way to inspire your audience and set you apart from competitors.

If you’re displaying or launching products at your exhibition, augmented reality could be a particularly powerful tool to keep people at your stand. See how Tesco have harnessed the power of augmented reality through their ‘Home Book’ app for inspiration.


TESCO: Home Book Augmented Reality publishing from Engine Creative on Vimeo.

Augmented reality is the overlay of a computer-generated graphic on a real world environment. It’s an innovative way to spark engagement with your brand. For example, you could turn your company logo into a trigger, which is activated when those using an app point at the correct spot. This gives you the ability to showcase products or promotions, with the feeling of exclusivity.

As a technology it encourages creativity and outside the box thinking. Augmented reality will bring exciting, original twists to brand-customer interactions in 2017.

2.     Apps – periscope

The Periscope app is a fantastic way to add even more exposure to your exhibitions. You can allow people unable to attend to experience highlights of the exhibition.

A live video streaming platform, recently bought by Twitter, Periscope is a great way to transmit a live recording to non-attendees. It’s interactive too, meaning that whilst you’re broadcasting, they can comment and you can respond.

You can create unique video content wherever you are, extending engagement far beyond the exhibition hall.

3.     Secret Exhibitions

Have you ever thought of holding a secret exhibition or show? The concept might sound very unusual, but by organising a secret exhibition you’ll be surfing a key trend wave in 2017.

If done well, you can end up creating a level of buzz and brand awareness that may not be so easy to achieve with a standard exhibition or show. The Secret Cinema does this very well, creating immersive and super secretive film events, which are a huge success in the capital.

Dogs sharing a secret
















Credit: Luis Torres, Flickr.

Secret exhibitions involve keeping many key details of the show under wraps.

The secretive and exclusive nature of the exhibition builds hype and evokes curiosity.  Reveal details of the event bit by bit, so keeping your audience engaged and interested.  Give small clues along the way, so the final reveal will end up having a big impact.

Ensure you let key influencers know the secret first, so they can spread the message and create the buzz you’ve aimed for. Be certain that the actual exhibition itself is also packed with secrets and surprising reveals too, so that everyone who attends is suitably impressed and talks about it afterwards.

Exhibition Stand Design

1.     Lighting

Styles, shapes and layouts of exhibition stands are constantly changing. Keep ahead of the crowd by utilising lighting for new and dramatic effects.  Use LED Lighting to save electricity and create amazing effects for a lot less money. You can use these to wow your visitors with different tones and timed light displays. Why not use some spotlights and coloured wash lights to create a captivating stand?

2.     Curves and colours

Curved stands will add a unique and sophisticated feel to your exhibition stand in 2017. Softening the look of your stand, a curved aspect will automatically be more inviting, standing out from the other straight lines and angular stands. 

You could also use the curved effect to create a series of smaller pods, instead of one large stand. This will look more welcoming to potential customers. It also creates an intimate feeling, making interactions with potential customers feel more personal.

The best colour for your exhibition stand 2017 will be blue, a popular tone for this year. Blue is more alluring than black, but still retains a sophisticated and smart feel. Alternatively, play it safe and opt for black, great as an understated but decisive tone.

3.     Sustainable Stand Design

Exhibitions and trade shows will be moving more and more towards complete sustainability in 2017. Sustainable exhibition stands are a key part of this trend.

Carefully consider how you can use your stand again in the future. The more customised the stand, the less likely it can be used again.  Also, opt for stands made from re-usable and recyclable material. Making modular stands is a great choice, because these can be repurposed for other events.

 Exhibition Stand Ideas

4.     Booth visuals

Moving away from product shots and logos, booth visuals are getting increasingly lifestyle-focused. It’s important to make the imagery connect with your audience. Make sure your stand images depict your target customers using and benefitting from your product, making a difference to their lives.

By doing this, you’ll ensure a connection and engagement with visitors and hopefully stand out from the crowd.

5.      Digital swag bags

Instead of offering countless carrier bags full of leaflets, pens and newsletters destined for the bin, create a digital give-away.

You can customise USB sticks with the company logo and pack them full of free content. This can include company info and great takeaways that will make visitors remember you and hopefully get in touch. It also helps with sustainability and to cut costs, making it the perfect solution for raising brand awareness.

Create ground-breaking exhibitions by following our tips and stay on-trend in 2017. 


Senate House is a stylish London event venue. Centrally located in the leafy district of Bloomsbury, it’s easy to access, with great transport links. We have a dedicated in house events team to help your exhibition run smoothly. With a selection of elegant rooms and breakout spaces, Senate House is a unique and practical exhibition space. 

Interior of Senate House with live event

















Combining period style with 21st century technology, Senate House provides additional exhibition services too, such as furniture hire, photography and insurance to ensure your exhibition is a success.  Find out more about using Senate House as an exhibition space.

Contact us for help with all your venue enquiries on: 020 7862 8127 or fill out our enquiry form.

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