Ensuring that your company stands out at industry trade shows is a top goal for business owners. With the average trade show costing over $25,000 for 37 square meters of floor space, participants must make every effort to ensure that they capture the attention of attendees. Virtual Reality (VR) is an easy and cost-effective way for trade show exhibitors to generate enthusiasm about products, projects, and services. Below is a look at the ways that various industries can use VR at trade shows and some key steps to help companies create a memorable experience for attendees by employing VR.
Which industries can utilize VR at trade shows?
One of the key advantages of VR is its versatility and applicability to many industries. You can tailor your VR experiences to meet the needs of your trade show audience and showcase your latest technology and services. Below are some of the key industries that can benefit from VR at trade shows.
- Architecture: The architecture industry was among the first industries to use VR. For architects, VR creates a memorable experience for users by allowing them to “walk through” structures and see details that would otherwise be missed without the technology.
- Healthcare: VR is useful for healthcare professionals because it enables them to create scenarios that simulate real life in a hospital or surgery center. For instance, users can experience what it would feel like to walk through an operating theatre of a proposed hospital or perform a virtual dissection.
- Engineering: There are special VR applications designed for engineers that bring life to structures and proposed developments. Some applications enable trade show attendees to use a controller to navigate virtual buildings and environments.
- Facility maintenance: VR technology provides facility engineers and maintenance teams with a virtual map of their entire facility. No longer do maintenance staff have to scroll and click on their desktops to view the full scope of a large building.
How can trade show exhibitors use VR to promote their products and services?
In addition to offering superb versatility to a variety of industries, VR is an excellent addition to trade shows because there are so many ways that VR can create a memorable experience for attendees. Below are five ways that VR can be used to help trade show exhibitors promote their products and services.
- Create a virtual showroom for your business: While you might be limited to 9 square meters of booth space at a trade show, you can create the illusion of unlimited floor space when you use VR. You can use VR to design a virtual showroom that features your company’s offerings. Exhibitors in the fields of engineering and architecture can showcase their latest design innovations and notable projects by providing trade show attendees with a virtual walkthrough of a facility.
- Visualize large structures: VR enables trade show attendees to visualize massive equipment and large structures that are simply too enormous to display within the confines of a trade show booth. Examples include renovated facilities, proposed developments, and large pieces of capital equipment.
- Facilitate product demonstrations (demos): VR offers an effective means of demonstrating new products and services during trade shows. When using VR for product demos at trade shows, remember to keep VR activities relatively short in duration as attendees often have a limited amount of time to spend with each exhibitor.
- Illustrate each phase of the design to construction process: VR is a useful tool for architecture and design firms who participate in trade shows. Specifically, VR can feature BIM models and scaling to enable trade show attendees to experience the feeling of existing inside a proposed space. Attendees can experience the impact of lighting on a room and different views from balconies and windows.
- Keep trade show attendees engaged: VR offers trade show attendees the opportunity to participate in an interactive experience, giving your company an edge over companies that distribute flyers and brochures. When attendees see their fellow attendees immersed in VR activities at your booth, they are more likely to take interest in your products and services and visit your booth.
How can companies ensure that they successfully employ VR at a trade show?
Clearly, VR is useful to many types of organizations that exhibit at trade shows. However, there are some measures that can help companies further distinguish themselves from the competition at trade shows. Below are five steps to take to ensure that your use of VR is a success at your next trade show.
1) Start by selecting a great booth location. Most trade shows require exhibitors to register in advance. A key part of this process is selecting a booth size and location. In general, you should look for booths with the following features to optimize your traffic:
- Island booths: Island booths are ideal because they can be accessed from any direction
- Corner booths: Corner booths allow attendees to access your access your booth from two directions
- Booths close to the expo hall entrance: Attendees can easily locate your booth with minimal walking
2) Generate excitement about your VR activities in advance. One of the best ways to attract attendees to your trade show booth is to create an effective marketing campaign that advertises your use of VR to demonstrate your products and services. Here are some ways to create buzz about your company by advertising your use of VR at your next trade show:
- Let all of your customers know that you will be doing VR demos at your booth
- Share one or two ways that the VR experience will benefit your customers
- Advertise any incentives or show specials you plan to offer customers who visit your booth
3) Create a trade show display that stands out. Standing out in a sea of trade show booths is vital to capturing the attention of attendees and enticing them to visit your booth. Make sure that your booth is clean and well organized. You can create an inviting booth environment by taking the following steps:
- Consider including comfortable furniture in your space to lure leg-weary attendees into your booth.
- Use colorful graphics that feature your company logo and mission.
- If you have enough space, consider creating a special VR station to spark curiosity among attendees.
4) Keep your VR experiences brief. Many trade show attendees have limited time to spend at each booth. You may only have a few minutes with each customer to make an impact, so make sure that your VR experiences are succinct, yet impressive. A good rule of thumb is to limit VR experiences to two to three minutes with the option of participating in a longer, more comprehensive session if attendees have time.
5) Offer promotional items and freebies to attendees who visit your booth. The best trade show giveaways are unique, portable, and useful. They should feature your company logo and, if possible, relate to your industry. For instance, an exhibitor at an architecture trade show may wish to give away personalized stainless steel cups designed to resemble their latest development.
The Bottom Line
VR is an effective tool for trade show exhibitors in the fields of architecture, engineering, healthcare, and a host of other industries. Contact the experts at The Engineering Design to learn more about the many ways that VR can enhance your trade show experience. As a global leader in visualization services, The Engineering Design has the expertise to help you use VR to foster success at your next industry trade show.