Suggestions for Successful Exhibits

To: Conference Exhibit Chairpersons
From: The Virginia Publishers’ Association

Thank you for the opportunity over the years to exhibit at your conferences and local meetings. These events provide us with a way to meet teachers and supervisors throughout Virginia, while also allowing educators to see and evaluate our materials first hand. The income from exhibitors also helps you finance a successful conference. To make our participation more beneficial to you and the publishers, we have compiled these suggestions regarding the scheduling of conferences and the set up of exhibit areas:

• Use our website when planning! Put your date on our calendar early and try to avoid conflicting with other meetings in the state. When publishers need to be in two places at one time neither location gets the full benefit of our expertise and display materials.

• When planning sessions, please allow a specific time in the agenda designated for exhibit visits. This should be in addition to registration, breaks, and lunch times. At the very least, schedule more time between sessions (20 to 30 minutes) for participants to look at the displays. Feedback from teachers indicates that they also want this time to review new instructional materials needed for the classroom.

• Exhibit location is critical! Make the exhibit areas easily accessible for both teachers and exhibitors and place it in a high traffic area. Putting exhibitors near each other is preferable to being spread out to remote parts of the building. If possible, stick to the ground floor and put exhibits near an outside door or loading dock. Heavy boxes and displays don’t mix well with stairs and long distances during set up and breakdown.

• Schedule exhibits for the day of the conference that will have the greatest attendance. This will focus attendees on the exhibit hall more closely during the time we are there. Please avoid Sunday conferences or half day exhibits at the end of a conference.

• Your courtesy of refreshments is always appreciated. Likewise, many of us are happy to provide door prizes for your event. For large conferences, please avoid using stickers, cards, or other incentives to get attendees to visit the booths. It is often more distracting than helpful. Those publishers who want to offer enticements can easily do so at their individual tables.

• Some final setup suggestions: Since our displays usually include bookracks, we need rectangular tables at least 30 inches wide and 8 feet long. We can usually adapt, but appreciate your consideration when possible. Often you do not need to provide cloths for tables since most of us carry those materials. At large conferences, we do want to have pipe and drapes to make our booths look more professional and to create an effective display area. We appreciate it when you offer additional tables for a booth at a very reasonable price.

It is our goal to evaluate your meetings and conferences to provide constructive feedback on how to improve the exhibits and to endorse those conferences that are most beneficial to publishers. Please feel free to let us know any additional suggestions that you may have. Let’s work together to achieve our common goal of making your conference a success! Thanks!