Hybrid Trade Shows: Best Practices, Ideas, and Tools

13 minute read

Imagine organizing a trade show where you not only get to serve your physical audience but provide an amazing trade show experience to your virtual audience.

And what if I say this thought is not only limited to the imagination. Global situations in 2020 had given rise to virtual trade shows. While some audiences enjoyed it, some missed the physical essence. With such a divided market’s demand, marketers came up with a new solution: Hybrid trade shows.

These Hybrid trade shows have broadened the audience reach and increased accessibility by giving rise to new opportunities for networking. 

So, we have drafted this blog to help you strategize your Hybrid trade shows, choose the most suitable strategies, and explore the best ideas and practices to organize them.

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Hybrid v/s Virtual Trade Show

A hybrid trade show is defined as a dynamic event that offers an exquisite virtual experience to the virtual attendees and a memorable one to the physical audience.

The hybrid trade show manages to become a bridge between the online and offline by ensuring that your trade show is accessible to all kinds of people coming from various parts of the globe.

A virtual trade show is an online environment with a 3D setup, incorporated with certain event engagement tools that recreate the concept of a physical trade show. The virtual trade show allows visitors and exhibitors to connect and interact via any virtual event platform. 
But now, the popularity of hybrid trade shows is increasing rapidly. 34% of event organizers expect to invest more in hybrid events in the next few years. It is the perfect solution for eliminating the chaotic and never-fading issues that the physical and virtual events face individually.

Key Benefits Of Organizing A Hybrid Trade Show

1. Increased Audience Size Globally

The virtual and digital nature of the hybrid trade show can help you travel continents and capture leads from all over the world. You can spread awareness about your hybrid trade show in just a few clicks. 

Audience Size Globally

And the best part is that you get to choose whether you want to have an in-person experience by visiting the venue or from the comfort zone of your home or any corner of the world.

2. Convenient Approachability For All

Unable to manage the traveling time, traveling cost, or leaves from work?

Not to worry.

Hybrid Trade Shows give everyone the chance to be a part of the show without even leaving their home and work. 

Convenient Approachability For All Image

Also, it provides an opportunity for the specially-abled persons to attend the show who might not attend it otherwise. These shows have an option to assist the special individuals with some different abilities and help them benefit from the trade show. Not just that, the audience who want to have a physical experience with your trade show, can always visit your Hybrid trade show’s venue.

3. Cost-Effective Planning

When you organize an offline trade show, the thought of huge venue spaces, parking facilities, interior planning, manpower, and other such things may cause us to sweat. Well, with a Hybrid trade show, you can ease up on all that as more than half of your audience will be online. 

The ups and downs that come across the planning lead to expenditure that skyrockets till the time the trade show ends. The solution to the entire list of these cost-intensive tasks is hybrid Trade Shows. You eliminate most of these issues and make your event cost-effective.

4. Improved Metrics 

Increased reach of the audiences, increased accessibility, and cost-effective solutions all lead to maximum audience participation in the trade show. The better the attendance, the more successful will be your trade show. 

Therefore, a hybrid trade show will help you improve the metrics of your show in all aspects as compared to any other form.

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Ideas To Make Your Virtual Trade Show A Success

1. Choose The Appropriate Virtual Trade Show Platform

The first thought that drives the entire trade show is, “Which platform will serve best for the show?” In fact, this is the primary step that holds the responsibility of the ‘ins and outs’ of your hybrid trade show.

 Virtual Trade Show Platforms

You must have planned out the venue and accommodation for your offline audience. But it is also crucial to choose the best virtual event platform compatible with all the objectives that your trade show is organized for. Therefore, think comprehensively before choosing the platform that offers all the solutions to power up your hybrid trade show. 

Draft your planning thoroughly and choose all the features that are a must for the virtual audience of your hybrid trade show and then make a hunt for the providers that can accommodate you with relevant solutions. 

2. Decide What To Incorporate In Your Virtual Trade Show

To ensure the hassle-free flow of the hybrid trade show, discover all the aspects of the show and decide the features that you need to incorporate.

All the integrations should align with the idea of your hybrid trade show. The fact that “First Impression is the last impression” makes it important to rethink and reevaluate the features of your hybrid trade show.

Here are some of the crucial features that you must incorporate in your hybrid trade show.

  • Displaying branding & brand details on the offline & virtual booths
  • Connecting online and offline attendees and exhibitors via video conferencing
  • Allowing attendees to submit their contact info directly to the exhibitors
  • Displaying digital brochures, videos next to the exhibitor booths, etc.
  • Displaying Social Wall at the trade show venue and on the virtual event platform

3. Customize The Exhibitor’s Booths

Unlike general trade shows, it’s quite a task to capture the attention of the attendees that register for your hybrid trade show because of the diverse nature of the audience. You need to bring all the elements that form the perfect blend between the physical and virtual world.

Exhibition Booths Image

As an event organizer, one solution that you can opt for is to offer customizable booths to all the exhibitors of the trade show. Yes, you read it right! Give your exhibitors an option to design their own booth and make it stand out in the show. Not just that, the exhibitors can have a team working specifically for the virtual audience. 

You can allow them to display branding, logos, social walls, clear audio & videos, sponsors, creative commercials, coupon slides, announcements, and much more on their booth’s display. They can even use designs that reflect the colors of the brands and their products or services.  

4. Work On Sponsorship Opportunities

Self-funding cannot fulfill the revenue requirements of your hybrid trade show. Sponsorships are the key revenue generators that have the potential to kick-start any event and push it toward success.

Provide a platform to your sponsors that bring them closer to your hybrid trade show audience (using Social Wall). You can attract the companies waiting to connect with the audiences and appeal to them to provide you with sponsorship opportunities to make your hybrid trade show even more huge and successful.

Let’s not forget that sponsors need some spotlight, and the more exposure they will get, the more doors will open for you to expand your hybrid trade show.

5. Provide Technical Support

Last but not the least, be 24*7 available to provide all the services related to the technicalities of the hybrid trade show. Do not just limit it till the trade show rolls out. You ought to have separate teams for your online and offline audiences.

Make a tech team help the attendees as well as the exhibitors if they face any technical issues during the trade show. Helping the exhibitors with designing their booth, providing them tools to engage the attendees, helping them bridge the communication gap between the physical and virtual audience, resolving any connection errors between the attendees and the exhibitors, and much more.

Ensure that your contact information is clearly visible to all the attendees as well as the exhibitors so that they can get their issues resolved immediately.

Also Read – Trade Show Booth Ideas

Best Practices To Organize A Hybrid Trade Show

1. Facilitate Live Chat For Better Interactivity

The soul of any event is the audience, and with your Hybrid trade show, you have both the virtual and physical audience to serve. Managing the audiences has made organizing trade shows even more burdensome to attract the audience to the booth. And the lack of in-person interactivity between the online and offline audience triggers the interests of the attendees.

Facilitate Live Chat For Better Interactivity
Live Chat in Virtual Trade Show webinar

It means extra efforts need to be made to foster interactions between the attendees and the exhibitors. The best solution that can be practised is enabling live chats for the online audience to help the attendees get their queries about the products/services resolved in real-time and the exhibitors to gain more leads. You can also launch an app for your attendees. They can download it and interact with one another, regardless of whether they are virtual or physical.

2. Organize Live Webinars To Educate Your Audience 

Your hybrid trade show will have all the global audience in one place at one time; make sure that each one of your physical show exhibitors has a virtual booth for the virtual audience to attend. They can have extra staff that manages the virtual audience.

Go live with your offline sessions and educate your audience with more information about the brand’s product or services or any other things related to the trade show concept. You can invite speakers or industry specialists to deliver valuable information to the event attendees with live webinars

You can even schedule the webinars to ensure the maximum attendance of the attendees. Add along with the questionnaire round to enhance the participation of the attendees in the webinars.

3. Provide Opportunity For Immediate Sales Using eCommerce Platforms

Don’t limit your hybrid trade show to showcasing the products and services, instead make it an on-spot shopping venue for the attendees. It can be the perfect opportunity to turn your hybrid event’s attendee engagement into immediate sales.

Immediate Sales Using eCommerce Platforms explaining image
Techweek Virtual expo with product ads

You can either put a physical exhibition of your products at the trade show venue or offer QR codes at the venue. The virtual event platform will redirect the attendees to your eCommerce store when they scan it. Incorporate an online shop at your event, and convert your global prospects into revenue generators. Providing the attendees with the platform to purchase in real-time will help you accelerate the conversion rates of your hybrid trade show.

4. Display Social Walls To Enhance Engagement

Social Wall or the Wall of Engagement is no less than the gamechanger of your hybrid trade show. It can be a great opportunity to bring your online and offline audience together. You get to bring social media to your hybrid trade show in the most unique and result-driven way. 

The social wall will keep your trade show audience hooked throughout. Be it your social media content, user-generated content, branded content, announcements, highlights, discounts, offers, custom posts, sponsors, etc., you can display it on your social media wall

social media wall during the virtual event

With Taggbox Display, you can create a unique and exquisite Social Wall for your virtual trade show platform and can even be customized and personalized as per the objectives of the brand and trade show.

These social walls can be displayed anywhere in your virtual trade show platform and on the screens installed at the offline venue. Your exhibitors can display it on the booth desk, besides their booth on the info display, on the chat pages, in the webinars, on the registration desk, and much more. You can even add scannable QR codes to your digital business card on these walls which is easy to do with the right business card software.

It is a perfect tool to attract more attendees to your booth, engage them with your brand, and provoke their interests and desires for the brand.

Learn How Taggbox Display Helped Hindustan Times Boost The Leadership Summit With Social Wall

The leadership summit organized by Hindustan Times in 2020, used Taggbox Display’s social wall to display the Twitter feeds that helped them boost the audience engagement and interaction during the event. They customized the Twitter wall with a Waterfall theme to capture the attention of a large scale audience.

Add Social Wall in Virtual Trade Show

5. Access Real-Time Data To Measure Your Hybrid Event’s Success

Since time immemorial, we have been taught to learn from our mistakes to jump to higher levels of success. Carrying the same thought to 2024 would be a boon to all event marketers. 

Talking specifically about the hybrid trade show, the organizers are provided with detailed reports of their progress which can be accessed to track the performance of the event and make improvements wherever needed.

It is therefore vital to access the progress report in real-time to measure the success rate of your hybrid trade show for future strategies.

6. Hold the Audience For a Long With Creative Gamification

Stressed about the attendee drop-out rate from your hybrid trade show or in between the webinars and conferences? 

Audience For Long With Creative Gamification image
Trivia During Virtual Trade Show

Probably yes, especially when more than half of your audience is virtual. Well, it is of extreme importance to hold the attention of your audience/attendee during the hybrid trade show or webinars. Introducing gamification to your hybrid trade show ensures participation by each attendee, online and offline, as it bridges the communication gap between the two and prompts them to participate more actively.

To make them stay for longer, organizers can host interesting contests, polls, Q&A sessions, interactive games, highlighting options trade alerts, and much more. 

Best Tools For Hybrid Trade Show

To organize a hybrid trade show, you will need a different variety of tools ranging from virtual event platform tools, social media integration tools, engagement tools, live streaming tools, analytics tools, and much more. 

Based on the audience size, objectives of the trade show, and activities involved. Features incorporated, etc. it is important to choose all the relevant tools wisely. 

Make sure that the tools you integrate align with the aesthetics of the hybrid trade show and provide solutions to all the problems that come across.

Virtual Trade Show Platforms– vFairs, Dreamcast, 6Connex, etc.

Social Media Wall ToolTaggbox Display

Virtual Trade Show Engagement tool– Taggbox, Virtual Booth

Live Streaming Tools– Zoom, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live Analytics Tool– Taggbox

Manage & Execute Your Hybrid Trade Show Seamlessly With This Quick Checklist

  • Go for social media promotions with attractive teasers to attract the exhibitors as well as attendees.
  • Draft a well-organized follow-up plan for your hybrid trade show.
  • Choose the most suitable tools that employ them in the right places.
  • Do not miss your hands on sponsorship opportunities.
  • Schedule interactive networking sessions between the exhibitors and the attendees.
  • Create an engaging experience for both the attendees and exhibitors with social walls
  • Provide smooth and active technical support.
  • Gain valuable insights into the performance and success rate of the hybrid trade show.
  • Send an email to all the attendees and exhibitors acknowledging them for participating in the hybrid trade show.