When the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) attends education conferences to disseminate best practices and resources, in addition to breakout session presentations, there is almost always an exhibit hall booth element. That is, the conference provides a skirted table and a couple of folding chairs around which the CTC can arrange stacks of handouts and business cards, set up some colorful pop-up banners, and maybe run an informational factoid slide show on a laptop. It’s the same sort of exhibit hall display that every other table is offering, so there’s always a question of how to stand out in the crowd and draw attention.
A couple of years ago the National CTC staff started offering free personalized luggage tags at the booth. Using a compact laminating machine, staffers take an attendee’s business card and pair it with a colorful business card-sized sheet promoting either the National CTC’s website or the National CTC’s Working Connections faculty training program. After a couple of runs through the laminator the attendee has a luggage tag. It’s branded with CTC information on one side (in a bright color to make it particularly useful at baggage claim) and his/her business card on the other. Luggage tag pouches and cords are easy to get at any office supply store and all of it – laminator, pouches/cords, insert sheets – can easily fit into a plastic shoe box for transport.
The laminator is often a big hit at the booth and serves four purposes:
- Gives the attendee something tangible and enduring containing CTC information to take home.
- Creates an opportunity for the attendee to bring over colleagues and peers to get a tag of their own, thereby increasing traffic to the booth.
- Allows the capture of the attendee’s information. For times when there is no easy way to gather contact information from people visiting the booth, taking a quick smartphone photo of the finished laminated business card can be a good solution.
- Provides a reason to spend some time talking with the attendee while waiting for the lamination process. This may be the best reason for the service. Since attendees often want to keep discussions quick and short, the laminator makes them stand there and talk.