Tips for Planning Your Next Show
Trade shows bring in thousands of delegates who walk the event floor and view your products. Some company rep’s are there to strike new partnerships and some are there to simply see what’s new in that particular industry. No matter the case, if you’re an exhibitor or delegate, trade show planning is key for your success at these events.
So your company has decided to become an exhibitor at the next main event trade show. Good for you! Being an exhibitor for the first time can be a tad overwhelming for sure. With forms to fill out, shipping decisions to make, and other service costs to incur – it can get a bit unbearable. Luckily for you, reading this article will put you ahead of the game, and you’ll be arriving to your next show knowing what to do.
After registration and a booth has been assigned to your company, an event organizer will usually send you a link to an Exhibitor Kit where an Exhibitor Checklist can be viewed and other services can be purchased for the show. It’s important to note what services you really need, and not the ones that just seem ‘cool’. Services at trade shows can get mighty pricey and unless you have an audience who enjoys lounging around, that 3 seater sofa you’re thinking of renting is probably not the best decision for your company’s bottom line. The important word here is “practical”. Be practical in your decision making and try to be as efficient as possible. Sometimes shows can run 3 days, which means you’ll be renting furniture, equipment, and/or services at a daily rate. For example, a lead retrieval system alone will run your booth over $300 plus taxes. Thats expensive! However, most company decision makers will want to invest in this technology since the reason they attend trade shows is to gather as many leads as they can. So be practical!
Flooring is also an expense that you’ll want to invest in. Flooring can very well run you hundreds or if not, thousands of dollars to rent for the entire show. If your booth requires carpet, then make sure you purchase under padding along with it. Many times, carpet will be placed with no support underneath and this could cause your staff to be uncomfortable. Standing in a trade show booth all day can be tiresome so make sure your staff is happy and content during their time at the event.
After purchasing the services and furniture you require for your booth, the next item on your checklist will most likely be shipping. Depending on the situation of how your display is stored and where it is kept, you may need to create some shipping labels. If your booth is required to be shipped to an advanced warehouse, then follow the shipping instructions for the venue that the event is taking place. It is important to abide by all rules when shipping your items, as there are hundreds of other companies doing the same thing. The last thing you want is to arrive at your show and find out that some items are there and some items are not. Always make sure labels are clear and concise, and are properly placed in plain sight for the drivers delivering it.
Now that you’ve got your booth placed at your designated booth# it’s time to set up and assemble. Some company’s will hire others to do this, while other company’s take this on themselves. Whatever the case may be, make sure your booth is being constructed properly, safely, and that it meets the show guidelines. These issues can arise if you’ve purchased a corner unit or someone has already set up their booth beside yours but has incorrectly used a quarter of your floor space. Things can happen! So make sure you’ve planned enough time for set backs like this. It is important to note, most venues will provide you with a floor plan. These floor plans will illustrate where the entrances and exits are, as well as beverage stations and/or stages (if any). By looking at these plans, you can imagine what direction traffic will flow once the show gets started – so make sure the direction of where you want to be placed is in clear view of your audience and they have easy access to drop by for a visit.
Now that you’ve got all of the above figured out, and your marketing communications have been sent out notifying your customers and others of your booth# for this event, its time to head to the show and greet the audience you’ve invited! As an exhibitor there can be some perks the venue has organized for you. Free lunch, free speaking engagements, etc. Try to attend as much as you possibly can. Networking and meeting new people at trade shows can be very rewarding for your company.
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