April 13, 2017: Take care of exhibitors
The company made an investment, not a gift. Make sure it receives a return on that investment.
Ensure that your members and supporters visit those booths and tables.
Don't ask them to visit. Don't please with them to visit.
Compel them to visit.
Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Place registration at the far end of the exhibit hall, so people will have to walk past the booths and tables to sign up for your event and to pick up their materials;
2. Conduct a game that requires attendees to visit various booths and tables (but don't charge exhibitors extra for that). Award a prize to winners;
3. Offer free lunch, dessert, or coffee in the room where booths and tables are located;
4. Schedule a time with no educational sessions, workshops, or other activities so attendees will have no other place to go besides the exhibit hall;
5. Place booths and tables in a room or hallway where attendees will have to walk. Don't banish exhibitors to the far reaches of a building where nobody will bother to visit them.
If you don't care about the exhibitors, then don't ask them for money. They are paying for access to your audience, so ensure they gain that access.