Conferences, expos, street fairs, and festivals are just a few types of events that must often manage booth spaces and/or plot assignments to certain types of registrants. Let's be clear, this is no easy task!

This article will provide some helpful tips and best practices to make assigning booth spaces & plots at your event much easier.

Scenario 

We'll use the example of a corporate trade show event in this article, but this guidance applies to any type of event.

In this scenario, a corporate trade show event will be using ClearEvent to help them register exhibitors, collect online payments and track exhibitor booth assignments.

Considerations for assigning booth space

Assigning booth space can be complex and can be as much art as it is science. Here's a list of items you may want to consider when assigning booth space.

Sponsorship rights

You may wish to grant exhibitors who are sponsoring your event the right to pick their space first. 

Past exhibitor expectations

You may wish to give returning exhibitor from past events preference over new exhibitors

Exhibitor preference

Most events will want to consider their exhibitors preference and allow them to choose from an available list of free booth spaces.

Proximity

Certain exhibitors may not wish to be neighbors to a competitor.

Exhibitor popularity.

If you suspect their booth will draw crowds, make sure they are in an open area (perhaps at the end of an isle). 

Special needs

Does the exhibitor have special needs (access to water, needs to fly drones inside, etc.)

Noise & Commotion

Is the exhibitor expected to make noise or cause a commotion? Will their neighbors be tolerant? Perhaps they'll have to run a generator, demonstrate a noisy product or service, or play live music? 

How to manage booth assignments

Step 1: Create a floor plan

Having a visual floor plan that exhibitors can review is essential. It's also important to regularly update your floor plan to show registrants which spaces are still available.

  1. Be sure to number your booths.
  2. Export the floor plan to an image (.PNG, .GIF or .JPG) or .PDF
  3. Upload and host your floor plan on your website or some other publicly accessible location.

TIP: To create your floor plan, you can use any tool you like (PowerPoint, Visio, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop, Paint, etc.) or can use more sophisticated custom floor planning software like:

Here's an example PNG image that could be uploaded to any website:

Step 2: Create and configure a new Exhibitors registration form in ClearEvent 

Be sure to add custom fields to collect any details you need from your exhibitors. Learn how to create your first form.

Step 3: Add a "PreferredBooths" text field  

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Registrations section > Forms tab, and edit your exhibitor form.
  2. In the Form Designer > Fields tab > + Fields tab, add a new Text field called "PreferredBooths". This field will allow the exhibitor to list their booth space preferences when they register.
  3. Use the an Input Link and Input Text fields to provide a link that allows the registrant to quickly view the current floor plan diagram.

By assigning booths as exhibitor registrations are received, and by keeping your floor plan diagram up to date, you'll both reduce requests for the same space while also providing scarceness and urgency to encourage exhibitors to sign up early.

TIP: You'll need to host the floor plan file on your existing website, or some other public location on the Internet.

Step 4: Add a hidden "AssignedBooths" text field

Create a office-use field that only event managers can see when editing the registration.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Registrations section > Forms tab, and edit your exhibitor form.
  2. In the Form Designer > Fields tab > + Fields tab, add a new Text field named "AssignedBooths". This field will allow Event Managers to assign and track any officially assigned booth #'s.
  3. Under the DISPLAY field settings group, choose "Never display field (hidden)" so that this field will never be visible to registrants.

Step 5: Assign booth numbers to exhibitors

Once an exhibitor registration is received, booth numbers can then be assigned.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Registration section > Worksheet tab, and select the "Exhibitors" registrant type.
  2. Locate any exhibitors from the grid view that do not yet have an assigned booth numbers.
  3. Click the Edit (pencil) button for each registrant that is requires a booth assignment.
  4. In the Registrant Editor > Registration tab, locate the "AssignedBooths" field and enter the assigned booth number.
  5. Click Save.

Step 6: Verify Booth Space Assignments

Confirm there are no double booked booth spaces.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Registration section > Worksheet tab.
  2. Review the Preferred Booths and Assigned Booths column.
  3. If there are conflicts or missing booth assignments, Edit each registrant to correct the booth assignment. 

Step 7: Communicate booth assignments to your exhibitors

When you're happy with booth space assignments, be sure to update your floor plan diagram and post an update on your website.

You can then include a link to the floor plan, or attach it directly to a message you create in the Messages section that you will send to your Exhibitors.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Messages section.
  2. Create a new Message (e.g. "Exhibitor Booth Assignments Now Available!")
  3. Choose Recipients setting > "Selected Recipients", then add the exhibitor registrant type.
  4. Enter the message details (subject, message body, etc...)
  5. Save the message.
  6. Under Attachments setting > click Attach File.
  7. Upload the current floor plan as an attachment.

Step 8: Export booth assignments. 

Now, whenever you export a list of exhibitors you'll see the exhibitor's assigned booth space in the AssignedBooth column of the report.

To export registrants:

  1. Go to the Event Manager App > Registration section > Registrants tab
  2. Click Export.
  3. Choose the exhibitor registrant type.
  4. Click OK.

Conclusion

There's many ways to manage booth spaces. The approach we've described here is not the only way to deal with the booth space management.

Hopefully you'll have seen how flexible ClearEvent is and that by simply adding just two fields to your registration form, you can greatly simplify & track booth space assignments in one place.

Happy planning!

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