Exhibitions, trade shows, trade fairs, expositions–all are names for business conventions where companies of the same industry or from the same region congregate to set up booths, advertise themselves, and, ideally, acquire new customers through direct sales and marketing outreaches.

So you can see the advantages of businesses participating in exhibitions, but why might the general public want to attend these shows? It turns out that looking a little deeper into this question reveals a great many benefits of trade shows for the individual. These range from learning about the latest and greatest trends in a specific industry to the surplus of networking opportunities.

Now, let’s explore in more detail the top 10 reasons people attend exhibitions:

1.) Staying Current

Exhibitions are the perfect kinds of events for companies to show off their latest productions in the tech, medical, or another type of industry. Therefore, for those individual business people, engineers, and general laypersons wishing to expose themselves to state-of-the-art products and services, trade shows offer more than enough to take in. Convention attendees can get lost wandering among the booths, inspecting what’s on display and asking questions of the employees staffing the stands. In fact, talking one-on-one to these workers can be massively beneficial, since it’s their job to communicate to the public why their company’s newest creation is the best on the market and how it can improve people’s lives

2.) Meeting Major Brands

Some big-name companies seem intimidating from a distance, particularly if they are one of the leaders in their industry. Trade shows and conventions where those companies will be showing off their wares and looking for one-on-one marketing opportunities are perfect chances for consumers to close the gap between themselves and those companies. People can learn more about these corporate giants, get to know the employees at the booth, and see what new products or services they have on the horizon. It’s always interesting to see what the best of the best are working on at any given moment.

3.) Observing Competition

Learning what top industry performers have been developing in the past few months is in fact the subject of this third point: examining the competition. Trade shows are opportune moments for executive-level business people to get out there and see what their competition has been up to lately. Exhibitions are certainly no time for secrecy, as companies want to leverage these chances to show off and engage in direct marketing. Therefore, representatives from one company in an industry could potentially learn a lot from simply observing the displays of the other companies at a trade show. These representatives may want to ask themselves some of these questions while at an exhibition: “What is the competition doing better than my company? In what departments are they spending more resources? How are they marketing themselves? Are they engaging with the public in better ways than my company is?”

4.) Networking

Probably to no one’s surprise, networking is often a major reason why people go to exhibitions. No matter what industry or theme the trade show is focusing on, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new professional contacts, share knowledge and experiences, and learn from other influencers in the workforce. As is usually the case with networking, there’s no telling where these interactions can lead, and which new contacts might know other useful contacts. Additionally, showing up at an exhibition to network is infinitely better than networking online, as people can size up one another face-to-face to break through cultural and other barriers. The networking possibilities at a trade show truly cannot be overstated, and all show attendees would do well to heed this advice.

5.) Stimulating Creativity

This point is an offshoot of number 3, but the main difference is that, in this case, professionals aren’t “spying” on their competition to learn what they are doing well. Instead, they are attending the exhibition to stimulate their own creativity. Because companies put a great deal of thought into their trade fair presentations, it’s highly likely that their booth designs in themselves communicate certain vibes about their brand. Business representatives looking to jumpstart their own brand awareness might find a great deal of value in attending trade expositions just to have a look at what already successful companies are doing with their visuals and other marketing efforts. The point will not be for the up-and-coming companies to steal these ideas, but rather to use them as starting points for brainstorming about what they want their own brands to represent.

6.) Finding Jobs

It’s true that many trade shows exist primarily to advertise company brands, but the same can often be accomplished through job fairs, and this is why many companies choose to participate in them. When job fairs are well advertised and perhaps focused on a certain industry or two, well-qualified job seekers are sure to attend. Searching for work online has gotten much easier and more convenient over the years, but there’s also nothing quite like speaking directly to human resources representatives about the available job opportunities at their companies. The effectiveness of making personal connections at job fairs cannot be overstated.

7.) Getting Free Stuff

On a more lighthearted note, some people enjoy attending exhibitions for all the free giveaways that are available. Companies often give away freebies at these shows as a marketing tactic. And although these items–pens, t-shirts, bracelets, magnets–aren’t particularly valuable, people like being able to pick some up as they wander.

8.) Escaping the Office

People who work for the types of employers that regularly attend exhibitions themselves might welcome the chance to attend a trade show for the learning experiences. Employers can send employees out to attend such a show for any number of reasons, and employees truly should jump at the chance to do so. While it will be important to pay attention to the other companies at the show, employees can also take advantage of the time as an escape from the humdrum of office life. There’s nothing like a trade exhibition to break up an otherwise monotonous working week.

9.) Shopping

While not exactly the same as malls, trade shows still offer consumers the same concept as malls: the ability to peruse aisles of companies with products for sale and representatives on hand to answer questions. Exhibition attendees can in fact buy things at such events, and for those with some money to spend, trade fairs can be perfect opportunities to grab the latest hot item.

10.) Fun

This point sums up much of what trade exhibitions are all about. With the companies there to advertise themselves and create positive awareness of their brands, and the attendees there to take it all in, the opportunities for fun abound. Moods at trade fairs are generally upbeat, with everyone excited to see what’s on offer. Attendees looking for a good time out of the house should not discount the enjoyment that can be had at trade shows.

Of course, all of these points are contingent upon how well the exhibition is set up, to begin with. With Alliance Exposition Services, attending companies get masterful general contractor services for their booths alongside professional guidance and support at every step of their exhibition participation. Contact Alliance to begin your journey to trade show success.