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Trade Show Planning Tips

Trade shows are a great way to get your brand and products in front of a large audience. However, with so many moving parts, planning for a trade show can quickly become overwhelming. In this post, we’ll provide some helpful tips for getting organized and preparing for your next trade show. We’ll cover everything from booth design and furniture selection, to staffing your stand and preparing the required paperwork. These tips will help you make the most of your trade show experience and ensure a successful event.

Create a Trade Show Plan

Budgeting is a critical aspect of preparing for a trade show. Be sure to allot sufficient funds to cover expenses like booth space, the exhibit structure rental or purchase, flooring, AV equipment, material handling, shipping, and staff travel costs.

Get started on your marketing plan and messaging early in the planning process. Determine your metrics for gauging success and create a list of goals you want to achieve during the event, such as, meeting new prospects, networking with clients and partners, and learning more about your competition. This will help you focus on what’s important and keep everything moving along smoothly.

Once you’ve finalized your budget and strategy, it’s time to begin exhibit structure selection and design.

Download our trade show budget spreadsheet here.

Download our trade show checklist here.

Select the Right Trade Show Exhibit and Furniture

Choosing the right trade show exhibit and accessories is essential. With the right pieces, you can create an exhibit that is both attractive and functional. Trade show exhibits and displays can range from simple popup displays to elaborate custom exhibits with upgraded millwork, backlighting, and storage rooms.

For smaller trade shows, you will need basic display pieces like a graphic back wall and a table and chairs for in-booth meetings. Add a handful of fun promo items and an in-booth promotion or game to attract attention.

For larger events, exhibitors typically prefer a more customized exhibit setup, including dedicated product demo areas, kiosks, and TV displays to accommodate multiple simultaneous walkup customers.

When it comes to choosing trade show furniture, there are a few key factors to consider. First, consider your in-booth activities and presentation style. Are you looking to engage passersby with promotions and games, or are you sitting down with customers for pre-scheduled meetings? The answer to this question will help you design your space according to your planned activities, providing the necessary seating, presentation, and open areas.

Once you have created a wishlist of booth features and functionality, reach out to an exhibit expert at Artisan, and we’ll design exhibit ideas and make recommendations for accessories that align with your brand and event strategy.

Prep Your Paperwork

The show decorator provides access to an exhibitor service kit that contains details, deadlines, and various order forms. Be sure to note the advanced order deadline to secure the lowest prices available. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s optional and what’s mandatory:

Mandatory Orders

Flooring – Unless the exhibit hall is carpeted (likely in the case of hotel ballrooms, unlikely in convention centers), you will be required to order flooring.

Electricity – You’ll need to order at least one outlet to power your lights and presentation monitor. Bring a power strip with you to plug in extra devices.

Electrical Labor – If you order more than one outlet, you’ll need to order electrical labor so that an electrician can run power lines under the flooring from the main outlet.

Material Handling – The decorator charges material handling for all items sent into the show based upon the shipment weight. You do not have to order material handling; the decorator will automatically charge this to the payment card on file.

Optional Orders

Carpet Padding – While carpet padding is optional, we recommend it, and your exhibit staff will appreciate it on long days standing in the booth.

Cleaning – Most shows offer complimentary vacuuming on the first day of the show. You can add vacuuming for additional days for a small fee.

Furniture – Most kits offer a selection of tables, chairs, lounge furniture, and display cases. In some cases, ordering bulky furniture through the exhibitor service kit can prove more cost-effective than paying for shipping and material handling.

Lead Capture Devices – It’s helpful to have a couple badge scanners on hand for your frontline greeters to efficiently capture leads.

Are you working with Artisan Exhibits? Rest easy. We’ve got this. We’re all over the details, and we’ll prepare your show orders for you.

Assemble Your Team

Staff your booth based on the roles you’ll require during the event to ensure that you are prepared for C-level and technical presentations, as well as networking events held during the show. If you’re planning on bringing a large group, schedule the staff in shifts providing ample technical and sales coverage without unnecessary crowding in the booth.

Lastly, invest in a quality partner with experience designing and managing trade shows in your industry. That’s where our team comes in. The Artisan team has decades of experience organizing successful trade shows. We make exhibiting simple with full-service exhibit rental services that include design, graphic production, logistics, and installation and dismantle services. We’re 100% committed to doing it right; we sweat the small stuff and work tirelessly to deliver an exceptional experience.

Trade Show Presentations & Tech

Create a looping presentation or video for aisle-facing screens and longer, more detailed presentations customized by audience (e.g., executives, technical staff, etc.) for in-booth meetings. Distill your message into simple, bite-sized slides using imagery and easy-to-read bullet points so attendees can quickly grasp your key messages.

Make a list of equipment needed to run each presentation or demo and the related adapters, HDMI cables and other accessories required so you won’t have any onsite surprises.

It’s Showtime!

Trade shows pack a big marketing punch, enabling companies to build awareness, reach new prospects, and meet with current customers and partners, all in one place. With thoughtful planning and budgeting, a little creativity, and an experienced partner in your corner, you can create an engaging space and an extraordinary experience for your customers and prospects.

We Make Trade Shows Easy

Are you looking for ideas for your next event? Artisan Exhibits offers best-in-class products, expert guidance, comprehensive services, and a convenient, single source for all your trade show needs. With Artisan Exhibits as your partner, you’ll have access to everything you need to make your next event a success.

Let’s get started.

Cara Mormino

Cara Mormino

Event Management and Co-Founder

Cara Mormino is a seasoned advertising and marketing professional specializing in trade shows. As the Head of Sales, Marketing & Client Service at Artisan Exhibits, she takes pride in providing innovative ideas and top-notch service to help exhibitors across the globe plan, organize, and execute extraordinary events.