Have you walked trade shows? What’s attracted you to a booth? Was it the booths appearance, the product, the staff, or all of the above? Have you ever entered a trade show booth to play a game? I’ve stopped at booths for some trade show fun, have you?

Trade show booth games can be a great way to connect with prospects because they connect with people without appearing to be hard sell or overly pushy.

Let the Games Begin

A Trade show booth game starts before the show, first, by choosing a game that fits the needs of your business, and then by putting the word out before the show. Create a little excitement.

  • Send an email to customers and prospects about the show, and your contest.
  • Post the game on Social Media.
  • Attach a hashtag to the contest.
  • Post your booth number on social media and your website.
  • Add contest information to show organizers collateral materials.
  • Create a digital flyer for the show.

What Type of Contest is Best for Your Company?

A contest that’s focused on your customers, your brand, and your industry is more effective than a random event. For example, a few years ago an interior home remodeling company I was working with wanted to offer a gas grill as a drawing prize. Their reason was because they’d used it in the past and had success gathering names and contact information. I asked how many of these “leads” resulted in sales. They didn’t know of any. The problem was the prize had nothing to do with their business. So I convinced them to give away $500 of their product as a prize. It led to leads and new customers because the prize attracted prospects with interests in their products.

The contest should:

  • Appeal to your target audience.
  • Be used to gather contact information.
  • Open up conversations and engagement between staff and prospects.
  • Highlight your brand, industry, and product.

Types of Contests

There are hundreds of possibilities. Nearly any game could be tailored to fit the needs of an organization. For example, I’ve seen Roulette wheels, slot machines, karaoke, dance contests, game shows, and whack-a-mole. Here are a few easy-to-do ideas.

Guess the count

Place a large jar filled with marbles, coins, or better yet, a representation of your product. To enter, visitors are required to complete a card with their guess, contact information, and a checklist of products they might have interest in.

Spin the wheel

Create a wheel with prizes where everyone’s a winner. Ask for contact information, a form to complete or a business card, before they spin. Low end prizes can be branded promotional products you’d give away regardless.


The key to a successful trivia game is to make the questions about your industry, company, and product. The contest could be based on poplar game shows, trivial pursuit, and the questions could be posted digitally on a TV screen.

Fishbowl drawing

Here’s another easy-peasy contest. Have contestants drop their card in a fish bowl for hourly drawings.

Hashtag sharing

Have visitors share your show hashtag on social media and then have your staff draw prizes randomly throughout the show. To qualify visitors must follow you on social media.

Booth selfie

This is an excellent way to promote Instagram. Ask visitors to take a selfie at your booth using a specified hashtag and then post it on Instagram. To qualify they must follow you on Instagram. And then share random prize winners on Instagram.

It’s All Fun and Games

Running a contest at your booth can be fun but it also gives your staff an opportunity to engage with prospects about their wants and needs for your product, and isn’t that why you’re at the show?