Top 5 Games to Play on your Exhibition Stand

to Increase Footfall and Get More Leads


woman plays game at exhibition or trade show

This exhibiting guide gives you a run down of our favourite games to play and competitions to host on your trade show booth to increase footfall. These include:

  • Social Media Photo Competitions
  • Leaderboard Competitions
  • Prize Wheels
  • Arcade Games
  • Guess How Many…

As well as these great ideas, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the prizes you should offer. The better the prize the more people will participate, but you’ve got to consider your return on investment (ROI). By the end of the exhibiting guide you’ll be an expert in exhibition stand games and competitions that increase traffic and generate leads.

Exhibition Competitions that Generate Traffic

So you’ve got an exhibition coming up. Great news! You’ve already sorted out an amazing custom modular exhibition stand from us (obviously) but now you need to work out how to get people on to it!

The first thing you should do to get more traffic on your stand is to make sure you’ve got an eye-catching exhibit. We think floor-to-ceiling graphics, bespoke product showcases, photo-flooring and high-level branding should do the trick. 

The second thing you need to do is choose the right people to staff your booth. Booth babes are out. You need your best sales team on the job. But what happens when that’s not enough? What if you want even more people visiting your exhibition stand?

More people on your exhibition stand means more leads and more business decision-makers taking note of your brand. But how can you make sure people visit your booth instead of your competitors? You need to give people a reason to come. You need one of these exhibition stand competitions to generate footfall and get more leads on your trade show booth.

The type of game that you choose to run should depend on your overarching exhibition goal. Do you want to increase brand awareness? You should probably work on increasing your social media mentions then. Do you want to develop industry relationships? No harm running an arcade where your staff play against prospects and customers.

Here are 5 trade show booth competitions that you can use at your next exhibition.

1. Social Media Photo Sharing

Social media competitions are guaranteed to bring in the crowds. And what’s better than huge gatherings on your exhibition stand? Hundreds of people mentioning your business on their social media channels.

If you have a unique product that you are showcasing at your exhibition then this type of competition is the one for you. And it’s really easy to run. All you have to do is have your product on display, and ask people to share photos of it using a specific hashtag and tagging your business. 

Once the exhibition is over you go through all the posts and select a winner at random to receive a prize! There’s much more on prizes at the end of this exhibiting guide so make sure you check that out.

This type of trade show booth competition not only generates footfall on your booth but encourages social media engagement and interaction. You kill two birds with one stone… Everyone’s a winner! Except, obviously, the losers. But it’s fun for them to try. 

2. Arcade Games

You don’t have to offer people huge prizes to get them interested in your exhibition stand competition. Fun games like the reaction tests, arcade games and virtual reality simulators offered by Clownfish Events work just as well. You could get creative with your stand design and offer delegates a blast from the past. 

Hire nostalgic arcade games to spice up your trade show booth with bright lights, sound effects and a splash of colour. When was the last time you had a go at space invaders? Make sure your team are up to scratch because their arcade skills will likely be put to the test by many industry professionals. 

The initial cost of renting one of these games is high when compared with putting a trivial quiz together or buying a mystery wheel. But you save money on the cost of the prizes as the great thing about these games is you don’t even need to offer any!

These types of games are great fun and will help your booth visitors relax and feel at ease with your team and your brand. Then you’re in a great position to engage them with product demonstrations, sales pitches and more. You’re more likely to achieve your exhibiting goal if the delegates are interacting with you. The ball’s in your court. 

3. Prize Wheels

If simple is what it takes to bring in the crowds, then simple is what you must do. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get much more simple than a prize wheel. Roll up, roll up. Spin the wheel for your chance to walk away with a prize!

We’ve all seen them. Most of us have even spun them. You walk onto the exhibition stand, take your chance at spinning the technicoloured wheel of fortune and usually walk away with a branded pen or power bank. 

The trick is to have a good balance of prizes. We’ve got to look after you return on investment (ROI) after all! Get a range of low-cost branded goods, such as pens, badges and stickers. Include a few slightly higher costing (and slightly better!) prizes such as USB sticks and power banks. And then encourage people to play by offering a star prize. 

Simply ask people to exchange their contact information for a chance to spin the wheel and voila… you’ve turned your exhibition stand footfall into a lead. 

2 people play arcade game at exhibition

4. Leader-board Competitions

The best way to ignite anyone’s competitive side is to run a leaderboard. There are loads of simulation games and experiences designed to test a persons speed or skill that you could have individuals participate in. And seeing their name on your leaderboard would encourage even the most shy members of the squad to participate. 

To enter, all they have to do is give you their contact details and agree to be contacted at a later date (maybe they win, maybe they don’t). You can lure people in with a big prize for the top spot on the leaderboard. Big means big, forget about your branded pens and boxes of chocolate. There is more on exhibition stand game prizes at the bottom of this guide. 

It’s not all about the prize though. It’s about the glory! Your leaderboard game has to make people think ‘I want to have a go at that!’. It has to be simple, with easy to follow rules. And it has to produce granular results. Something timed guarantees a clear winner, and makes people think ‘I can beat that score’. We’ve seen this done really effectively with rowing machines on fitness & health stands and virtual reality simulators at CONFEX 2020.

By incorporating a leaderboard into your exhibition stand, you’ll have audiences begging to take part. Not only does this generate footfall, making your stand look busier and more inviting – but it gives you the ultimate chance to interact with potential customers, generate leads and even close deals. 

5. ‘How many’…

One of the most common competitions used on exhibition stands is the ‘guess how many’ game. We all know what these are. You simply fill a container with whatever you want and ask people to guess how many of said items are in the containers. 

The larger your container and more colourful your items the more people will be drawn to participate. This has been done successfully using items like sweets, balls and pom poms. Don’t feel limited though.  

If you’ve got your own product that would be perfect for this then why not use that? That way you won’t be spending a penny. If you don’t have the right product, maybe look for something associated with your industry. You could use shoes if you’re an apparel business, knives and forks if you produce homeware…

The key is to make sure your exhibition stand design highlights your game, and people can see it from across the trade show floor. We’ve seen some great examples of this done before so, obviously, we did something better. 

We had a custom unit built for Sponge UK when they wanted this interactive exhibition stand game on their stand. The graphics explained the game and drew in the crowds. It looked great, got loads of attention and increased brand awareness. We’ve also built this feature into a stand for Animal Friends as an endcap showcase. We find the trick is to make sure as many people see it as possible.

To enter, ensure everyone puts their name and email address on their guessing card. At the end of the exhibition pull out one of the cards and you’ve got a winner! But what’s better than a winner? Hundreds of leads that you’ve collected through the entries. And the fact that you’ve only had to fork out for one top prize. 

bright exhibition stand with leader board competition and give-aways

What Prizes should you give away in your Exhibition Stand Competitions?

Having a competition or game on your exhibition stand is a great way of generating traffic. But the better your prize is the more people are likely to participate. The trick is trying to balance your expenditure with your potential return. There is no point running an exhibition stand competition if it doesn’t generate significant ROI, so what prizes should you use to ensure you’re gaining a significant return?

There are three categories when it comes to planning your exhibition stand competition prizes. Firstly you have small wins. These are small, low-cost prizes that participants have a high chance of winning. Secondly, you mid-brow prizes. These cost more, but encourage more people to play your game. Finally, you have the star prize.

Small Wins

Thinking of doing a prize wheel or trivial quiz? You’re going to need some small win prizes to offer participants to make sure your ROI doesn’t fall flat on its face. Here are some great ideas for Small Wins:

  • Pens
  • Keyrings
  • Mouse Matts
  • Food – chocolate/sweets/drinks vouchers
  • Tote Bags
  • Trolley Tokens

The beauty about these small wins is that you can have them all mass produced at a low-cost and finished with your branding. Your exhibition stand game players will be carrying your brand wherever they go.

fun exhibition stand with games to play
guess how many trade show stand game

Mid-Brow Prizes

The more expensive, and more sought after prizes will often draw in a more serious crowd. That means you are generating better leads, but what classifies as a mid-brow prize? Check out these ideas:

  • Moleskine Notebooks
  • Power Banks
  • USB Sticks
  • Shopping Vouchers (£10 to spend on Amazon works best!)
  • Restaurant Vouchers
  • Wine
  • Headphones

Nobody is very interested in winning a free pen. That’s why you should have some mid-brow prizes in the mix to give people a reason to get excited over your exhibition stand game.

Star Prize

Not all exhibition stand games require you to fork out for a star prize, however, the return on investment will likely be worth it. If you are running a competition, such as the social media photo sharing one listed above, then one star prize will often cost less than having a lot of small wins and mid-brow prizes necessary for a prize wheel or trivial quiz.

Some great examples of star prizes (and some I’d definitely participate in a competition for) are:

  • iPad
  • Weekend Getaways
  • Big Vouchers! 
  • Experience Days
  • TVs
  • Event Tickets
  • Soundbar 

Or, why not give someone the chance to win your product or service completely free of charge?

Summing It Up

Exhibition stand games and competitions will definitely help you increase footfall on your booth. The competitions and games in this guide are the most popular and we regularly see them at the events we go to (we may have even had a go). 

The key to getting people excited to participate in your exhibition stand competition is to offer a worthy reward. Mix and match between small wins and mid-brow prizes to make sure everyone gets involved in the game. And offer a stand-out star prize to generate more leads than all of your competitors combined!

Author Bio | Natalka Antoniuk

Natalka is an exhibition blogger for Quadrant2Design who uses her industry expertise to teach business owners the benefits of the trade show floor. She has developed a unique insight into the world of exhibiting, having spent time working alongside exhibitors, event organisers and exhibition stand contractors.


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