A Dearth of Association Exhibit Hall Plugins for WordPress

At this point we do not see a preferable WordPress plugin option for associations that want to sell exhibition space at their event(s) in an interactive way, utilizing a map that allows the buyer to click on a space, get the space’s details, and then register and pay for the exhibition space and reserve it in real-time.

In general, what I see is a map with a code for each space and details for those spaces, and then a payment gateway where an exhibitor can refer to top choices of space when registering and paying. It is quicker than the old way of paper registration, but not real-time and doesn’t really address the issue of multiple exhibitors wanting the same prime space at the same time.

Or, you can use a subscription service that is not specifically WordPress, will create a secondary path for event registrations and will require an eventual link offsite. You can subdomain the link depending on the vendor, but it will not be on your website.

So far, the best option I have found is $1325 to allow for real time online sales with a map of the exhibit hall. That is for one event, not an annual subscription. And there can be add-on costs – mobile version options, expanded calendar options. There has to be high demand for locations in the exhibit hall to make this valuable. National and international associations can have that demand, but less so on the state association level, which is probably why we haven’t seen much headway in the last few years – new software development needs volume of opportunity for options to expand.

Admittedly, if such a plugin were to exist, it would have some heavy lifting to do. Exhibit halls and display areas come in a wide variety of setups, and the visual orientation of the map is key – knowing what areas are available still, what assets they have available to them for purposes of exhibiting, cost, etc. That mapping functionality explains the costing.

We have a couple of smaller association clients that are interested in such a software but don’t have the budget – or the overwhelming need – to pay the price the marketplace asks for today. We’ll keep looking for them.