In these times, many exhibitors are questioning whether trade shows provide a sufficient ROI. They see the aisles less crowded; and based on that, decide to drop the show. Here are some thoughts on insuring that your show does not meet that fate:
Proactively offer to partner with them toward a mutual goal which is to generate a ton of qualified leads specifically for them. Then deliver on your end of the bargain.
Focus on geting real buyers to your show. Forget the "any warm body" strategy (such as bringing in busloads of students) and be sure the exhibitors realize this.
Identify/match registrants to appropriate exhibitors. To illustrate, ask each registrant what products/services they want to see; then match them to the exhibitor's profiles and send an email to both the registrant and the exhibitor. Tell the registrant who (including booth number) meets their needs and confirm the registrant's name to the exhibitor.
Share with exhibitors the details of your promotion plan. This will demonstrate how serious you are about spending their dollars to attract qualified attendees. They might also be motivated to do more to help you generate attendance.
Ditto re your plan to get all attendees to spend significant time on the exhibit floor. And encourage exhibitors to do things themselves to help (like holding drawings for free products).
Do everything you can to minimize the cost of exhibiting, such as negotiating a special discounted drayage rate, scheduling straight time move-in/move-out, etc.