A few months ago I wrote about a plan for ensuring that the ever-important ROI happens for your event. If your events include sponsors and exhibitors, their ROI greatly affects your ROI! They look to you to create opportunities for them that will make it worth their while to be a part of your event. Here are a few ideas for you to do and ensure some ROI for your sponsors and exhibitors:
- Include a ‘Networking Lounge.’ This is a specific area where people can meet, make connections and conduct business. Make the area inviting by including a coffee and water station, a few portable snacks, and comfy casual seating.
- Provide a space where exhibitors and sponsors can provide talks on industry specific challenges and solutions. Include them on a rotating schedule; giving them more than one opportunity to present will help with their reach. This is an ideal way for them to capture some attention and focus on their unique expertise.
- Offer a specialized pavilion featuring the latest and most updated technologies. Your attendees will flock to this area! Here they can take in all the latest features and trends in one place. Your sponsors and exhibitors will totally want to be included!
- Create a contest for all sorts of “Bests” – “Best of Show,” “Best of Technology,” and “Best Presentation,” then have attendees vote for their favorites. This could turn into an annual offering, especially if you also include some fun categories like “Best Company Shirts” or “Best Mascot.” Make sure to get the word out to your sponsors and exhibitors well ahead of time so they can plan to shine.
- Include several networking events throughout your meeting, and make them interesting. Some ideas are; create a signature drink for the event, plan an ice cream social with build your own sundaes, ask attendees to share pictures that you will later use to create a simple video (all you need is a hashtag to track the photos) or give everyone an assignment like sharing their favorite childhood toy or TV show with every new person they meet.
- Create a message board where everyone can post notes stating whom they most hope to meet and why. Great ice breaker and wish maker.
- Survey! Don’t forget to survey your exhibitors and sponsors in order to find out what they would like to see or experience at your event. This could be as formal as sending out a survey for them to fill out or even just walking around, shaking some hands, and asking for their opinions, ideas and input.
If your exhibitors and sponsors see a strong ROI from their participation, they will become a dedicated partner to you and your event for years to come.