ZonePro® Attends AAHOACON21: A Case Study
Debuting a product at a trade show can be daunting, but also massively rewarding. We learned that firsthand at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) trade show in August, where we exhibited our ZonePro® barriers for the first time. In a bid to inspire other business owners and inform hoteliers (as well as the greater trade show industry) about the utility of our products, we put together a case study about our AAHOA experience.
The first step is deciding on a trade show that aligns with your product. As the manufacturers of fully customizable barriers, we knew that AAHOA made sense. Our products can be used to direct foot traffic and redefine spaces, while displaying branding, messaging or QR codes. This makes them a great fit for any hotel with a registration kiosk, restaurant or gym. When used in these locations, the ZonePro® custom vinyl banner also serves as a previously untapped marketing resource.
Next comes the task of dressing your booth. Given the functionality of our ZonePro® barriers, we wanted to show them in action. “Instead of the standard black divider drapes, we used our barriers as part of the booth design to show attendees the features and benefits of our product,” Dawn Reiner, Vice President of Marketing, says. “The ZonePro® units defined the perimeters of our booth, creating a communication vehicle while adding beautiful, eye-catching aesthetics.”
It doesn’t hurt to have a little gimmick. “We would pull one of the banners in the walkway and let it retract,” John Hinkle, Director of Operations, explains. “That was to get people to stop. Once we got them talking, it was great.” These conversations even resulted in a potential new market for our product. “There was a lot of positive feedback, not only from hoteliers but from other exhibitors who were impressed by our booth and curious about obtaining customized banners for their next trade show.”
Another way to stand out at a trade show is through sponsorship. We teamed up with AAHOA to cordon off two stages for their live events. Again, this allowed us to showcase the ZonePro® in use. “One big win was using ZonePro® units set up as a perimeter around the stage,” ZonePro® President Andrew Reiner says. “It’s not something that we’ve done before. Using the ZonePro® units ourselves and seeing it all set up for this purpose was helpful to understanding the customer experience. This will help us as we continue to innovate our product.”
The event organizers also took notice of the staging, which has the potential to lead to more collaborations in the future. “It was important to engage with the people that run the show,” Andrew says. “So they can see the product being used and the potential around it moving forward.” As with any first endeavor, however, there were also some learnings from AAHOA.
For starters, we learned that it pays to be proactive. “My favorite part of the show was getting people to come over and talk to me about the ZonePro®,” John says. “I would see people looking at the booth, but they wouldn't stop. I was able to approach a couple of them and ask if they had any questions. That was a great way to start a conversation.” We also realized that it’s essential to communicate the ways in which your product can be used, particularly if you’re exhibiting something innovative or new. “The full extent of a product’s uses isn’t always clear. Having materials or prototypes to show people is essential,” Andrew adds.
Ultimately, ZonePro®’s first trade show was an overwhelmingly positive experience. We made important connections within the industry, generated leads and learned a little more about our own product. To find out more about the pros and cons of trade shows, see our previous blog on the subject here.