Trend Alert: Why the Anti-Booth is Creating a Buzz

Trend Alert: Why the Anti-Booth is Creating a Buzz

If you've ever attended an industry trade show—regardless of which industry you find yourself in—there's a good chance you've played at least some part in designing, setting up, or manning a "traditional" trade show display/booth. You know the types of booths we're referring to; you rent out a 10x10 space and set up a display to attract attendees. The specifics of the display may vary a bit, but probably include a large sign displaying the company logo, a "greeting center" that's staffed by a bubbly employee, and perhaps even some lounging areas or live demonstration areas throughout.

Not that these displays can't be super effective if they're designed and executed properly, but maybe now is the time to think outside the booth.

Thinking Outside the Booth

The "anti-booth" trend is creating quite the buzz in trade shows and events as of late—and if you've been looking for a way to make a unique statement and stand out among a sea of 10x10 booths at your next event appearance, it's something you might want to consider trying for yourself.

A perfect example of these emerging trend can be seen in RAB Lighting's beautiful "anti-booth" display at this past Lightfair (a huge trade show for businesses in the lighting industry). Rather than set up a "typical" booth or generic display, the company filled their space with 1,500 pots of grass, along with a serene walkway that passed through the display itself. Each of the pots of grass was mounted on a small pendulum, which was set up to gently sway back and forth (thanks to a series of hidden sensors) when attendees walked by.

As people walked through the display, they were delighted by the ability to set each tiny pot of grass in motion, demonstrating the concept that nature and mankind are in constant interaction with each other in beautiful ways.

Of course, this is just one of many examples of companies that have chosen to think outside the typical concept of a booth at their industry trade shows and events. It's worth noting that RAB Lighting's display subsequently won an award for Best in Show at the event. Of course, not only did they receive this award, but their display generated an insane amount of buzz and likely led to a number of new leads or conversions for the company itself.

How to Make a Statement

So, you're starting to see the appeal of these anti-booth concepts, and you're wanting to incorporate this kind of design strategy into your next industry event. How can you go about making your display stand out? The possibilities are endless, but no matter what you do, you should begin by considering the ultimate message you want to convey with your design. Only from there should you begin brainstorming unique ideas to catch the eye of your target audience without being "just another booth."

Looking for some inspiration? Cramer has some great examples of anti-booth ideas that have been successful in the past, so you might consider building on one of these. Working with an experienced display designer and builder might also help you generate new and unique ideas, as well as ensure they can come to fruition both in terms of logistics and budget.

When it comes to standing out and making a true statement, you can't go wrong with anti-booth. And if you're still looking for a great location at which to host your next industry trade show or other event, check out  Soho Studios for an incredible event space that's suitable for any industry.

How the Irvine Marriott Lauched its Grand Opening with Multisensory Events

How the Irvine Marriott Launched its Grand Opening with Multisensory Events

When you put $35 million into the redesign of a business like Irvine Marriott did in California, you want to put on an event to showcase the updated and improved spot. Instead of a traditional ribbon-cutting or stuffy event, this Marriott created an impressive experience to interact with participants with its multisensory event series from February to April. This is a fantastic example of experiential marketing that other brands could follow.

Multisensory Events

For its reopening, the hotel created an event series that would evoke the senses and imagination of event goers to help them experience different aspects of the hotel and the brand. It focused on the Marriott brand’s guiding principles of taste, culture and innovation with three events in the series. While normal grand opening parties can bring people to the premises and create excitement, they tend to fail on conveying the experience of staying at the hotel. This aspect is where Irvine Marriott shined with its multisensory event series. When people see a hotel room or meeting space, for example, they can't always imagine what it's like to use that space. Irvine Marriott's series helped event goers experience the hotel. 

The taste event provided a sensory dinner for high-level customers and bloggers, who had the chance to try food stations prepared by different Marriott properties. These stations incorporated different senses to create an experience. For instance, one station combined auditory and taste sensations by having participants eat seafood along with audio of the ocean. The culture event hosted a larger number of guests, providing networking and performing arts. Finally, the innovation event incorporated virtual reality, robot experiences and other interactive displays and workshops that focused on the past to the future.

All of the events highlighted areas of the hotel and showed guests how these areas could be used. Guests also got to experience Marriott catering, which they could incorporate into their own events.

Learning From Irvine Marriott

Multisensory marketing like Irvine Marriott’s guest series can create an effective and memorable event for many brands. Marriott used different senses, including sight, sound, touch, taste and smell through food aromas, textures, audio and other methods. Any brand could find ways to incorporate multiple senses into one experience. For instance, create a food serving station that focuses on the aroma or texture of the food in addition to the taste.

Irvine Marriott’s event series provides a great example for similar types of businesses in particular. That’s because it helped guests experience what it’s like to stay at the hotel and use its services. You could create a similar event if your business is based on on-site experiences. This could work for hotels, restaurants, recreational activities and other experiences.

The idea is to showcase the site and how it could be used. It’s similar to a real estate agent staging a home to give an idea of living in the home. The Irvine Marriott showcased its cuisine, while captivating multiple senses. It had artists perform around the pool to highlight the hotel’s pool while giving guests the feeling of traveling and experiencing a new place and culture.