How to Incorporate Scent into Trade Show Displays
Essential Oils and Flowers

Scent, rather ironically, is one of the most overlooked senses, while simultaneously being one of the most powerful senses we as humans possess. With more than 350 scent receptors, as opposed to the three and five we have for vision and taste respectively, we are designed to respond to odors. That proclivity to scent is one of the reasons that scent marketing is becoming more popular, in trade show displays and in other areas. And, it yields results. A pleasing aroma can encourage visitors to stay up to 40 percent longer in a store.

Using scent to your advantage in your next trade show display, therefore, might just be a smart way to get booth visitors to stay longer and remember your brand more readily when they leave. Here are a few ideas for choosing and including scent in your trade show displays.

 Essential Oils and Flowers - Adding scent to trade show displays


Choose aromas for your trade show displays that complement your brand.

People need your trade show displays to make sense. That means every element of the design, from the furniture to the graphics to, yes, the scents, need to work together to convey your brand values and messaging.

As a result, your scents need to mesh with your brand. For example, if your brand sells homemade wooden furniture, outdoorsy scents will work well to drive home the natural origins of your products. On the other hand, wafting scents, like the aroma of fresh baked cookies, through your booth, while making your guests hungry, is unlikely to deliver a strong and united brand message.

On the other hand, the scents you choose do not have to be focused solely on your products. Other brand elements or values can be highlighted by aromas. For example, that baked cookie smell might be ideal for a brand wishing to convey warmth and hominess, regardless of whether or not that brand sells baked items. The key is choosing smells that evoke feelings and ideas that match your brand values and goals.


Consider creating a custom scent for your trade show displays.

Have you ever smelled something and immediately remembered an experience, event, person, or product? That is because certain odors can become attached to certain memories or things that we have an emotional connection to. The scent itself serves as a reminder of that thing (for good or bad) and helps us recall it in the future.

For this reason, it can be a smart marketing strategy to create a custom scent for your trade show display. This means mixing different aromas to achieve a scent that is totally unique and can be easily associated with your brand. While customers may not consciously realize that that scent is custom made for your brand, chances are good that later, upon smelling that aroma, they will remember your brand, products, or even just the emotional reaction they had to their booth experience. As a result, it can be an effective way to build brand recognition and memory into your visitors’ trade show display experience.


Incorporate scent strategically into your trade show displays.

Sometimes, businesses try to incorporate scent into their trade show displays by spraying aromas around the booth periodically. Unfortunately, this technique is often ineffective, primarily because it does not deliver a consistent aroma throughout the booth. At first, the scent is very strong (perhaps too strong). After a short while, the scent fades, and with it any positive effects it was having on the trade show exhibit’s visitors.

Instead, you will need to be strategic when incorporating scent into your trade show display. You need to select a mechanism (such as diffusers) that will deliver consistent aromas throughout your trade show booth display.

In addition, you will need to carefully consider the strength of your aroma. Achieving a scent that can be easily detected by booth visitors but that is not overwhelming or annoying to those outside the booth is ideal. Your aromas should be a pleasing background to everything your trade show display has to offer, not the main attraction of your booth.


Consider trade show regulations when using scent in your trade show display.

Finally, before you incorporate scent into your trade show display, consider the rules governing your booth. These are usually found in your exhibitor’s handbook.

One of the biggest rules that may impact your ability to incorporate scent into your trade show display regards food prep. If you hoped, for example, to create mouth-watering scents by cooking food in your booth, you need to make sure that strategy works with the rules at your venue. You may, for example, be prevented from serving that food to your booth visitors.

Regardless of how you plan to disseminate aromas throughout your trade show display, the key is to do so in ways that do not run afoul of your venue’s regulations.

Scent marketing can be a smart choice for a trade show display. The use of scents can create a powerful experience that will make it easier for visitors to enjoy and remember your brand. When doing this type of marketing, focus on choosing aromas that match your brand; consider developing custom aromas; incorporate scent strategically, and follow your venue’s rules.


If you need help effectively using scent marketing, do not hesitate to reach out to Imagecraft. We can create beautiful custom exhibits (and offer other exhibiting solutions) that include avenues for effective scent marketing, if you wish. And the right exhibit, combined with effective scent marketing, can help you to make the impression you need at your next event.

Atlantic Aviation Trade Show Display

After you purchase your trade show display and have it assembled in the exhibit hall, it is time to use it to create lead generation and brand awareness for your business. If you have created a compelling trade show booth design, its look and messaging should draw attendees in who want to learn more about what your company can offer.

It is at that time that your sales staff needs to use the advantage the display has given them and provide an engaged and professional experience to booth visitors. Here are just a few of the basic rules of trade show display etiquette they should follow in order to maximize leads and connect with their visitors.


Atlantic Aviation Trade Show Display


Use welcoming body language within the trade show display.

Words are important, but body language will tell visitors even more about your business and your employees’ interest in them. As a result, your booth staff must use welcoming body language whenever they are interacting with visitors in your trade show display. Here are a few ideas for body language that puts people at ease:

  • Keep arms and legs uncrossed.
  • Speak with a smile.
  • Make and keep eye contact.
  • Avoid using smart phones within the booth.
  • Do not lean against furniture.
  • Do not sit unless with a visitor.
  • Avoid distraction, such as speaking with other booth staff.
  • Use polite language, including “please” and “thank you.”

The goal is for your staff to feel friendly and approachable at all times to visitors while they are in the trade show display. Any body language or behavior that detracts from this approachability will make it more difficult for visitors to engage with booth staff or feel as if they are your staff’s top priority. When staff can create a friendly atmosphere that complements a compelling and informative booth design, you have a greater chance of winning visitors’ goodwill and future business.


Avoid eating or drinking inside the trade show display.

In addition to maintaining a welcoming demeanor within the booth, your staff should also avoid eating or drinking while they are on duty. Any snacks, drinks, or meals should be consumed during breaks outside the trade show display (so make sure your staffing schedule allows for plenty of these).

There are two main reasons to avoid eating and drinking inside the booth. The first is to maintain the cleanliness and appeal of the exhibit. Food and drink spills can damage electronic equipment or leave stains that can detract from the professional appearance your booth needs to have. In addition, the clutter created by water bottles, snack wrappers, and meal containers can be seriously off putting to visitors who expect a clean environment focused on your brand.

Second, eating and drinking within the booth can look unprofessional and make it more difficult for visitors to approach your staff (or vice versa). Trying to eat and interact effectively with booth visitors is nearly impossible. Avoid losing valuable leads or portraying a negative view of your business by keeping food and drink outside your trade show display.


Include the right number of staff for the size of the trade show display.

Your booth staff may be friendly and approachable, but if there are not enough of them to handle all the traffic through your booth, visitors will still feel neglected. On the other hand, the presence of too many employees can make a booth, especially a small one, feel crowded before visitors even enter the door. Strike an appealing middle ground by staffing your booth with the right number of salespeople.

One method for determining the right number of staffers is to take the square footage of your trade show display and subtract the square footage consumed by furniture and other items. Then divide the remaining square footage by 50. That number should be the right number of staffers.

In addition, make sure to spread staffers out through your booth. If every staffer is responsible for a certain section of the trade show display, you are more likely to engage all visitors without staffers crowding visitors or each other.


Maintain a clean trade show display.

Cleanliness is next to professionalism when it comes to a trade show display. Make sure, therefore, that your booth looks clean at all times during the trade show. Normal wear and tear may be unavoidable (such as chipped paint or accidental bumps or dirt smears from visitors’ shoes). However, there are steps you can take to keep your booth looking fresh for the entire event.

For example, as mentioned above, keep staffers from eating and drinking inside the trade show display to prevent food clutter and spills. In addition, have staff conduct a cleanup of the booth every day. This should include vacuuming, spot cleaning spills and marks, wiping down graphics and surfaces, and even conducting basic maintenance, such as changing burned out light bulbs.


Have staff maintain a professional appearance within the trade show display.

Finally, trade show display etiquette requires your staff to maintain a well-groomed and professional appearance within the booth. In particular, your staff should either wear business casual clothing or uniforms provided by your company. In addition, clothing should be unwrinkled and clean throughout the staffer’s shift, and clothing should clearly differentiate booth staff from visitors.

Proper trade show display etiquette can go a long way toward complementing a great booth design and winning over visitors. By using welcoming body language, not eating or drinking in the display, including the right number of staffers for the trade show display, maintaining a clean exhibit, and ensuring that staffers maintain a professional appearance, you can maximize the positive experience visitors have in your booth. And if you want a booth design that draws in visitors to begin with, do not hesitate to reach out to Imagecraft. We have the experience and creativity to meet your company’s needs within your budget.