Blog > Trade Show > Tips for Designing a Great HIMSS Trade Show Display

Your Guide to a Successful HIMSS Trade Show Display

November 22, 2022
min read
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HIMSS 2023 is right around the corner and now is the time to start planning your trade show booth display. Your booth represents your company, but it isn’t just about brand colors or cool fonts. You have to “wow” your prospects in order for them to choose you over your competitors.

HIMSS is one of the largest healthcare conferences and it’s easy to get lost in the maze of companies, speakers, and collateral. Every booth is bigger, cooler, and brighter than the last and most attendees are all targeting the same audience. 

How do you stand out in a saturated sea of competitors without spending an arm and a leg? It all comes down to your trade show displays. 

In this blog, we’re going to dive into the HIMSS waters and explore what makes a great trade show display. Ready to stand out? 

HIMSS trade show booth rules.

Before we dive into the fun stuff (design, banners, backlights, oh my!), let’s get into some of the general exhibit booth rules that HIMSS requires. 

They are pretty lax about most things as long as you keep it within the confines of your booth. For example, you can do what you want with your lighting fixtures as long as they don’t overhang outside of your space. 

They are the most strict about sound and soliciting. This means that you can’t use a megaphone to scare passerby with the incredible benefits of your wearable, nor can you send your top salesperson out on the floor to solicit prospects. 

So, if you can’t send your best people out or use your favorite megaphone, how are you going to get people to visit your space?

This is where your trade show booth comes in. Your display is going to do the heavy lifting. This is just one reason why your booth is so important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Why your trade show display matters.

You would be surprised at how many companies don’t put much thought into their trade show displays, or just reuse the same old exhibit designs that they’ve been using for years. At an event as large as HIMSS, your booth design is absolutely critical.

Those retractable banners, table covers, tension fabric displays, and custom printing are the first things that booth visitors see. The purpose of your trade show display is about more than a comfortable place to sit or a place to splash your logo. 

Your trade show display needs to be about your audience. Think about them and what would immediately draw their attention. This is the first part of your planning process. 

Ask yourself: What booths do you remember the most from this year’s HIMSS? 

What made them memorable?

Does size matter?

At HIMSS 2018 in Vegas, around midday, a crowd of attendees stood waiting. The line snaked around a row of booths. The people squeezing by the line assumed that all of those attendees were waiting to see a speaker. Closer to the front, the people started to funnel until they were single-file. 

They weren’t in line to watch a speaker, nor were they in line for the free coffee stand. They were waiting to visit a booth—no, a podium— where one man stood offering handwriting analysis. During the analysis, he would casually talk about his tech solution. If the prospect was interested, they would be handed off to a marketing executive.

A tiny podium, one man, one service and he managed to attract hundreds of people to his space and make himself memorable. No fancy pop up displays, no screens. People were willing to listen to his pitch about a health information solution, at his tiny podium in a sea of high quality and impressive displays. 

Size doesn’t matter as long as you maximize the space that you have with something engaging and memorable.

Embrace unconventional elements

Unconventional elements.

Healthcare has never been thought of as a particularly colorful industry. Marketing from the past has pushed a much more sterile approach to trade show booth design. This is often what companies will do if they aren’t confident about exploring untraditional elements. 

The thing about trade show exhibits is that people respond best to eye-catching and interesting design choices. For example, would a couple of podiums and banner stands be as memorable as a unique booth with arching signs and weightless displays?

Probably not. 

Take your time and hire a designer who can help you make the most out of your exhibit booth real estate. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it and add pops of color, screens, motion graphics, and cool architectural elements. 

Clear messaging.

The elements in your trade show display are important but words are just as important and can pack more punch than you’d expect. 

While your display includes all of the visual elements that are sure to turn heads, the words are what get people to stick around and learn more. The magic key here is to use pain points and write for your target audience. 

How can you do that in less than ten words? 

For example, as a healthcare information and technology company that solves the healthcare data interoperability problem, you could use messaging like:

‘Data sharing made easy’

‘All of the information you need is one click away’

‘Save time, retain doctors’

Each one of these addresses prospect’s pain points by highlighting that by using your technology, interoperability is simplified, therefore improving the doctor experience and saving everyone time. 

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Don’t overthink it.

HIMSS is a big investment and an event that takes months and a lot of bandwidth to plan. The key to creating a great trade show display is to embrace the unconventional, be fearless with experimentation, and refine your messaging. 

Remember, your prospects are people, too. They’re going to like booths that are fun and memorable just like you would. Healthcare as an industry is moving away from the sterile facades of years past. 

Get creative, have fun, and take advice from professionals.

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Kat Calejo
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