blog tradeshow sponsors simple tips

It’s a fact: Your trade show cannot live without sponsors. They provide the additional revenue (or in-kind contributions) your show needs to remain competitive and stay in the black.

However, sometimes sponsorship offerings are out-of-date, too expensive or of little to no interest to the companies you’re pitching.

Below is a list of proven ways to evaluate and sell your sponsorship program. If you execute some or all of these ideas, you’ll deliver a win-win for both the organizations you need and the attendees they want to reach.

Sponsorship Hooks

Offer Exclusivity

Rather than offering sponsorships to anyone and everyone, provide a limited number of exclusive sponsorships to each business category. Sell all sponsorships on a first-come, first-served basis to create a sense of urgency to commit.

In addition to business classification, you can offer bigger and better booth locations, VIP access to key attendees or multiple branding options throughout the show. All of this can be based on the sponsorship level each company provides.

Give Previous Sponsors First Dibs

Rather than opening up sponsorships at the same time, give the previous year’s sponsors exclusivity for 30 days. Let them know they have a limited time to commit before you open the show up to everyone else.

Provide Early Bird Discounts

Give various discount levels for commitments one year, six months and three months before the event. Let potential sponsors know exactly how much they’ll save, either through actual dollars or a discounted rate by signing now.

Offer Different Levels

Rather than making sponsorships unattainable for small- to medium-sized businesses, provide lower-level sponsorships that allow those who want to participate with the opportunity to do so.


Sponsorship Custom-Tailored

Use Branding 2.0

Don’t offer traditional sponsorships in program handouts, on T-shirts or during trade show presentations. Instead, consider offering the following:

  • Sponsor logos and marketing collateral on all mobile charging stations.
  • Allow sponsors to host a recharge lounge where the sponsor’s logo, videos and presentations are projected on plasma displays while attendees relax and chat with others in plush, overstuffed chairs and couches.

Offer Unusual Packages

Put together a party package where the sponsor hosts a special VIP event.

For those who host events at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, the convenience of the indoor waterpark, spa, family entertainment and dining options all on-site provide endless opportunities to create unique packages for sponsors. Creative options include: exclusive after-hours access to the indoor waterparks, theme parks or arcades; private cabana rentals in the indoor or outdoor waterparks with refreshments; sponsoring admission to the Indoor Theme Park or game cards for the family entertainment centers for all attendees; a happy hour networking event; or providing attendees with one spa treatment while on-site. Kalahari Resorts’ beyond-expectations food and beverage services also provide sponsors with opportunities to host VIP dining events at one of the many full-service restaurants or other group rooms on-site.

Give Them What They Want

Of course this is all within reason, but you want to show you can be flexible and creative. Perhaps the potential sponsor thought of something you didn’t, and it’s a good fit for all concerned. If so, go for it!

Sponsorship Benefits

Meet New Contacts

There’s no doubt about it: A busy trade show floor is the perfect place to attract and spend a few quality moments with many potential clients your sponsor could not reach through even the most sophisticated email campaign or creative social media postings.

Raise Awareness About Their Brand

Sponsors want to be remembered long after the trade show ends. Provide them with the opportunity to keep their name in front of attendees before, during and after the show.

Key Takeaway

The main purpose of this blog post is to have you think like a sponsor. Ask and answer this question: “What would you want if you were approached to become a sponsor?”

Then, be honest about what you’re currently offering. If you offer a package that has never sold, it’s time to take it off the program. Listen and get creative, and you’ll soon sell out your sponsorships and perhaps reel in new ones!

Kalahari Is Your Trade Show Destination

Whether it’s our resort in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions has the meeting tools you need to help sell sponsorships quickly. Contact one of our group sales professionals today at 855.411.4605 to learn more about the beyond-expectations experience at Kalahari Resorts!