Elevating your company brand and enhancing the attendee experience are musts at annual conventions. Traditionally, this is often done with static displays—wall clings, floor clings, poster boards and banners have been staple vehicles for event branding at convention centers for a long time.

As technology advances, so does display strategy at events, which is why convention centers are increasing their menu of digital display options.

Ted Arbeiter, the tech services coordinator at the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC), sat down with me this summer to talk about why digital display technology is one of the best ways to take your event to the next level.

Here are four reasons why planners should take the digital display leap.

1. Digital Display Technology Is 21st Century

Minneapolis Convention Center Overhead Signage, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center
Minneapolis Convention Center Overhead Signage, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center

Arbeiter said that the MCC installed its first digital display over the entryway visitor’s center three years ago—a whopping 71-foot-wide video wall. In the past 18 months, the center has invested even more in its digital display capability, adding:

  • Five exhibit hall video walls
  • 33 double-sided overhead monitors
  • 24 reader boards
  • Five concession monitors
  • Two kiosk monitors
  • Two double-sided outdoor marquees

The decision to invest was simple, Arbeiter explained.

“In other parts of their life, [attendees] expect to see digital displays, they expect to see digital content and video, full-motion video,” he said. “And that’s what we offer here for shows to present to attendees.”

Attendees are already interacting with your event digitally—from the registration process and social media hashtags to the event app on their phone—so it makes sense for the rest of your event branding to be immersed in the digital world, too.

2. Digital Displays Can Be Cost Effective

Large Customizable Digital Display Within the Minneapolis Convention Center, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center
Large Customizable Digital Display Within the Minneapolis Convention Center, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center

Splashy event tech is often perceived as costly, which is a concern for meeting planners on strict budgets. However, Arbeiter said that some planners may be surprised to learn that digital displays are pretty cost effective when compared to traditional display strategies.

“We’ve done some cost comparison to some traditional methods and traditional messaging like banners, meter boards and other signs that are on easels, and when we compare the cost of those traditional messaging mediums with digital, digital is very favorable,” Arbeiter said.

“Digital does not have some of the production costs that are involved with all the rest of those signs—production, materials and labor involved with installation and removal of all those signs,” he added.

At the MCC, the digital content creation costs are the same as the content creation costs for traditional mediums, according to Arbeiter, which may debunk the idea that digital displays can be costly. Additionally, labor goes down, too—at the end of the event, all the tech services team needs to do is press “delete.”

3. Digital Display Messaging Is Fluid and Customizable

Vertical Column Digital Display at Minneapolis Convention Center, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center
Vertical Column Digital Display at Minneapolis Convention Center, Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center

Similar to digital tools like social media and websites, digital display messaging can be updated in real time.

If you want to change the messaging on screens at your event every day, you can.

“The great thing about that technology is it’s not fixed for just that moment,” Arbeiter said. “Think of traditional signage. The thing that’s there the first day is there the last day.

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“With digital signage, we can create something that comes up every hour, daily, so unique messages can be very fluid, can be very with the time and very responsive to what’s going on with the event here that time that day,” he added.

Whether it’s new videos or keeping your attendees informed on the event schedule, the flexibility of digital displays is one of their biggest advantages.

4. Digital Displays Can Help Make Your Meetings More Sustainable

Green meetings are more desirable than ever and many convention centers are taking important steps to making their facilities more sustainable.

For planners that want to be proactive about sustainability, digital signage offered at convention centers like MCC can remove a chunk of waste from the equation.

“If you love green and you want to go green, you can’t get greener than going digital,” Arbeiter said, noting that traditional signage often ends up in a dumpster. “Traditional signage is usually stamped uniquely to that show, that year, that theme.”

When you go digital, your materials just get deleted at the end of the show, and there’s nothing tangible to clean up.

Want to learn more? Arbeiter walks through all the dos and don’ts of digital display tech in the full Meetings Today Podcast interview.

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