Best Trade Show Games – A 10-Point Checklist For Success

You or someone on your team has proposed that you host a game in your trade show booth. That’s great, because games can make your booth come alive. But what really makes a trade show game successful?

The best trade show games succeed for many reasons, which are given below in a 10-point checklist. Use it to compare ideas you’re considering.

But at the highest level, the best trade show games do two things: They appeal to attendees AND provide marketing benefits to exhibitors. Let’s look at both areas of value.


Here are 5 reasons attendees like trade show games (and when attendees like your game, you’ll have more visitors in your booth!)

1. The best trade show games are fun

Attendees want to play games because they become bored after shuffling down dozens of trade show aisles. A fun game will wake them up and give them a laugh. A fun game will make for a memorable experience they can share with their co-workers.  A fun game will let them unleash their inner puppy. Fun is good!

2. The best trade show games award prizes

Attendees have limited time on the show floor, so prizes reward players for their time.  Big-ticket prizes are an extra incentive that gets people to line up. (A bonus benefit to exhibitors: prizes can be branded with your logo so attendees better remember you after the show.)

3. The best trade show games are easy to start playing

Again, because attendees have limited time on the show floor, they won’t take the time to read a 16-page game instruction manual!  The best trade show games have simple and clear rules to play and win.  It helps when the game is a version of a popular game attendees already know.

4. The best trade show games are a test of skill or knowledge

Just because it’s easy to start doesn’t mean it should be easy to win. Attendees love a challenge, otherwise it would be no fun to when they get the highest score and beat their co-workers! A test of skill can be the most accurate shot or fastest time, and a test of knowledge can be who gets their name on the leaderboard with the highest score playing a trivia game.

5. The best trade show games are digital

Trade shows are all about face-to-face interactions. So how have trade shows continued to succeed despite today’s digital-obsessed world?  Because so many exhibitors have integrated technology into their booth activities, presentations, messaging, and lead gathering.  Millennials are now the largest generation in the work place. You’ll appeal better to these packs of digital natives with digital games.


Since you are paying the bills to host a game in your booth, the best trade show games should reward you, too. Here are 5 factors exhibitors favor when choosing trade show games that provide valuable marketing benefits:

6. The best trade show games get attention

With hundreds, if not thousands of other exhibitors at each show, you need an edge when competing for attendees’ attention. The best trade show games are immediately recognizable as a chance to have fun, win prizes, and earn bragging rights. Nothing gathers a crowd like a crowd, so game players who stop to play become a great advertisement for the next players to stop, too.

7. The best trade show games customize to your brand

When booth visitors focus their attention on your game, you want them to also soak up as much of your brand as possible. A game customized to your company identity, messaging, and even personality will make a more memorable brand experience. You present a more cohesive look and better boost your company image.

8. The best trade show games gather leads

Exhibitors’ #1 reason for exhibiting is to gather leads.  So, while a good game pulls in booth traffic, a great game also gathers leads, capturing attendees’ contact and qualifying info.  Even better if that contact info is in digital format, so you don’t have to waste valuable time on data entry after the show.

9. The best trade show games don’t take too much space

A game needs only enough space for players to feel comfortable and to get attention from the aisle. You still have many important activities that require space in your booth, whether its inline exhibits or island exhibits.   Most of all, you need space for your own branding, for product demonstrations, presentations, lead taking, meetings, and storage.

10. The best trade show games are affordable

Exhibitors on average spend 6% of their trade show budget on promotions. The best trade show games will be less than that, to allow spending for prizes, email list rental, social media ads, and other promos. Consider the cost of one-time versus annual game use, game shipping and drayage, and if the game requires someone travelling onsite to manage it.

There you go: 5 things the best trade show games offer attendees, and 5 more benefits they offer exhibitors.  Pull this list out and check off the items when considering hosting a game in your next trade show booth, and you’ll make your prospects – and your company management – happy.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, click here to ask for a product demo. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.