Linette’s views on ‘What not to do’ when exhibiting at a Hifi Show.

A Hifi Show really should stimulate all of the senses. It is not enough to plonk your gear in a room and leave it at that. Over the last few years exhibitors have realised that we want to be visually wowed by a beautifully coordinated room as well as have our ears delighted by the sounds, but don’t forget that other senses come into play as well, and these can make or break a room.

I’ve visited a lot of rooms at a lot of Hifi Shows in the last few years so here is a list of some of the pitfalls that exhibitors should avoid doing. It’s a subject I have written about before, however people are still doing some of the things on my list…and have added some new ones too.

The Scented Candle

Now, you may think that stimulating the nose will delight all-comers to your room. Actually, that is not the case. Candles can give a nice, cosy lighting, scented candles are just too much. I’m sensitive to them as I am cursed with allergies, so rather than listening to how good your wonderful system sounds, I’m stifling a sneeze and trying to manage to breathe. Basically a room with lots of people in it, plus strongly scented candles (or those air freshener sticks) makes your room seem like that bit at IKEA that I always speed through whilst holding my breath. It may seem like everyone has hopped on the latest trend of using them but please, just don’t…it’s overkill and it distracts from the real reason why we are there.

Avantgarde Acoustic are one of the brands that do Hifi Shows right.

‘Oh my goodness, what died in there?’

This is the kind of situation that even the forceful bouquet of the scented candle cannot save you from. How can I put this delicately, errrm, I can’t. Basically do not, no matter how desperate the situation, take a dump in the bathroom of the hotel room you are exhibiting in. If the situation is so desperate as to be unavoidable, then lock the room and relieve yourself, then get those windows open and some air circulating before you even think of letting people back in. Do not, under any circumstances, go to the loo, fling the door open to let people in straight away and, for good measure leave the bathroom door open. All we will want to do is escape from the reeking fug that has enveloped your room…not listen to what’s going on in there.

While we are on the subject, don’t eat in your room. Nobody wants to walk in on you munching away on a stinky garlic-laden pizza. Likewise if you are a smoker, make sure that you are not reeking of fags when you come back into the room…and don’t try smoking in the bathroom or out of the window, you will get caught.

Welcome to the jungle

Who doesn’t like plants and flowers? They make the room look nice, soften the edges etc. However remember this is a Hifi Show, not a florists or a garden centre. If you have so much shrubbery that people can’t get into the room or can’t see what is going on in there then you have gone too far. There is a very well known and well respected brand that at nearly every show has so many potted plants, in a very dark room that it is nigh on impossible to make out what is happening and see the gear.

Lights, camera, action!

Bear in mind that plenty of people will be taking photographs in your room. If you make it easy for them to get good snaps then your gear will get shared around on social media and you will get plenty of coverage in the Hifi media. That doesn’t mean that it has to be too brightly lit and non-atmospheric, but a really dark room will not result in great pictures. Some well placed spot lights help and I’ve seen some really cool rooms recently that use coloured LED lighting to great effect. Also think about what the type of lighting will do to the room temperature, don’t cook your visitors with big, hot spotlights….they won’t thank you for it!

Repeat after me, ‘mattresses are not room treatment’

OK, we all know that we are in a hotel room, but there are a few things you can do to make it seem less like one. Firstly, no matter how short of space you are put your personal effects away. If you have a suite and are using the bedroom to sleep in make sure that the door is shut. We don’t want to be confronted with your unmade bed, dirty clothes or rubbish, it just does not look professional. If you are responsible for emptying the room make sure you take the mattresses out too. You are not going to save a trip and get away with keeping them in the room as ‘Room Treatment’. They don’t look like room treatment, they look like you couldn’t be bothered to move your mattresses.

Take a seat

More and more often now, exhibitors at shows are putting a lot of work into coordinating their whole look. This is great, it looks fantastic and reinforces your brand with visitors. Chances are that you may be bringing your own seating and that’s where another pitfall can happen. It doesn’t have to be the most comfortable seating in the world as most people will be in your room for the length of a few tunes, however it does need to be practical, those beanbags may look really cool and be comfy but your guests won’t appreciate falling ‘arse-over-tit’ as they struggle to extract themselves from them when they leave!

Locked out

Here’s the thing, if you lock the door to your room at a Hifi show then nobody is going to be able to get in…it is pretty simple. We want to come in and hear and see what is going on in there. If your door is locked for a reason, like a timed dem that you don’t want interrupting, then put a sign on the door to tell us that, or a helpful person. However make sure you tell your helpful door guardian a couple of things. Make sure they explain to people politely when the next time slot is and, if those people tell the guardian that they are press, the guardian lets them in. Press people are usually trying to cover the whole show for their readers, they are probably covering the show in a methodical fashion and if they don’t get into your room as they pass it, they are unlikely to have the time to come back…so no coverage for you.

It’s oh so quiet

I can’t actually believe I am still making this comment but please, please, please get some music on! Your room may look fabulous with your beautiful high end kit but we want to have a listen. If you want to talk to us about it then keep lectures to a minimum, you can always explain more to people outside afterwards. Don’t think that your room at a Hifi show is the appropriate place to have a loud phone conversation with someone, or a loud conversation with someone actually in the room…it is really annoying, people want to listen to the music not you. While we are on the subject of music, make sure you have a variety. Just because you love Dianna Krall it doesn’t mean that everyone else does, play something a little out of the ordinary. Some crazy Russian folk music may seem a bit of an odd choice but if it sounds great than go for it…you will stand out from the crowd and your room will be memorable.

Everybody needs good neighbours

It is very tempting to pump up the volume, but don’t be ‘that’ person. We have all been into rooms at shows to find that all we can hear is the humongous bass thundering in from next door. Usually the culprit is an AV exhibitor with ‘The Biggest Subs In The World’. Check your volume levels, speak to your neighbouring exhibitors during set up. If they are all glaring at you whenever you leave your room then the chances are it is too loud, so don’t be selfish, they will have paid as much as you for the privilege of exhibiting.

So there it is, pretty much common sense when you think about it, but possibly a good idea to check that you don’t do any of these things when you are exhibiting at your next Hifi Show!

Linette Smith




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