7 pieces of advice to organise a trade show

7 pieces of advice to organise a trade show

Organ­ising a trade show is an exciting adventure, but it can also be difficult if you lack the required event planning skills. Without good planning, adequate resources and proactive management, your profes­sional event can become an opera­tional and marketing nightmare for you, your partners and parti­cipants alike.

For the companies taking part in your trade show, this event is a real oppor­tunity to commu­nicate, exhibit and sell their products and – most of all – their brand, to create new partner­ships, and to get in touch with potential or existing customers. Both companies and parti­cipants alike expect a lot from you in terms of planning and management at this type of event.

Here are our 7 pieces of advice to organise a successful trade show and make it a total success!

1. Plan well in advance

You should refrain from jumping immedi­ately into organ­ising the trade show, as this may lead you to forget critical details that will be key to the smooth running of your profes­sional event. Planning and devel­oping an action plan well in advance will signi­fic­antly increase your chances of success. What we mean is, before you put the organ­isation of the show itself in motion, you should give yourself enough time to:

  • Set the objectives of the trade show
  • Assess the potential of your event
  • Set a budget – even an approx­imate one
  • Write your specific­a­tions
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Identify potential venues for the event
  • Make an estimate of your needs in terms of equipment, staff, etc.

2. Find a venue that is convenient for both you and the participants

The choice of location for a trade show is of paramount importance. You should consider not just your own needs but most import­antly those of the show’s parti­cipants. Suitab­ility of the location matters a lot: will the chosen city or town attract the greatest number of parti­cipants? Is it easily accessible for the kind of parti­cipants you think will attend? At this stage, you should take into account the attract­iveness and access­ib­ility of the city or town of your choice (think of the presence of suitable transport options, especially if parti­cipants may be coming from far away) but also weather condi­tions.

Similarly, the convenience of access to the venue itself is very important: are there several entrances, parking spaces, wheel­chair access, emergency exits, enough space to circulate safely, enough space for all the booths? The number of expected parti­cipants is also important and should guide you in your search for the perfect venue: is your trade show small, medium or large? Venues such as meeting rooms, cultural centres and hotel conference rooms are generally suitable for small and medium-sized trade shows – for larger trade shows, it is usually necessary to opt for bigger venues such as conference halls or exhib­ition centres.

3. Choosing a date that will not clash with other important events

Just like choosing the venue, choosing the date of the trade show is not a trivial matter. You must absolutely avoid organ­ising your trade show at the same time as any other important events for your categories of parti­cipants (including companies, sponsors, attendees). These important events could be parties as well as other shows. However, it is sometimes inter­esting to organise your trade show on the same date/period as these other important events if – and only if – you can and want to use the traffic generated by these other events!

4. Finding sponsors/partners

Sponsors are essential to the promotion and success of profes­sional events like trade shows. It is therefore important to find either several partners or one main sponsor. They should have extensive exper­ience in your target industry and be considered true experts by the show’s parti­cipants. For each party to benefit from this partnership, consider estab­lishing a commercial-type contract, where your partner will give you marketing advice, access to customer databases, display spaces, etc. in return for high visib­ility and free services before, during and after the show.

5. Make the right choice in terms of rolling-out your marketing plan

We are talking here about promoting your trade show, part of which is already taken care of through your sponsors. Apart from sponsorship, when it comes to tradi­tional promotion for this type of profes­sional event, you need to make the right marketing and organ­isa­tional choices. The key choices to be made at this stage relate to the sale of tickets and booths to parti­cipants and audience members. In order to do this, we advise you to use various tools and channels such as cold calls, email ads, posters and social media – always ensuring you are directing your message to your target audience for the trade show.

Opt for an online ticketing/registration solution

For your ticket sales, you should opt for a regis­tration platform or an online ticketing solution, such as Weezevent’s, to make managing the event easier. Our ticketing solution can be directly integ­rated to your trade show’s website, provides you with a mini-sales site if applicable, and also allows you to directly send reminders to parti­cipants as well as send out your invit­a­tions and passes.

Opt for an access control and payment dematerialisation solution

Similarly, to ensure that your trans­ac­tions are secure and to avoid fraud, you should opt for a solution to control access of parti­cipants at the door on the day of the trade show, or even a system of payment demater­i­al­isation. This last solution allows you, for instance, to control and manage all trans­ac­tions related to your merchand­ising booths, food-trucks, and bars.

Plan to have marketing materials on location

In addition, it is important to create marketing materials such as banners, direc­tional signs or flyers to boost promotion of your event. Do not hesitate to outsource this task if you do not want to recruit staff for this.

6. Plan entertainment, food and drinks

Enter­tainment, food and drinks are important and are an integral part of any good trade show. Enter­tainment will enhance the enthu­siasm level of visitors and companies attending the show. As for food and drinks, your parti­cipants will need to regain energy and quench their thirst. You could also provide takeaways food for booth staff who are often unable to leave their post during the event.

7. Follow-up after the trade show

When organ­ising profes­sional events, it is critical for you to carry out a compre­hensive follow-up of your parti­cipants and partners after the show. This helps maintain a positive relationship and build trust with these stake­holders, which is very important for the next events you may organise. Do not hesitate to ask these parti­cipants for feedback on the organ­isation and their exper­ience in order to improve your future editions.

Anyways, throughout the organ­isation process, you should pay attention to details, make a plan B for everything, and always make sure that your choices will provide a unique exper­ience for parti­cipants and help them achieve their goals for attending your trade shows.

Ready to organise your own trade show? Start now with Weezevent:

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