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Surf Expo's Roy Turner on video study

Surf Expo Show Director Roy
Surf Expo Show Director Roy Turner at Liquid Nation last year. Shop-eat-surf file photo.
By Shelby Stanger
July 06, 2010 5:55 AM

Surf Expo invested $100,000 at the January 2010 trade show to videotape and then study every space of the trade show floor.

The findings include the style of booths that attract the most traffic, how events draw people and how traffic flows throughout the trade show floors.

“We wanted to find ways to keep buyers coming on the floor, excited and happy, while maximizing the show floor for all exhibitors no matter booth location or time of day,” said Surf Expo Director Roy Turner.

Roy shared some key takeaways Surf Expo learned and how it is using the study to revamp the September show.

Registration

Pre –registration obviously works. When you have enough staff for registration, lines flow fast and people stay happy. Surf Expo’s wait time was below the industry average, but since they had one hour of peak traffic during the first day, it is hiring more staff for the next show so lines will be even faster.

Food

Food is the number one reason people leave trade show floors at lunch since trade show food is notoriously bad, Roy said

Surf Expo added a sushi bar at the last show, and is thinking of adding a Cuban restaurant next.

“You can still get bad trade show food if you want it, but we’re adding some variety as well,” he said.

Last day

Day three of most trade shows usually sees a mass exodus of people, so Surf Expo wanted to know if it should shorten show hours on the last day.

The study showed Surf Expo retained 70% of its attendees on the last day, which is about 20% above the industry average.

Roy also found that most of the people leaving were sales people and exhibitor staff, not buyers.

“The last day is a full working day that exhibitors should look to take advantage of and not break down early,” Roy advised.

On site events

The Bangers for Bucks skate contest and fashion show resulted in strong traffic flow in the afternoon, proving that onsite events really keep people on the floor. Roy said 65% of the show floor watched the skateboard demonstration.

On page 2: Aisle patterns, one floor, exhibitor booth design and new technology

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