7 Contest Ideas to Attract People to Your Tradeshow Booth

We know the sheer amount of prep work that goes into preparing for an upcoming tradeshow. There’s the timely matter of sorting out logistics: booking flights, hotels, your booth reservation and more. Then all of the necessary equipment and items: signage, electronics, marketing materials and more. After weeks or even months of preparation, it’s fair to feel like you’ve put in the due effort to make this trade show appearance a success.

However, sometimes it takes a bit more than a well-branded tablecloth or high-gloss pamphlet to draw people in to your booth. Boost traffic to your booth by trying out one of these seven contests – because who doesn’t like winning free swag?

7 Ideas for Tradeshow Contests

  1. The “Easter Egg Hunt”: Convention centers and mammoth venues are not just good spots for largescale events – they also provide ample hiding places! Sneak postcards into strategic spots around the venue, like potted plants or windowsills. The postcard should notify the finder that they’ve won – all they have to do is stop by your booth with the postcard in hand!


  1. The “I’d-rather-be-at-the-ballgame” Contest: Help visitors switch out of business-mode and into game-mode with a sports-related contest. If there are any sports games going on during the tradeshow, let visitors place a bet on the outcome of the next pitch or goal. The icing on the cake is having an iPad or radio playing the game at your booth for a real-time betting contest – it’s a surefire way to attract people to your booth. Otherwise, who doesn’t enjoy shooting a hoop or putting a golf ball for some free prizes? Give out a branded football, water bottle or sports duffle to your winners.


  1. The “Charge and Check-in” Contest: Having a charging station or Wi-Fi hotspot is a surefire way to attract people to your booth. But why not throw in a game with the Wi-Fi password? Have visitors scan a QR code at your booth after connecting. Possibilities for a contest are then endless when online. The QR code could take them to Twitter, Facebook or FourSquare to check-in at your booth. Visitors that checked in are randomly selected after the event as winners – allowing you to send them an e-gift card or voucher straight to their social media account.


  1. The “Spot the Differences” Game: This is a classic game where two seemingly similar photographs are side-by-side, and it’s your job to spot the tiny differences. Make your own personalized graphic with slight differences – it could be a company team picture or a picture of your headquarters. You can even share this contest on Facebook or Twitter and direct people to stop by your booth to point them out! This is also a great way to connect with potential clients via social media.


  1. “Spin the Wheel”: This is a classic, failsafe way to draw people to your booth, because it’s a hard game to lose! Have a stock of personalized, branded items ranging in value for giveaways. Smaller wins could be lip balms branded with your logo – with the grand prize being a high quality executive pen, embroidered suitcase or an imprinted leather computer bag.


  1. Industry Relevant Trivia: Trivia’s a classic contest, but why not personalize it to be relevant to your industry? If you are a luxury kitchen appliance brand at a food convention, why not ask which real-life chef Meryl Streep played in a 2009 film? If you’re a wedding photographer, why not quiz visitors on the dates and details of famous married couples – like what was Jackie Kennedy’s maiden name? You can even have a small sign on your booth with one of the questions to draw people in – either they’ll be curious enough to know, or want to prove or discuss their answer! At this point you can give them the full trivia quiz.


  1. The “Guess how Many” Game: Remember in school when there was a large jar of jelly beans or M&Ms, and you tried to come close to guessing how many it contained? Have visitors drop their business card with their guess written on the back into a box. Take a tip from our last suggestion and make the item industry relevant – like a jar of mints at a dental conference, or beads at a jewelers show.

While having experienced sales people, proper branding, and a visually appealing set up are all important for tradeshows, they’re only part the battle if you’re struggling to get people to actually stop by your booth. Inject some fun into your brand’s presence with one of these contests – it’ll not only have potential clients drawn to your booth, but make sure your business is one they remember!

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