Hybrid Events In Action: Showrooms

In the second part of our hybrid events in action series, we take a look at showroom and exhibition-style events. In this feature we discover how adopting a hybrid strategy for these types of experiences can support organisations in their lead generation efforts and help build healthy sales pipelines.

An Alternative to Exhibitions and Trade Shows

Done right, exhibitions and trade shows are a powerful way to show and demo new or existing products and services. Through interaction with captive audiences, they provide ample, exciting, and pivotal opportunities to build relationships with existing and prospect customers.

Large-scale expo events, with global audiences in attendance, may not be an option for organisations to attend until later this year or next; but that doesn’t mean this valuable form of marketing should be put on pause until then. Reap the multitude of benefits associated with attending exhibitions and trade shows and create high-quality, high-impact hybrid showroom and exhibition-style experiences.

Here’re some of our recommendations to help maximise the success of your hybrid showroom event…

The Physical Showroom

As real-world events come back into play, albeit with smaller, cautious numbers, hybrid showroom events are a great way to get customers and prospects back into a face-to-face environment, while also extending reach to virtual audiences. Let’s consider, first, the physical showroom entity:

Stand Out In A Flexible Location

Unlike a packed-out exhibition hall, a hybrid showroom experience doesn’t have to share space or limelight. Instead, a business can create their own bespoke stands and showroom environment and exhibit independently, with audience attention completely on their offering. There is also the advantage of flexibility in terms of where the real-world showroom experience is set up. Without the confines of a designated exhibition venue, organisations can make the choice of where to open their physical showroom. This could be a pop-up in an accessible geographical location or designed and constructed within a HQ or regional office.

Personalised Exclusivity

The beauty of keeping in-person attendance numbers low is that you can generate a sense of real exclusivity and make strategic decisions on who to invite. Think about ‘dream’ potential customers, high-value existing customers, and the personalised journeys that can be created for each of them to engage, inspire, educate, and nurture. Smaller live experiences, where personalisation at every touchpoint is a priority, can contribute to the relationship bolstering process and enable companies to communicate with their customers in a focused, one-to-one way that addresses a specific set of pain points, challenges, needs, and requirements unique to that customer.

Face-to-Face Value

Leveraging physical space to orchestrate experiences that can’t easily be replicated online is a must. If guests are travelling and incurring cost to attend, there should be a differentiated offering that maximises the value within the experience itself and in its takeaways. Think around what areas of the experience design can be heightened around the senses. What tactics can be deployed to foster and develop engaged business relationships that convert into sales and revenue? Understanding what people have missed most about live experiences in the last 12 months and incorporating these elements into a real-world showroom setting, will enable higher ROE and ROI. Now is the time to break away from the convention of what has always been done; really expand on what is possible and invest in creative concepts that will support quality lead generation.

Limited Time Only

To create urgency and promote attendance, limit the time that the physical showroom experience will be available. Not only will this build on the FOMO factor for those invited to attend in person, but it also validates the proposition of incorporating a virtual showroom component.

The Virtual Showroom

This is where the hybrid format comes into its own. Extend the physical showroom into a virtual environment and take advantage of global reach, 24-hour accessibility, and increased engagement opportunities.

Run simultaneously with the live showroom event or launched after the real-world experience has ended, virtual showrooms should not be viewed as a compromise, but rather a way of harnessing the best of both worlds; an exciting channel to boost awareness and optimise lead generation. Stunning 3D-rendered, visually rich environments can replicate the live setting with aesthetics to represent your brand, avatars, and hotspot buttons pre-loaded with unmissable content.

Mapped Out Journey

Just as it’s a consideration with in-person guests, the journey for virtual attendees should be mapped out and provide personalised experiences at all digital touchpoints. Approaching real-world and virtual audiences with different, clearly defined experience strategies is the key to success when it comes to delivering mutually beneficial value.

Overcoming Perceived Challenges

It’s essential to keep in mind the perceived challenges of virtual interactions and adopt creative solutions that will complement the user experience to overcome them. Take the scenario of conveying the features and benefits of a product or service in a virtual showroom environment – how can this be achieved outside of a ‘live’ personal interaction? Short, produced video or audio bites are one highly effective way to captivate and communicate with visitors and provide creative scope to talk to customers in a way that resonates. While text collateral will always have a place, there needs to be a strong focus on online user behaviour and information consumption preferences when making content decisions.

The great thing is that there are a whole host of diverse digital content mediums to bring into action within a virtual showroom, so there’s no shortage of ways to engage, educate and emotively move potential buyers through the purchase funnel. It’s also worth thinking of mechanisms that can be utilised to help users save information or request further detail, so they have it to refer to once they leave your digital hub.

Real-Time Conversations

Connect with visitors in real time and initiate and develop key relationships with chat tools. Whether through text, audio, or ‘face-to-face’ video, build a greater understanding of prospects and customers, answer their questions, breakdown barriers and strengthen relations to grow pipeline and drive sales revenue.

Human-to-human conversation is a big part of live showrooms and exhibition experiences and needs to be a part of the digital offering, too. Incorporating one-to-one meetings with product/service experts, which can be scheduled in advance, and implementing AI chat functionality so frequently asked questions can be answered instantly, are both strategies to enhance connections and boost customer satisfaction.

To inject even more human interaction, live webinars can also be an effective option to communicate with remote audiences. Frequent, live webinar sessions provide businesses with the opportunity to convey specific content and give viewers the chance to ask questions and get the answers they are looking for through live Q&A segments.

Ultimately, cultivating human connection via various formats should be a firm and intentional ambition for organisers launching a virtual showroom experience.


How do you inspire action, encourage participation, and prompt objective-led behaviour in a virtual space? Gamification activities, tailored to audiences, can support in meeting these aims, and with structured goals can help to navigate users around an environment, enabling them to discover content and increase information absorption. Often an agenda will give a virtual event a structure for attendees to follow, but when the experience is more fluid – as in the showroom setup – gamification can map out a route for visitors to take, ensuring they visit all areas and leave with the core takeaways intended. To hook attendees into gamified experiences, think about the rewards that will work to motivate them, and devise a gamification strategy that will drive business desired behaviours.

Turn Leads Into Customers With Data

Data is one of the huge benefits of a digital showroom and exhibition. Analytics can provide detailed marketing insight which can be consolidated and used for targeted campaigns. Armed with more knowledge about buying personas and intentions is hugely valuable and can be used to refine marketing approaches and turn leads into profitable and loyal customers. Make sure to identify data requirements based on event objectives to acquire the intelligence that will take marketing initiatives further and deliver all-important ROI.

The Benefits

Organisations who take a hybrid approach to showroom or exhibition stand experiences will likely benefit from taking the initiative to broaden their audience reach and consequently increase their opportunities to engage with prospects and customers. In the real-world setting, relationships can be nurtured with a targeted focus. Through meaningful face-to-face conversations, demonstrations, and immersive, personalised experiences, the advantages of products/ services can be highlighted in context to a prospects’ individual needs. While alternative methods and tools will be used, the same outcomes can be achieved in a virtual setting, but with the added benefit of accommodating a world-wide audience. There’s also the ease of access for invited guests, who can visit and explore the online showroom at a time that works best for them.

Whatever the purpose, hybrid events should be created with balance, providing an exceptional experience with a brand for both audience groups, at every touchpoint. Overlooking one audience to prioritise the other is a mistake that should be avoided; pay attention to making both feel valued and engaged. With well-thought-out, considered journeys and the right technology solutions in place, hybrid showrooms and exhibition stands are an impactful way to connect your audiences to your business’s core products/ services.