We’ve collected the most popular trends people are currently using on their exhibition stands right now. Whether are about to update your exhibit design or add something special to your next round of exhibitions, it’s likely you’re looking for ways to stand out at an exhibition. They may be trending, but we don’t always recommend them to our clients.

Here are the top 8 exhibit trends and what we think of them:

1. Immersive Technology Experiences:

Many exhibitors are looking to incorporate cutting-edge technology to create immersive experiences for visitors. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have been buzzing around for a while allowing attendees to interact with products in a virtual environment.

One important thing to keep in mind. VR is only ever a single person experience (unless it’s mirrored onto a monitor) and needs a staff member to babysit the process. AR can be a great way for attendees to take elements of the show away to show those who can’t make the event.

We advise being selective with when and how you use these types of interactives as they can be costly so you want to get the most out of them! We have seen them be most effective where skill is required for deploying the product or if the product is either too large to showcase on the show floor or incredibly complex.

These technologies can help businesses present their offerings in a captivating and memorable way, leaving a lasting impression on potential customers.

2. Gamification:

Some turn to gamification to pull crowds in but we have seen this be a little hit and miss. It can lack a little meaning and often just becomes a time killer for attendees (also not usually the ones you’re targeting). It truly depends on the audience and type of show as to how successful this is.
As with any element on your exhibit, you must refer back to you overarching goal and see if adds value for you.

3. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices:

Environmental consciousness has become a significant concern for businesses and consumers alike. Whether you are building using recyclable materials or choosing energy-efficient lighting, exhibitors are doing their best to reduce their ecological footprint and resonate with eco-friendly practices.
Each single-use exhibit has elements that need to be disposed of at the end of an event. If you attend multiple shows, a reusable exhibit is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment because you are getting years out of the same structure.

4. Personalised Engagement Strategies:

“WIIFM” – “What’s in it for me?” isn’t really a new concept, but with attention spans shrinking and people looking to increase efficiencies everywhere. It’s human for people to look for solutions that align closely with their needs and desires.

The one-size-fits-all approaches to both exhibit design and customer engagement are becoming obsolete. Exhibitors now, more than ever, focus on personalised strategies that target individual preferences and needs. This means that if you’re targeting one type of person, you need a specific message to speak to them.

Other ways to ramp up lead generation and have more meaningful interactions is to use segment experiences based on customer type so you align the experience with specific visitor interests.

5. Flexible and Modular Custom Booth Designs:

There has long been a demand for modular stand designs, but this has now evolved further. People still want adaptable structures that can be easily reconfigured to fit various stand sizes and accommodate different trade show objectives, but they also want a premium look.

This is why our design team dedicate time in the front-end of ideation to make sure our exhibit designs are adaptable to a variety of stand sizes without compromising on visual appeal. It’s an impressive skill to witness!

This kind of versatility is what truly allows businesses to future-proof their presence at various events and save costs on making changes down the track.

6. Data-Driven Analytics:

This one is a whopper! Very few people do this properly. With the availability of sophisticated technology, gathering and analysing data has become integral to exhibit success. It goes beyond using a scanner as a lead capture tool. You really need to plan what you’re going to do with the data so you capture the relevant data throughout the event.

Getting serious about this helps assess trade show performance, understand visitor behaviours, and identify areas for improvement so you can refine strategies for future trade shows. What you don’t measure you can’t improve.

7. AI-Powered Chatbots:

I’m not yet sure how the world of AI-powered chatbots will impact Australian trade shows. The idea is that virtual assistants offer instant support and personalised information to visitors. I’m just not sure it will take off as it defeats the purpose of going to a trade show and speaking to a person.
This can be done in as a robot or a touch screen, with the view of enhancing customer service and freeing up staff to focus on high-value interactions. There is a novelty associated with walking up to a robot that is cruising the show floor, but most of the B2B trade shows in Australia we find attendees are fairly time poor so we aren’t sure this will take off much.

The touch screen version could be useful as a self-help tool but there are also so many missed opportunities for attendees – to see a full product range and to build rapport with a team member.
Jury’s out on this one for us!

8. Hybrid Events:

During Covid, the results of hybrid events were pretty bloody average. Sure, there was a need for them, but they were not successful at generating results. So, while some continue to attempt to offer this as an addition to their in-person events, we don’t recommend them.
There is no substitute for face-to-face interactions.

While trade shows are constantly evolving to embrace innovation, it’s the personalisation of experiences that has the real ONE-TWO-punch effect everyone is chasing. Nothing beats speaking to a real person so focus needs to go into how to speak more of the RIGHT people for higher impact. The fun stuff is… Well, fun. But, if you find ways to make it meaningful, you end up with much better results.

Yours in Exhibiting,