The 5 Trends that will Rule Trade Shows in 2017

December 27, 2016

Beware: The following sentence might terrify you.

It’s almost 2017.

That’s right. 2016 is nearly gone. With it, a wave of trade show trends flooded in – some good, some bad, and some downright cringe-worthy. But as much has emerged over the last year, 2017 promises to be even bigger and better.

It’s time to gear up for what’s to come. So as you begin developing your 2017 custom exhibits, brush up on the top 5 trends you’ll see dominating expo show floors.

#1. The Rise of Event Apps

In the beginning, event apps created by the show’s organizers offered practical features like maps, schedules, and basic show information, making them a “nice-to-have” tool for marketers and attendees alike.

Fast forward to today. Modern event apps have exploded in both sophistication and opportunity. There are two emerging opportunities in particular that will fuel the meteoric rise of event apps in 2017: foot-traffic technology and advertising space.

Foot-traffic technology alerts exhibitors and attendees where the action is taking place. It can tell you where to go, and how to get there quickly. This capability allows for trade show designers like you to draw attendees to your exhibit, while demonstrating that you’re willing and able to solve their problems.

Advertising space is another big opportunity within event apps. Developing flash ads for your exhibit could give your brand that extra edge to get noticed on the show floor.

Watch out. 2017 may be the year when event apps top the chart of “must-haves” in trade show marketing.

#2. Technology for Connectivity

Wearable and wireless technology is booming, and 2017 will be the year that’s dominated by the connectivity it provides.

Next year, custom exhibits will not include these developing technologies as an afterthought; instead, these technologies will be at the core of trade show designers’ strategies.

Why? Because wearable and wireless technology is, and has always been, about improving your audience’s experience. In particular, touch technology will gain more popularity in the trade show world, as it allows people to easily share files, contacts, and information with just the tap of a finger.

#3. Tailored Presentations

Attendees at trade shows are often bombarded with information unrelated to their needs. By the time promotional demonstrations get to the product details your attendees want to see, the sale is lost.

Personalized technology is here to fix that. By allowing your booth attendees the freedom to customize their experience at your booth, you can better ensure the messages you send don’t fall on deaf ears.

Personalized, interactive technology takes your potential customer down a path that is unique to them. Let them choose what they want to learn about your company. The rest will fall into place.

#4. Mixed Displays

Creative booth design can make exhibitors stand out among the competition. But, what will “creative” look like in 2017?

We’ve already seen both minimalist and complex booth designs come and go. In the coming year, you can look forward to booths that demonstrate a combination of these two concepts. The bold aspects of this display combination will attract the attention of your consumers. And, as user-friendly technology becomes the norm in trade show designs, brands will likely see an increase in trade show sales and leads due to the ease of information transfer.

#5. The Year of the Consumer

Exceptional customer experiences have always been important. But rapidly evolving technology and a more connected consumer are changing the way this experience works.

The stakes are higher than ever: Ovum research reveals that 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company following a single bad experience. In 2017, trade show marketers will recognize this changing consumer behavior and adjust accordingly. They will use social media, develop a better understanding of their audience, and design custom exhibits that help solve attendees’ problems.

As we stand on the cusp of these evolving trade show trends, the core of what makes exhibitions unique remains unchanged: people sharing with other people.

What do you want to see happen in the trade show world in 2017? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @EmbarqCreative!