Trade Show features safety-focused new tech tools and best practices.
In February 2021, Informa Markets was one of the first tradeshow organisers to produce a live trade event in North America since the pandemic lockdowns began a year ago. In identifying the right technology partner to help support a return to in-person experiences in a post-pandemic era, the Informa team chose Aventri as their technology partner to ensure seamless, contact-less registration that valued both customer experience and safety.
Informa’s fashion industry event, MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando, drew eager apparel buyers and brands to the Orange County Convention Center in Florida, among the first U.S. venues to welcome back trade shows. The limited-capacity, three-day event showcased men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and footwear. It also showcased best-in-class safety measures driven by both rigorous health protocols as well as disruptive technology to support.
“Every decision we make is driven by our community,” said Nancy Walsh, President, North America at Informa Markets. “Our platforms play a meaningful role in providing growth and recovery, building relationships and innovating communities, and our customers were eager to return to the show floor. In addition to providing a critical opportunity for recovery after an incredibly challenging year, prioritizing safety was at the foundation of our approach, using Informa’s All Secure as our guide, and leveraging best-in-class technology partners like Aventri to create safe and efficient touchpoints.”
Aventri provided innovative onsite technologies for the pop-up.
“We’re reimagining trade shows after the global upheavals of 2020,” explained Jim Sharpe, CEO, Aventri. “Working with Informa Markets, we created solutions and tactics to deliver a safe event and improve the attendee experience. MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando presents an optimistic roadmap for commercial recovery, as industries begin to rebound. It serves as a bellwether, signaling large in-person events are starting to come back.”
Following are four of Aventri’s notable tech tools and services that Informa Markets employed to create a safe, successful show.
1. Contactless Check-In
The event featured digital badges, available through the mobile event app. Printed badges and lanyards involve many shared surfaces. With badges on phones, attendees gained contactless access to the show floor.
The QR code badges also enabled easy, touchless contact information exchange, lead retrieval and tracking. They provided access control options as well to help ensure social distancing.
Printers were available onsite for people who did not have smartphones or felt uncomfortable about using their phones as a digital badge.
“For health and safety, providing guests with contactless check-in was a top priority for Informa and Aventri,” said Spencer Segura, vice president of operations for Aventri Experiential Solutions, who was onsite throughout the event. “We were pleased that adoption was extremely high, with most attendees opting for digital badges.”
2. No Registration Lines
Onsite in the registration area, check-in counters were spaced several feet apart. In addition, staffers rolled insta-check-in carts up to attendees and provided speedy credentialing. The small mobile units were self-sufficient, equipped with scanners as well as their own power and Internet connection. In the event of a temporary Wi-Fi outage, check-in would continue, uninterrupted.
Digital badges and mobile carts worked together to reduce wait time and congestion, age-old issues at trade shows. Attendees arrived at the venue with digital badges in hand. Once they successfully fulfilled all of the event safety requirements, they held their phones up to a QR reader and breezed right in.
“Registration was seamless throughout the show,” Segura noted. “Even on opening day, we saw no lines.”
3. Touch-Free Lead Retrieval
At booths, exhibitors had no need to swap business cards. They captured leads using the Aventri Lead Retrieval App. It took just a second to scan a digital badge and collect contact details.
Foregoing paper business cards not only provided contactless lead capture. Like digital badges, the Lead Retrieval App also cut paper waste for a more sustainable event.
Exhibitors could upload contacts directly to their customer relationship management and marketing automation systems. Thanks to the data-capture features of QR code badges, they collected valuable metrics, such as booth traffic and dwell time. Smart companies leverage these insights to customize sales and marketing follow-up.
4. Onsite Services
Aventri’s Professional Services team worked closely with Informa Markets to ensure everything ran flawlessly, from planning to digital badge distribution, integrations and onsite support. The team provided quick turnaround, with a goal to help retailers get back to business, while maintaining the safety and comfort of all participants.
“Technology is often most successful when attendees don’t even know it’s there,” Segura noted. “These solutions stayed in the background to make everything easy. On the show floor, it was business as usual. Buyers met with sellers and placed orders. Everyone agreed it was great to be back.”
Informa Markets is optimistic that more in-person trade shows will return during the first half of the year.
“In industries like fashion, buyers need a tactile experience to get a feel for product quality,” Sharpe pointed out. “With global vaccine programs picking up steam, many of our clients are planning on the return of in-person, large-scale events in the near future.”