The 8 best trade show contest ideas

Your new custom booth is beautiful and you are proud. Your next step is to find ways to attract visitors to your booth during your next trade show.

But how can you do this?

The totmexposition team tells you the best trade show contest ideas to attract visitors to your booth.

Why organize a contest at a trade show?

As an exhibitor, organizing a contest at a trade show gives you the opportunity to have direct contact with your current and prospective customers.

It also gives you the chance to be discovered by other visitors who might not have been interested in your product or service otherwise.

In short, contests help you attract more visitors to your trade show booth while also building brand awareness.

Benefits of contests at a trade show

A contest is a good way to collect data about customers (name, age, occupation, email address, etc.) and determine the best way to get them to participate in the contest. This data can then be used by your marketing or sales department for prospects, follow-ups or sales generation.

Remember that people will be more willing to share their information if they are rewarded for doing so, such as in a contest.

Contests are also a great opportunity for visitors to discover your brand experience  . Contests will help you give them a positive and enjoyable experience that they will associate with your business.

Contests are also an icebreaker for trade show participants who are hesitant to approach your booth. They let you exchange and create honest and sincere relationships that are a little different from the traditional sales pitch.

Contests are also a great way to increase your visibility and stand out from other exhibitors.

What prizes should the winners get?

There are many prize ideas for contests. Cash prizes are always very much appreciated.

Prizes can also be electronic devices or hi-tech gadgets such as a tablet, computer, TV and others.

The most interesting prize is your product or service. Trying out your product or service is probably the best prize idea because it will build brand awareness by having contestants experience it firsthand. It is therefore the prize that is most likely to convert prospective clients into customers.

When planning your next trade show exhibit, consider offering a trial of your product or service to the winner of the contest.

A few tips before you hold your contest

Organizing a contest at a trade show should not be done at random. It should be well thought out and carefully planned.

First, your contest must be visually appealing. It should promote a fascinating concept that sparks interest and curiosity. Carefully plan your banner ads, trade show booth lighting, promotional messages and all other graphics.

You should also promote your contest before and during the event. For example, post messages on your social media before the event and mention that you are holding a contest. You can also share the prizes you will be awarding. This will create excitement.

Distribute promotional flyers during the event to let participants know of your presence, contest and prizes.

To make the waiting time more enjoyable for participants lining up for the contest, offer entertainment and even refreshments. The busier and more entertained they are, the more your participants will find the waiting time enjoyable.

Contest ideas

Mini golf

Mini golf is an excellent contest idea that does not require too much skill. Although very simple, this contest attracts a lot of people to trade show booths.

For example, a prize can be awarded to participants who make a hole-in-one or who complete the course below a given score.

“Find your partner and win”

For this contest, stick the same number on two different participants’ shirts.

These 2 participants will then need to look for one another and come back to your booth together to claim their prize.

This contest is also enjoyed by most trade show participants. If you have enough participants, you will extend your brand’s visibility to different sections of the show.

Game console

For this contest, choose a popular video game. This can be Tetris, Pacman, Mario Kart or many others.

The winner accumulates the most points by the end of the day. Once again, the more participants there are, the better. And the more people can play at the same time, the more attention you will attract.

Wheel of fortune

This contest is also very simple but loved by everyone. It is simply a wheel of fortune with different prizes written on each section.

The participant spins the wheel and wins the prize it lands on. This can be a cash prize or other things, like a free quote.

“Roll the dice to win”

This contest requires a participant to roll 2 dice. If they roll the dice and get the same number on both, they win the game and a prize.

This game is interesting because it is fast, requires no skill and everyone has fun.


Quizzes are an excellent trade show contest idea. Simply choose a theme and write a few questions on the topic that participants will have to answer.

The participant who answers correctly is the winner. The theme of the quiz can also be based on your product or service.

“Guess how many”

For this contest, take a jar filled with candy, for example. Participants have to try to guess the exact number of candy in the jar. If they guess correctly, they win!


This game was popularized by the famous American TV game show, The Price is Right. Since a video is worth (more than) a thousand words, here is an excerpt that shows what Plinko is. As you will see, everyone loves this game.

Contests for a successful trade show

Contests are a great way to stand out from other exhibitors and attract visitors during trade shows.

We recommend you try these out, as we are convinced that they will help you be successful at your next trade show.

Good luck!


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