1. Spread out your pick up areas. When participants head to expos, their top priority is to get their t-shirts, goodie bags and bibs, so don’t pile everything into one corner. If all participants are headed to one area, it will create a backlog and congest foot traffic, which will annoy participants and stress volunteers. Spread out your pick up areas so there is plenty of room to queue up–perhaps put a pick up table in each corner of your expo hall. This will keep lines short and will also encourage participants to wander through the expo, ensuring your vendors get visibility and traffic as well.
2. Display A LOT of signage. It’s a joke among expo organizers that people never read signs, which in some cases is true. But even if you have volunteers in position to help guide people, signs are essential to putting on a good expo. Place directional signage throughout your expo hall to guide participants to pick up areas, bathrooms, top vendors, and more. If possible, use pictures or icons on your signs to grab attention. Make it hard for them to get lost!
3. Get a great MC. Remember the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons who only said “Wha wha who wha wha”? That’s the exact opposite of what the voice of your expo should be! A good MC can make a huge difference in the mood of your expo. Find an engaging personality who can inform attendees of important news and happenings, while mixing in some good stories. You’ll be able to educate participants, while also building excitement and anticipation around your event.
4. Organize a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt is something you can add to your expo that will be fun for attendees and will drive foot traffic to vendors or areas you’d like to highlight. Promote the scavenger hunt weeks in advance and offer prizes for the winning “hunters.” Leverage the power of social media and blast out scavenger clues via Twitter during the expo and let the chase begin.
5. Appreciate your vendors. Keep your vendors coming back year after year by making them feel welcome. Provide meals for them, give them special vendor goodie bags or simply make sure they know that you’re trying your best to get their booth visibility from expo attendees.