How To Organize A Trade Show Event Lacking attention to detail, organizing a trade show can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Organizers must select a time and place for the event, attract trade show vendors, and manage thousands of small details in order to make the event a success.

Ultimately, the organizer’s goal is to provide a platform through which buyers and sellers can meet. The challenge is coordinating each of the essential components that go into building that platform.

In this article, you’ll learn about each of the elements involved in organizing a successful trade show. We’ll explore how to attract the right type of trade show vendors as well as the services you’ll need to offer them.

Selecting A Time And Venue

Choosing an appropriate time and place for your trade show can be complicated. You’ll need to make it convenient for both trade show vendors and attendees to come. Avoid holding your event during major holidays. Otherwise, you’ll experience fewer reservations for trade show exhibits and less floor traffic.

When you reserve your venue, keep in mind the number of people you expect to attend, as well as the expected number of trade show exhibits. You’ll want to plan conservatively to avoid capacity issues. But, you should also avoid reserving a large convention center or enormous hall if the floor traffic and number of trade show vendors do not justify it.

Also, consider other conventions, conferences, and trade shows being held on your chosen date. Unless you’re hoping to leverage other events’ traffic, avoid reserving a venue in close proximity to them.

Attracting Trade Show Vendors

Attracting reliable trade show vendors who return year after year is essential to organizing a successful event. It’s worth noting if you consider that vendors have limited budgets, especially given the softening economy. Consider creating packages that include a number of attractive incentives. For example, a package might include floor space for their trade show exhibits, an advertisement in the event directory, and a panel appearance to increase their exposure. That will make it easier for them to justify attending.

Trade Show Construction

Transforming a hall or convention center into an attractive trade show event requires carpeting, lighting, audio/visual equipment, and an assortment of furnishings and fixtures. There are a number of dependable contractors on whom you can rely for your trade show construction needs. Some provide the labor for the installation and dismantling of lighting, equipment, and carpeting. Other contractors can supply computers, point of sale processing solutions, and venue lighting. The success of your event depends largely upon working with contractors who specialize in trade show construction.

Ancillary Services

As noted above, attracting trade show vendors and motivating them to reserve space is critical to your event. You’re competing with other event organizers for vendors’ limited budgets. If you can provide additional services that will make your convention or trade show more attractive, those vendors will be more likely to consider attending.

For example, you can contract with other companies to offer child care services for vendors and attendees with young children. You can provide experienced booth staff for exhibitors who are unable to supply their own. Consider offering them a list of designers who specialize in creating eye-catching trade show exhibits. You can even supply an easy-to-use trade show checklist to prospective exhibitors to help simplify their planning efforts.

Planning Your Trade Show Event

There was a time when trade show organizers considered themselves to be “space sellers.” That is, their focus was on selling reservations for trade show exhibits. Those days are all but forgotten. Today, organizers must focus on constructing a platform through which buyers and sellers can meet. A significant part of that task requires attracting trade show vendors and working with dependable trade show contractors in order to create a successful event.


About the author:

Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.