Not every exhibition layout is presented as well as it could be, but I have also seen some excellent layouts which miss out on something else - entertainment. In particular these are layouts run to timetables, but unfortunately because the railway timetable says one train per hour, then that is all that is seen on the layout. Possibly a bit of an exageration, but not far off.
The difficulty I often have is finding the balance between entertaining the visitors and keeping myself entertained. Quite often setting a challenge, such as a shunting puzzle will work, but make it too simple and I get bored. I then try and get clever, and it doesn't always pay off.
The club/group I am a member of, are custodians of an old OO layout originally built over 25 years ago. Unfortunate time is catching up, as most of thr track is handbuilt, The layout is a 4 track mainline based on Marsden in West Yorks, and because of its size has a lot of wow factor. It is also helped being 4 track, so there is always something moving. We don't have enough members to take it out and exhibit, which is a pity because it has been extremely well received.
By comparison, a 2 track mainline layout does not have enough happening, especially at exhibitions, unless those operating are prepared to work extremely hard, swiching trains.
I don't think people are building as many big layouts as they used to do, and therefore for me layouts which are different and quirky are preferable.
One of the layouts that has influence me was Dave Rowe's original 'Under Milkwood'. I saw it at Central Halls, London, and it was in a dark corridor( I think near where steps came in), and possibly missed by many. Not me, I still have the image of that layout in that part of the hall, impressed on my memory.
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges. http://www.rue-d-etropal.com