UK Games Expo 2021
As a first time exhibitor at the UK Games Expo this year, we thought we would share some of our show and also give an insight for other first time exhibitors as to what to expect. We hope you find it useful!
UK Games Expo First Time Exhibitor Guide
Booking & Prices
We booked relatively late for the Expo in May '21, as the business had only been started the month before. In a normal year, it might have been much more difficult to secure a stand, but with Covid restrictions, there was luckily plenty of space available. The process was relatively straight forward and once registered, you get access to the Exhibitor Portal where most of the things you need to access or refer to exist for the show.
UKGE have a first time exhibitor rate, which is quite a saving on the standard price, so it's a great way to engage with the tabletop community when at an early stage with limited resources. We originally booked 2x2m, which seemed logical considering we were early stage, but it soon became apparent that if you want any significant presence and gameplay/testing area, a 2x3 is the minimum you would want. Initially, we were placed towards the back of Hall 2, but luckily were moved closer to the front once we upgraded to a bigger stand. It's worth noting that whilst footfall was fairly even around the whole Hall, closer to the main doors did seem to be a little busier. We modelled our layout in Sketchup, a free 3D modelling programme, before deciding on layout. Remember you won't have walls, so a cheap way to create these is using stands. We had one 1.5m wide and two 1m wide pull ups, which worked well.
Our first consideration was who was going and I was lucky to have my friend Jay to help out for the four days - what a star! If you are on your own however, remember you will be moving all the gear yourself! Get a cheap trolley - we used a general purpose one from Halfords that could carry 80kg. Without it we would have been making a lot of trips! However, if you can afford it, booking a table and chairs is fairly inexpensive through the show.
In the trolley we were able to carry a second fold out table, the three stands we had made, as well as stock, food and drink and stickers, business cards, competition paraphernalia etc.
Take plenty to drink and lots of snacks - the busiest time is around late morning into the afternoon, so lunch can be tricky to fit in!
Always book some chairs - it's a long time to be stood up!
Our approach was to try and get in front of as many people as we could, so things to consider are:
Having an actual game to launch at the show will get you onto the new games section of the website. This brought us a number of sales, as our memorable name 'Attack of the Intergalactic Gherkins' stuck in people's heads.
If you can enter the Awards, this is worth it for the PR and is something to sell your game on in future.
Identify whether you are looking to build your social following, gather emails for direct contact or sell stock. We did a little of all of these and whilst it worked to an extent, it does spread the engagement. In hindsight, we would have stuck with sales and pushing social media.
Make sure any giveaways are linked to your product - free dice for D&D accessories was a winner on the stand next to us. We had stickers but these didn't cut the mustard. If you can get a show specific limited edition accessory/card to give away or add to your product, this works well.
Remember to take lots of videos and photos and regularly update social media. Pre-planning and writing some content, hashtags etc. will help you a lot when it's busy.
Make friends with your fellow exhibitors - the games community are always helping each other out, you'll get back what you give and this is invaluable. Work together and get to know your nearby stand holders before you attend.
Engage with people as friends not customers - share a joke and be a human, nobody wants a hard sell!
Make sure you follow up and ride the wave of post-expo interest.
But most of all have fun and don't put too much pressure on yourself!