What do delegates want?

Debra Ringer
Debra Ringer

After wandering around a bustling day one of Info Sec 2018 it got me thinking about what delegates want from an exhibition. 

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Info Sec 2018 at London Olympia is one of the key tech events in the calendar. All of the big names in IT security attend including many of our clients. But with so many stands to wander around, what do delegates actually want to see? 



1. Experiences

There was a lot of stand space dedicated to demos which is great – experiencing the product in hand can be really beneficial to put it into context. But keep them engaging and to the point - with so many other stands it can be information overload. Giving the option to book a demo after the event can be beneficial as the participant can be more focussed.

I liked how this exhibitor (right pic) had screens for demos along with whiteboard clouds that they could scribble on to tailor their demos to the delegate. 

2. Simple messaging

With so many stands at larger shows they can all start to merge into one. From a quick glance at a stand it should be easy to know what the company does so you know whether it’s worth finding out more. Clear messaging on uncluttered stand panels work really well for this.

I liked this messaging on the Cisco stand – it was visual and gave a quick idea of their solution without heavy jargon.  

3. Relevant content

So many of the stands were offering speaker sessions which is great – and popular this year was headphones for each delegate so that they could block out the wider event noise to focus. This is of course one of the main reasons we go to events – to learn about timely, topical and relevant information. A few exhibitors were handing out text heavy brochures or flyers without speaking to delegates to qualify them - chances are these will never be read and will go straight in the bin (recycling of course - see my blog on Going green at events). By running sessions on your stand you’re speaking to a captive audience: they wouldn’t take a seat if they weren’t at least slightly interested.

4. Something a bit different

Adding a point of difference to encourage delegates to “cross the line” onto the stand gives delegates something different to watch or do. Events get tiring and can be a bit monotonous going from stand to stand. Creating something a bit different not only allows you to stand out, but also makes the delegate’s day that bit more interesting. At Info Sec exhibitors opted for racing car simulators, VR experiences and other games. One stand even had t-shirt printing for those that had watched their presentation. We’ve done a range of things for clients like branded coffee bars, competitions and large touch screen games.

5. Approachable stand staff

This sounds really obvious. But walking around you see so many stand reps are sat on their phones or laptops and the last thing you want to do is go and speak to them. Being on an event stand for three days does cause your work to pile up, but rather than working on the stand take it away to one of the lounges.

On the flip side, when the stand is packed with reps waiting to pounce on you, it can be a tad intimidating. Have a rota for your maximum number of reps at any given time.  

6. A decent freebie

Everyone loves a freebie and whenever I go to an event my colleagues always ask what the giveaways were like. There’s a lot I could say about how to make them worth it from the exhibitor’s point of view (ideally something that is taken away and reused to encourage future contact), but this is just about what delegates want. So… whether it’s free chocolate or drink they are always welcome when wandering around the hall! The sponsored ‘cake pops’ being offered around Olympia were really popular and this stand was pretty much a bar – and it was packed!

Events are all about creating memorable, engaging and worthwhile experiences. From the design of your stand, to your messaging, content and stand reps, you need to consider the customer journey. If you’d like to discuss your next event with us and how to ensure its delegate focussed, contact us here.

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