RefTech chief ideas officer Simon Clayton acts as the voice of reason once more as he comes to terms with confusing stand numbers.
I wandered around an industry show recently and got very frustrated. We were exhibiting, and I knew our stand number but just couldn’t find our stand. I’ve known my alphabet a while now, and I know how sequential numbers work too, so I assumed it would be easy to find my stand simply by counting down and up from the other stands. I was wrong. My extensive understanding of letters and numbers was of little use, the stand numbering didn’t actually follow a straightforward pattern. J4 wasn’t next to J3, H42 wasn’t anywhere near to H40. There was a rough pattern of sorts, which meant that I could find which half of the hall the stand was in, but it wasn’t enough to actually find a stand and it left me confused and frustrated. I was one of the many people wandering around and around the same block of stands with a look of confusion and bewilderment, muttering “it should be here somewhere…”
I can see why it goes wrong – stand numbers are planned and issued before the show plan has been finalised. The sales team are selling up to the wire, so there are additions and changes until the last possible minute. Stands get dropped, two stands become one and there the confusion lies.
But if that’s the way every organiser works, why not just accept it and not issue the numbers before the show floor is finalised? No one actually needs the numbers until the day of the show anyway, so why even publish the numbers until then?
Exhibitors can promote that they are at the show as usual, but they don’t need a stand number in order to do that. On arrival, your visitors will simply look in the show guide or the map and find out where you are – whether they have a number or not.
Exhibitors may get a bit twitchy at first – they are used to getting their number early and out to their customers. But even if a company is desperate to publicise their number before the show (although I really don’t see the need to do this) then social media and email marketing provides a pretty quick and instant way of doing this – a few days out perhaps? Does anyone actually need to print the stand number on literature any more?
Times have changed and so it’s about time that organisers stopped this antiquated practise that helps no-one. The stand numbers are there to help visitors find their way around a show – so it’s about time they actually did.