Using RFID to Put the “WOW” Factor into Trade Shows and Corporate Events

Remember the fictional bar Cheers? The regulars, Cliff, Norm, and Frasier, loved to hang out there because when they walked in the door, Sam the bartender addressed them by name, set them up with their favorite beverages and started a conversation about their favorite subjects. It’s true. Customers want to go where everyone knows their names.

Trade shows and corporate events are no different. Even though there are hundreds or thousands of people walking through the door instead of a handful, it’s still possible to know who they are and what they want. RFID (radio frequency identification) is great for helping event organizers, exhibitors, and corporate planners collect information, but the value doesn’t stop there. Here are some ways to use RFID technology to make your best customers feel at home and add a wow factor to your next event.

The entrance to the exhibit hall, ballroom or meeting room is a perfect place to begin your welcome routine. As attendees enter the room, their names can appear on a kiosk or giant screen with a welcome message. At the same time, exhibitors can be notified via email that their key clients or prospects are in the house. Imagine a contest where the most attendees from a particular city, country, or chapter to attend the gala would win a prize. RFID makes this possible.

At the trade show booth, more wow is waiting. A kiosk can welcome an attendee, flash their company logo on the screen and direct them to areas of interest inside the booth. Sales staff can receive text messages when VIPs arrive. When attendees leave the booth, messages can direct them to relevant areas outside the booth such as lounges, networking sessions or conference presentations they have signed up for. RFID can also be used by visitors in the booth to request product information without ever engaging a sales representative.

RFID helps exhibitors provide a personal touch for visitors. A live person can greet them by name when they arrive at the booth and thank them by name when they leave. A booth host or hostess (or even the CEO) can hand them a gift or premium based on preferences they stated in their attendee profile; a box of chocolates for a chocolate lover, a flash drive for a computer geek, or a tiny T-shirt for a new mom. Staff back at the office can be notified to mail a hand-written thank you note ASAP.

Imagine a luncheon or dinner where tables were numbered. RFID can greet visitors at the door and advise them of their table numbers. Visitors could also go to a kiosk that would recognize them and indicate where their table was located on the floor plan. When they leave the luncheon, digital signs can thank them for attending, bid them save travels back to [insert any city], and say goodbye in their native language.

These ideas will work for trade or corporate events. The cost for RFID tags (now less than fifty cents per tag) has come down considerably in recent years making these enhancements possible. For less formal settings, use attendee profiles to collect information on your customers’ hobbies, interests or favorites and work with that information throughout the event. Knowing where your customers are and what they like helps event planners be more responsive to their needs. It worked for Cheers.

How would you use RFID technology to add WOW to your next event?