Attending a trade show? 7 steps to ensure a smooth set-up

Beautiful woman shopping for clothes

Attending a trade show? 7 steps to ensure a smooth set-up
Having a booth at a trade show can be a great way to showcase your products and raise the profile of your business. At the same time, it can be daunting, so to minimize stress and last minute hassles, give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare for the event. Here are some of the key steps to follow.

5-6 months out: set objectives and review your budget

This step is essential ensuring that you get the most benefit from the investment you make in attending. Once youíve defined your objectives, decide how youíre going to measure your degree of success.

Set a realistic budget to avoid costs spiralling out of control. The booth itself, which obviously needs to be in the best location possible, typically accounts for around 33% of the total cost. Other significant items include shipping and same day freight services (9%), exhibition collateral and gifts (8%) and travel/accommodation expenses (18%).

3-4 months out : invite bids and select your builders

If you donít already have a builder of choice, it will take time to invite and evaluate the competitive bids of several stand builders. Donít allow this process to become rushed- youíll need a partner who provides high-quality service and is 100% reliable.

3 months out: select collateral and promotional items

The exhibition team should create the list of gift items theyíll need, in line with the project budget. If it takes time to gain multiple approvals in your business, make sure this is done far enough in advance for orders to be placed and delivered. Allow at least a month for production and delivery directly to the exhibition.

1 month out: ship the booth

While the time of delivery will vary, again, the key will be to ensure that the builder has everything they need to create your booth, on the spot. If adjustments are needed, there should be plenty of time to obtain whatever is required so that there are no last minute delays when you are ready to set up.

1 month out: prepare the event team

Confirm the staffing plan and order uniforms. Create a regular schedule of briefings, training sessions and run-throughs to ensure everyone understands their role.
Critical at this point, the procedure and responsibility for following up leads should be formalized, so that no opportunities are lost. The faster your follow up after the event, the more likely you are to reap the benefit of the interest youíve created.

2-3 days before: check your booth

If anythingís missing, have it shipped by same day freight- itís not good if items arrive half-way through the event. Ensure all displays, IT and lighting connections are working smoothly. Bring the team for on-site training. Everything should be in place and ready to go.

The day before: almost there

Itís time for the final set up of displays, equipment testing, and team orientation to the exhibition hall. Everything should now be in place and ready for you to wow visitors to your booth. Enjoy the experience!