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Supporting Virtual Exhibitors Every Step of the Way

By: Alyssa Sterioti, DES and Ben Cramer, DES
While we are all navigating through 2020 (and soon 2021) with a mindset of how to recreate our in-person events into engaging virtual experiences, one component that remains consistent and more important than ever is how we support exhibitors. Exhibitors are a key element to any exhibition. It is crucial to ensure they have the knowledge and useful resources available to allow them to do what they do best. What’s one of the best parts about switching from in-person to virtual?  

We now have the opportunity to design a virtual customer service program taking the stress of learning a new platform off exhibitors’ plates and allowing them to instead focus on collecting leads and setting up qualified meetings with attendees.

What do exhibitors need to know before the virtual event begins? 

While this can be a daunting question to consider, think back to how the trusty Exhibitor Service Manual was used as the primary source of information for in-person exhibitors. Our recommendation is to create a similar destination, such as a Help Center, for your exhibitors so they can collect information and have their questions answered.  
  • This centralized location can be categorized by certain topics so that exhibitors can quickly navigate. 
  • Get creative with the way information is presented. Since we are working in a virtual space, there is an opportunity to include more than just an FAQ section. Include video navigation tutorials, highlighted screen shots and hyperlinks to make the content interactive and easy to understand. 
  • As you develop new resources or receive new questions from your exhibitors, add them to this centralized location to benefit others. This Help Center should never be considered “final.” 

  • Consider hosting an interactive exhibitor webinar to visually show your sponsors how to navigate the platform, build their virtual booth and maximize their time at the event.
    • › Record the webinar so you can share the link as needed, add it to your Help Center or include it in your exhibitor communications.
    • › Be sure that the moderators of your webinar are all experts on the platform, exhibit program and the overall event. There is no telling what exhibitors may ask on the webinar when it comes time for Q&A. It’s best to be prepared with your Subject Matter Experts present and ready to address questions. 
    • › Keep in mind that you will have your full exhibitor audience right at your fingertips during this webinar. Use this opportunity to provide event information, exhibit package upgrade options and sponsorship opportunities.

How can we support exhibitors when the event begins? 

Once the event begins, exhibitors need access to support staff to quickly answer questions and allow them to focus on working their virtual booth and connecting with attendees. The PCMA Digital Experience Institute suggests 1 expert for every 300 attendees. 
  • Exhibitors can contact customer service representatives via chat or discussion threads. These communication methods allow for a quick response directly within the platform. 
  • In addition, you can create an attendee profile specifically for customer service support. Exhibitors will receive a connection request from the attendee on the first day of the event and they can chat or schedule a meeting with him/her for any help while using the platform. 
  • Finally, consider starting the first day with a quick session to welcome exhibitors to the platform and provide reminders on how to best utilize the features available. 

What happens after the event? 

At the end of an event, exhibitors typically have questions about shipping and where to return their lead retrieval devices.  Now, at the conclusion of a virtual experience, we can equip exhibitors with all the data and insights collected throughout the virtual event. Virtual customer service staff can ensure exhibitors know how to pull this information out of the platform. From exporting leads and contact details to recaps of completed meetings, exhibitors can now walk away with more data than ever before showing the success of the event.

Are you interested in learning more about the right level of support for your next virtual or hybrid event? Let GES help! Our team is ready to work with you to configure your virtual exhibition platform. Our experts have years of experience servicing exhibitors and are ready to bring their expertise and the same level of customer service you have come to expect from GES to the virtual event experience. 

Reach out to Alyssa Sterioti, Ben Cramer or your GES Sales Manager to discover the best solution for your Virtual Exhibition and how GES can support your next virtual or hybrid event. 
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