Mar Jennings, a lifestyle expert, television personality, and interior designer, has come to BEA to promote Life on Mar’s: Creating Casual Luxury from Room to Room (S&J Multimedia, Sept.), the latest in his Life on Mar’s series, but he’d also like to give BEA exhibitors some “sMARt tips” regarding booth design. “You have to get people out of the traffic zone and draw them in,” he says.
While in Life on Mar’s, Jennings emphasizes six principles in solving design dilemmas, he thinks that five principles will work at BEA: make the booth interesting to look at; make it an inviting space that “has something” to entice and draw in passersby; provide a seating area for conversation; spring for great lighting; and make it technology-driven, preferably paperless—although he concedes that it’s okay to include books, since this is a booksellers convention. “For instance, marketing materials can be shown and then simply e-mailed to customers,” he argues. “You want to engage prospective buyers. Once you’ve engaged prospective buyers, you’re 50% there.”
But a successful show is not just about the booth’s physical trappings, Jennings points out: “It all starts with attitude and a smile.” Exhibitors are performers who should “overdress, not underdress” and should welcome visitors throughout the day into their booths with as much professionalism, enthusiasm, and energy at 5 p.m. as they displayed at 9 a.m. “Put your people on rotations to make sure you are playing your A-game from start to finish,” he emphasizes. “The trade show is not the time or place to put your junior people, to train them. It’s not a dress rehearsal.”
Jennings will appear daily at the S&J Multimedia/Midpoint Trade booths (1426–1427) to meet and greet visitors, sign autographs for fans, and answer any of your questions about design dilemmas. “No matter what style you have, my six principles will guarantee success in your space, large or small,” he says. “Casual luxury is attainable to anyone.”