When it comes to exhibiting an important part of achieving the best possible results is choosing the best exhibition staff to represent your business.

Should you choose internal staff, who are experienced and knowledgeable in your company’s products and services, or hire agency staff who are less experienced with your business but significantly more experienced in exhibiting and face-to-face marketing?

There are certainly benefits to hiring exhibition staff from an agency, but this strategy also has its fair share of potential drawbacks to consider.

Below we discuss the pros and cons of using agency exhibition staff to represent your business.

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Pros of hiring exhibition staff:

The benefits of using agency exhibition staff include

  • Expertise and specialisation
  • Flexibility and scalability
  • Less training needed
  • Diverse skill sets
  • Less downtime for internal staff

1. Expertise and specialisation:

Exhibition staffing agencies specialise in providing experienced, knowledgeable and confident exhibition staff for your stand.

While agency staff may not be familiar with your particular business, they have a wealth of experience, training and knowledge specific to the events industry and exhibiting. They are confident networking with visitors and naturally project an air of competence that enhances the presentation of your business.

2. Flexibility and scalability:

Employing agency exhibition staff offers a very flexible solution, particularly for companies with fluctuating staffing needs.

If your business has multiple events throughout the year, an exhibiting team made up of agency staff can easily be scaled up or down to match your changing requirements.

3. Less training needed:

When using your internal staff on your exhibition stand, you’ll need to brief and train them on the intricacies of exhibiting.

While your staff may be knowledgeable in your business processes, products and services, they may not be as familiar and comfortable with exhibiting.

Agencies provide trained and confident professionals for your stand without the headache and overhead costs associated of training your full-time employees.

4. Diverse skill sets:

Exhibition staffing agencies often have a pool of staff with diverse skills, such as multilingual abilities, sales expertise or varying levels of technical knowledge.

This can be advantageous in catering to a broad audience, for example using multilingual staff when attending an international exhibition, or staff with specialist knowledge when exhibiting within a specific industry.

5. Less downtime for internal staff

Hiring agency exhibition staff means that fewer members of your internal team will have to take time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to prepare for and attend your event.

You’ll likely need at least one member of your internal staff to coordinate processes but as more roles are fulfilled by agency staff, fewer members of your team need to be present at the event.

This means that standard day-to-day business can continue uninterrupted, as the event is handled separately to your ongoing business activities.

Cons of hiring exhibition staff:

The drawbacks of using agency exhibition staff include

  • Lack of company knowledge
  • Communication challenges
  • Limited long-term commitment
  • Potential for inconsistency

1. Lack of company knowledge:

While agency exhibition staff may be experienced in the intricacies of exhibiting, they will likely lack an understanding of your company’s products, values, and culture.

Not only can this portray a less accurate representation of your brand, but visitors could also interpret staff’s lack of knowledge as a lack of business competence.

While staff will typically be given brand guidelines and briefs, this cannot replace the competence that comes naturally from being an experienced member of the team.

2. Communication challenges:

Hiring agency staff has the potential to create miscommunication issues between those staff and your internal team. Inconsistencies in working styles, priorities and personalities can lead to miscommunications that can negatively impact your exhibition experience.

This challenge can be mitigated with clear communication and briefing processes.

3. Limited long-term commitment:

Naturally external agency staff will lack the long-term commitment and loyalty that internal employees often show.

Building ongoing relationships with visitors from one show to the next will be much more challenging with a rotating cast of external representatives.

It also reduces opportunities to lay the foundations of ongoing relationships, as the representative that visitors meet at the event is not the person who follows up with them afterwards.

4. Potential for inconsistency:

With no control over training or recruitment, the quality of agency exhibition staff may vary significantly, leading to inconsistencies in how your brand is presented from show to show.

Comprehensive briefs and brand guidelines, as well as clear leadership, can help address this issue and ensure that all staff (whether internal or external) are clear on expectations.

Conclusion:

Deciding whether to use external agency staff for your exhibition stand involves weighing up the pros and cons against your business’s specific needs and objectives.

A good strategy for one business may not necessarily be right for another, so it’s important that you fully understand your objectives for your event and decide whether the benefits of this agency exhibition staff outweigh the potential drawbacks.