May 16, 2017 — If there’s one thing that’s true of all trade show and exhibition appearances, big or small, it’s that they need plenty of early planning to succeed. A trade show exhibit thrown together at the last minute is far less likely to do well than one which has been well planned months in advance.
And with fall being the prime time for exhibitions and trade events, that makes spring the perfect time to start planning!
Even though it’s still months out from any shows you’re planning to attend, it’s high time to at least start thinking along those lines. The more work you do now, the more smoothly everything will go – and the better your chances of success will be.
5 Ways You Can Start Planning for Your Upcoming Trade Show Appearances
- Lock down your budget
This is one of the big ones. Trade show appearances are not cheap, so you need to be certain you know how much money you have to work with well ahead of time. This will determine everything from how many trade shows you attend, to how extensive your display(s) will be, to how many staff you’ll be able to take on the road.
(Click here for more tips on budgeting for your trade show displays.)
- Assess your display inventory
How much equipment do you have left over from previous trade show appearances, and how much of it is still in re-usable condition? Investing in high-quality storage solutions can help extend the lifespan of your trade show hardware, but it will eventually become too worn-out to use. Also, you don’t want to appear at too many trade shows in a row with the same setup every time – it’ll get stale and visitors (or your competition) will start to notice.
So, think about how much equipment you can reuse, and how much you’ll want to buy fresh for this season’s shows.
- Start reviewing your exhibitors’ manuals
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s critical to fully read and understand your exhibitors’ manuals from the venues hosting upcoming events. Failing to do so will almost always lead to major problems, or potentially even being unable to attend planned events. Further, reading the manuals will give you a lot of valuable information about logistics and equipment which will be needed at the show. For example, many venues have deals with local electricians or shipping companies to exclusively work the event. Knowing this beforehand will help your planning significantly.
Whether you do it personally or give the job to an assistant, someone needs to go through the manual making note of all the critical pieces of information which will affect your planning.
- Start on booth staff training
Another major mistake we often see people make at trade shows is failing to properly prepare their staff or putting unreasonable expectations upon them. A well-staffed booth includes workers who have had plenty of training on how to work the show, how to interact with visitors, and experience standing up for extended periods without getting fatigued.
On the topic, this would also be an appropriate time to evaluate whether it’s appropriate to hire staff specifically for the event. Professional models, presenters, or sales staff would add to the budget, but can often produce superior results on the floor. Now would be the time to start contacting staffing agencies and setting that up.
- Consider travel and other logistics
While there are always exceptions, broadly speaking you’re usually going to get better deals on travel, hotels, shipping, and other logistical matters if you start looking to set them up well ahead of time. When it’s six months away from the show, you have plenty of leverage for bargaining without the pressures of a time crunch or over-booked accommodations. You also have the leisure to contact plenty of different contractors\vendors hunting for the best deals, again, without much time pressure.
The further ahead you can get these elements locked down, the more money you’re likely to save.
Turn to Best Displays for Your All-In-One Trade Show Solution
Want to take it easy during trade show season this year? Partner with Best Displays & Graphics. Our turnkey trade show management solutions can handle every aspect of your exposition, from booth design, to logistics, to staffing issues. We can take the burden off your shoulders, guaranteeing you have a stress-free exhibition season while still putting on great show appearances.
Contact Best Displays & Graphics today to learn more.