7 Tactics to Drive Traffic to Your Tradeshow Booth: The Best Advice From Industry Leaders

It can be tempting to get googly eyed over the number of attendees a trade show organizer boasts, but if none of them are coming to your booth, you might as well have set up shop at the county fair in Muleshoe, Texas.

Whether you’re out for leads, sales, or simply brand awareness, a nice sign or even a booth babe (this is a real thing) are no longer enough to attract your ideal customer. Your tradeshow booth marketing needs to start long before the show opens, as part of your larger marketing machine in order to get the most bang for your tradeshow buck.

We’ve consulted industry experts and come up with the top 7 ways to ensure the highest ROI possible at your events this fall.

Set your goals before the show.

Susan Friedman, a trade show marketing expert and industry consultant who goes by “The Tradeshow Coach,” said that before you spend a dime on marketing, you need to ask yourself why you’re going to the show and what you want to get out of it. Do you want leads? Are you trying to close sales? Building brand awareness? These will inform many of the decisions you need to make around marketing material, giveaways, booth design, etc.

Choose your booth staff wisely.

Quality booth staff is key. People are, first and foremost, interested and attracted to other people, and if your staff looks like they’d rather be somewhere else, so will your customers. Friedman said to staff your booth with people who are knowledgeable about your product or service, engaging, and interested. Remember, the most interesting people are always interested.

Find your audience online.

Most tradeshows have a featured #hashtag you can utilize to let attendees know who you are, where you’re at, and what great things they can find at your booth. Colleen Canty, trade show coordinator for Bulb, saw a huge increase in booth traffic when they decided to stay active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram while exhibiting. This is also a great way to engage your current followers and fans who may be attending the show.

It pays to be specific.

The experts agree, when you try to attract everyone, you attract no one. By now, you know your customer, their habits, likes and dislikes. Build your booth and marketing strategy around your ideal customer. The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group recommends building your exhibit and all your collateral materials around the niche you’ve identified to be the most important at each particular trade show (this may be different depending on what show you’re attending). Whether you want your booth to be loud and exciting with lighted displays and brilliant colors or peaceful and calming with comfy seating and an organic ambiance completely depends on what your ideal customer wants. Build it for them.

Don’t be afraid of technology.

In an analysis of the latest tradeshow trends, Competitive Edge—an exhibitor education, training and consulting firm—found that the biggest players are using interactive technologies like tablets, touchscreens and digital signing to provide more personalized in-booth experiences. For example, last year we built a display for Bulb that featured framed screens where the exhibitors could showcase their digital product live.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Lighting is everything.
Typically, tradeshow hall lighting is a lot like movie-theater bathroom lighting: everyone and everything looks bad. Luckily, there are ways to fix that. Sean Roberts, a global strategist in the event and tradeshow industry (and good friend of ours) says that in order to create an inviting booth, consider what you’d like to illuminate, and find the right kind of lighting to do the job. Lighted display cases can add accent or drama to your product, and lamps or floor lighting can create an inviting effect.

Walk the floor before you set up shop.
Most trade show and event organizers give you some say in your booth location. There are competing wisdoms out there, as some would recommend vying for a spot by a big vendor likely to draw a crowd, while others swear by a booth near the food court or facilities. Roberts suggests attending the show the year before to scope out the event set up, and take notes on where people are migrating to, what doors they’re entering, and what locations are drawing the most attention. According to Roberts, in large spaces like trade show halls or malls, people typically start by moving right, or towards something big and bold up front.

The experts all agree: Except in the rarest of cases, booth traffic doesn’t happen by accident. As you prepare for your fall trade shows and events, consider which of these booth traffic-boosters will bring up your ROI and help you meet your marketing and sales goals for the year and beyond.

Need help designing or building your tradeshow booth or display? Contact us for a free consultation.

Top six design secrets for small living spaces

Small spaces pose a unique set of challenges when it comes to interior design and decoration, especially for those with collections of art, furniture and heirlooms they want to incorporate into their home.

With home sizes trending smaller, it’s becoming more important for every interior designer, decorator, home staging company and new homeowner to learn how to dream big in smaller living areas.

We spoke with Trinity Wilbourn of Trove Collectivea Fort Collins-based home staging and design company awarded Best of Houzz 2016 and 2017—to find out how they work their magic in spaces without much wiggle room. The following are some of Trinity’s best tips and tricks for transforming your small space.

Start with the lighting. Bring in as much light as possible and find ways to bounce it around the room. White treatments hung 4-6 inches above and extended 10-12 inches beyond the width of the actual window will create the illusion that the window is larger and make the space feel more expansive. Hang a mirror across from your window to help reflect and emphasize the natural lighting, and have two to three lamps set up on side tables—like our modern cube tablesor accent pedestals to further dispel the shadows.

Get creative with shapes and textures. Incorporating different textures and materials—like acrylic, wood, metal, etc.—into your design can help differentiate various objects and surfaces, transform light, and add complexity to a space. For example, if you have a lot of rectangular shapes in your space, consider a cylinder pedestal to break up the hard angles.

Utilize the Rule of Three. Bring three objects of varying shapes, heights and colors into a grouping. The brain loves odd numbers and unusual pairings and tries to resolve it, keeping you engaged with the space. Try putting three objects of various heights together—like a book, a bowl and a vase of flowers—on a white display pedestal. These can easily be rotated out with changes in the season or personal taste.

Christa Tippmann Photography

“Put a plant on it.” Plants offer a shape and texture that you simply don’t get with any other object, and they bring life to a room. They’re proven to be a powerful presence in any home and look stunning displayed on a wood or white plant stand pedestal.

Be consistent with color. Choose a palette or a few main accent colors coupled with neutrals and repeat throughout the room. Trove Collective currently stages using a cooler palette of greys and blues.

Add height-differentiation to your furniture. This adds depth and interest to the room. A pedestal or display stand can help break up sofa/coffee table lines, divide the room or fill an awkward-sized empty space.

Have a small space solution we missed? Let us know and we’ll share them with our followers!

Xylem + Corso Agency: Building Heineken’s Custom Bar

The people lucky enough to attend the BottleRock music festival two weeks past were able to enjoy an ice-cold Heineken from a custom-built bar surround that looks so naturally Napa, they’d never guess it was built in Fort Collins, Colorado the week before.

We fell into this project by way of Corso Agency, a lifestyle and cultural marketing agency whose work you may have seen at Coachella, The Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the US Open, among others. They work with some of the world’s largest brands to create unforgettable experiences.

We love working with Corso, so when they came to us needing six bar surrounds in two weeks for their customer Heineken, we said “Absolutely” and got to work.

Corso sent us a rendering which we used to build a 3D model. The model was approved within hours and the project hit the floor. We used polyurethane paint to get that perfect Heineken green. Just seeing it makes you thirsty. It’s collapsible for easy shipping and storage, made to withstand the outdoor fun, and can be set up in no time.

The taller back pieces you see in the rendering are used to hide the pallets of beer and water for restocking the coolers and keeping the thirsty masses going.

This ultra-portable, uber-flexible solution will allow Corso to extend Heineken’s branding throughout the U.S. this festival season. And we’re excited to premier another design soon for Corso, making appearances around the NYC area this Summer. Stay tuned!

Working on a custom project for an event, festival or trade show? Let’s talk. 

Other Corso Projects by Xylem


UGG x Xylem

Most days, we get calls from dozens of people needing a single pedestal.

A few weeks ago, we got a call from one person who needed hundreds.

We’ve had the pleasure and joy of working with Ugg (you know, the footwear company famous for these boots) on retail displays over the last few years, but this order of theirs was a little different.

They needed 360 clear acrylic pedestals and risers for their big spring sales event—the launch of their upcoming seasonal line—to which they invite all of their distributors, customers and friends.

Acrylic pedestals—made out of the same material as plexiglass—are one of our top sellers. Elegant, modern, and a lot more durable than they look, our acrylic pedestals are fully customizable, available in several colors with various lighting options. The clear option Ugg ordered has an airy, open look that gives your product or art piece a feel of floating.

On the production side, making 360 pedestals is almost the same as making a single unit, though with an order this size the name of the game is: Logistics. As a lean manufacturing company, we make everything to order, so the first step was confirming we could source the materials in time to meet a tight timeline. With so many customers in the trade show or event space, we don’t mess around when it comes to deadlines—we meet them, or we go extinct… so we always meet them.

One of our disciplines to keep on track is The Pre-mortem: a group huddle to anticipate potential issues with a project before we start cutting and to establish daily production benchmarks, ensuring there are no surprises. We also work on a one-piece flow, building one piece from start to finish instead of working in large batches. If there’s a defect somewhere along the line, we catch it on the first pedestal, stop production, and fix the problem in real time on Pedestal No. 1 rather than on No. 360.

We had four guys on this project for 10 days and we’re happy to say we got every last one shipped out with time to spare. And as our mentor Toyota says, “Quality, or nothing at all.”

Have a custom job for your retail space, event or trade show? Let’s talk!

Contact us to discuss your next project.

Order your own acrylic pedestal 

Our acrylic pedestals (like the ones that Ugg ordered) are elegant, modern and fully customizable. Order yours today. 

Getting It Done For Get It Right: A Tradeshow Romance

Samantha Rose, founder/CEO of Get It Right, wanted a Home and Housewares tradeshow display that reflected their brand: intelligently designed, aesthetically appealing, functionally perfect.

As a product designer, Samantha knows a thing or two about sourcing and knew she was looking for the original source for pedestals—not a third or fourth party reselling from China. Her search brought her to Xylem (thanks Google!), and we were able to build GIR the custom pedestals needed to show off their gorgeous kitchenwares. And if you don’t think the word gorgeous can apply to kitchenwares, you haven’t seen these.

She was so pleased with the results that she got back in touch with Xylem for their 2017 tradeshow booth. Samantha and team initially planned to order a few custom light boxes, but after talking quotes and turnaround time with Seth, they handed us the entire wall and counter-build as well.

“They did a wonderful job of taking our vision and actually improving on it,” she said. “Everything they did was super tight, easy to assemble and dissemble, came fully labeled and with an instructional video. We really wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

Samantha was especially thrilled to discover our intentional approach to I&D and logistics made the booth reusable for years to come—saving GIR future time and resources.

It was a joy to work with GIR, a company that shares our desire to fix what bugs them, continuously improve and value people above all else. Bonus: they make the best damn spatula on the planet.

Contact us to discuss your next project.

What we do: A walk through our wheelhouse


Xylem Design (the parent company of Pedestal Source) does two things, and having worked hard at them for 30 years, we can confidently say we do those two things very well.

We design and we build.

Specializing in displays and custom components for branded environments—including exhibits, events and retail spaces—we take your ideas and make them into real things. Really good looking things.


Our in-house design team can take your concept or vision, vague as it may be, and translate it into a branded environment, retail fixture, piece of furniture or display.

Some of our customers will call us with a solid idea of what they’re looking for, including sketches and dimensions. Others know they have a product to show off and a deadline and that’s about it. We work with both types of customers and everyone in between.

As exhibit and display builders, we’re very visual. We invite our customers into the process using our Gemba Cam—a live video feed into our workspace—where together we review the material, size, shape and lighting until we land on a design that we both understand and love.

Value engineering is one of our specialties—which is to say, we know how to design around your budget to meet your needs, so you’ll never be surprised by the bottom line.


If you visit our shop—which we hope you do (for real)—you might notice we don’t have any storage. That’s because we have nothing to store. All of our products are built to order, meeting the specific needs of our diverse clientele.

We do bulk and one-offs. We work with acrylics, laminates, real wood veneers, and basically anything that begins its life as a 4’x8’ sheet. We can use any skin, any substrate, anything you can dream up (well, almost anything).

We built sixty white pedestals for Maison 10. If you’ve been there, you probably haven’t noticed them—precisely our goal—as they were designed to showcase their wares, not ours. As pedestal and display builders, that’s just part of the deal.

On the other end of the spectrum is the acrylic light box we built for Smart Wool (designed by this rad team of creatives). At 10’ tall, it took one hundred 3” x 3” colored acrylic squares of varying thicknesses to form a giant rendition of their Little Guy logo, complete with beating heart. There was no missing their trade show booth, and that was the point.

We look to Toyota as our sensei when it comes to production: We aim to deliver the highest quality at the lowest cost with the best delivery.

This means we have our systems dialed in, allowing us to turn around projects incredibly quickly— sometimes even same day. Building for events and trade shows, our customers need to trust that when we say we can meet a deadline, we will—come hell or high water. Think that’s an exaggeration? Just ask us about the pallet of custom white pedestals: destroyed in transit when the 18-wheeler caught fire, rebuilt that afternoon, and overnighted in time for the event. It’s a fun story, but we really champion systems over heroes.


Call us old fashioned, but we love face-to-face time. Our customers are all over the map, and it’s our goal to make them feel like we’re just down the street. Being Colorado folk, that’s just how we do. You’re always welcome to visit but even if you can’t, we’ll hop on the Gemba Cam, send you a video of your project in process, and let you know via Facetime/Skype/your-technology-of-choice exactly what you’re getting before it ships. Everything is built-to-order, so we make sure we get it right the first time, every time.

Diehard believers in continuous improvement, both individually and as a company, you’ll find we never get comfortable with where we’re at. Every time we enter into the design + build process, expect it to be better than the last. As our skills and processes continually improve, so does your experience.

Contact us to start your next project. We can’t wait. 

Meet the Xylem team series: Hi Brandon!

Brandon has been working as Xylem Design’s web developer and system administrator since 2013. You are probably asking yourself “WOW, so is he is a genius?” And, yes, he is.

Brandon is the man with the plan when the office internet goes down, your email script is just too tiny, or the spinning wheel of doom shows up to haunt you right as you were about to confirm a customer order.

Brandon has made Lean as much a digital philosophy as a manufacturing one — he leaned out our extensive library of photos by developing a tagging system for our Flickr (have you checked it out? Please do!) Not to mention leaning out his morning routine by programming an alarm clock to trigger bright lights and sounds to smooth out his entrance into a new day. (Again, he’s a genius).

But just because he’s a genius, doesn’t mean he isn’t just like you and me — he loves chowing down on a burrito and drinking a New Belgium Trippel just as much as the next guy.

Hi Brandon 👋🏻!


Meet the Xylem Team: Hi Amy!

Meet Amy!

Amy is our cut-to-the-chase money whiz and straight-shooter numbers queen. Working as Xylem’s bookkeeper and admin assistant since 2013, Amy has leaned out the office by digitizing three “massive” file cabinets of records, eliminating about 80% of unnecessary documents — not your typical bookkeeper’s office space!

And don’t even try permanently borrowing one of her signature purple pens — each are carefully labeled with a sticker of her face. So she’ll know, and you will, too.

You can talk Amy into teetering down steep mountain cliffs in an off-road monster machine, but good luck talking her into a beer (a Noco native, at that!).

You better believe she loves a good margarita.

Hi Amy 👋🏻!


Meet the Xylem Team: Hi Aaron!



Aaron “Woody” Hocking is a lean, mean cowboy, always prepared with a tape measure or a wise-crack, just in case. Over the past four years of work at Xylem Design, Woody has contributed to some of our biggest custom projects.

Today he is Head of Production/Operations on the floor and his greatest Lean improvement is the Operations Kiosk he dreamed up and built. It’s home base for our factory floor, sort of like a fancy mission controls center.

Woody might be up at 3:30 a.m. tending to his ranch of goats, chickens, horses, ducks and turkeys, but you’ll never see him break a sweat — or drink any of that local, micro-brew stuff.

So grab a Budweiser and try to keep up!

Hi Aaron 👋🏻!

How to clean your pedestal

You’ve received your Pedestal Source product in the mail, unpacked it following our handy dandy instructions and now it’s time to spiff it up! We inspect each product for scuff marks, chips, imperfect edges and more at the final detailing booth before shipment.

But while all of our products leave the workshop in perfect condition, there may come a time when you want to clean it. To help you keep your pedestal in mint, factory condition, we recommend following these cleaning instructions, tips and tricks.

1. Use multi-surface Pledge as a cleaning agent for acrylic, wood veneer, metallic and laminate surfaces. You can also use ammonia-free Windex on acrylic surfaces.  

  • Do NOT use any cleaning chemicals with ammonia, such as Windex (unless it is ammonia-free Windex)

pledge-furniture-care-products-coupon-300x300    asj-086b_1z

2. We recommend using a microfiber rag to administer the chemical and another microfiber rag to follow and dry. Microfiber rags prevent the surface material from being scratched by the more abrasive fibers in most rags.


3. Spray Pledge directly to surface of product OR rag, wipe until desired clean is achieved and follow with the dry rag.

4. Avoid rubbing the edges and corners of your pedestal while cleaning. We color-match the edges and sometimes apply a small amount of wax material at the corners for a seamless finish. Cleaning the edges and corners can rub the finish away, exposing the edge of the laminate or substrate.

4. Repeat as needed.

5. Enjoy :O)