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5 Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful Trade Show

How to have a successful trade show? For almost every industry, trade shows are wonderful opportunities for companies big or small to market their brand, showcase products, network with fellow industry partners, and interact with customers or prospective clients directly. Involving a large attendance from both exhibiting vendors and attendees, trade shows are large-scale events that require meticulous planning and coordination. Here’s 5 do’s and don’ts for planning a trade show to help you out in managing the event!

Do: Secure a convenient location in advance

Marina Bay Sands is a popular venue in Singapore for trade shows

It may sound like a timeworn phrase, for location is everything! For a venue that is expected to house a large number of both exhibitors and attendees, it is important to secure the booking beforehand to avoid mishaps — imaging how difficult it would be to book a sizeable location last minute. Also, a convenient and strategic location is of utmost importance, especially if you will be having industry professionals flying in for your event. A convenient and easily located venue will boost your attendance and allow attendees to commute and find their way to the trade show without any hassle.

Don’t: Underestimate the space needed for each booth

A spacious trade show booth with interactive displays

While the prospect of having many booths in participation sounds attractive for your event, overcrowding compromises the event experience for both your exhibitors and attendees. In fact, floor space can be used an incentive to encourage participation from companies, so be sure to ration enough space for each booth. As the needs of each booth and how they would like to exhibit their products or services will be different, check with participating companies to confirm the amount of space required to set up a successful trade show booth. Also, take note to leave enough room for attendees to move around without getting caught in human traffic.

Do: Provide food, beverages and entertainment

Finger food are a convenient alternative that enable easy handling

Food and beverages are integral to every event experience, especially after your attendees have spent a considerable amount of time walking around and talking. It is also considerate to provide catering for staff in participating booths, who do not have the luxury of leaving their placements for meals. Buffets or sandwiches are especially convenient and offer flexibility to have food on the go. Entertainment is also an important aspect today, with companies investing in popular acts and multimedia resources to keep attendees hyped and interested in the event. Employing relevant entertainment will also help you in drawing your target audience to the event.

Don’t: Overspend your marketing budget

Keep a tight rein on your budget and avoid wastiing it on unlikely audiences

While advertising and marketing are crucial and ensure attendance at your event, you’re going to want to make the most of your budget. Make sure you don’t waste resources promoting to audiences who are irrelevant or disinterested in your event! Consider your target audience, their behaviors, and plan your marketing strategy around them. Through which medium are you more likely to generate interest and response for your event? Is it through social media or out-of-home advertising? While it may seem tempting to market the event to a wide audience to encourage high participation rates, there is no point in attracting people who are unlikely to convert into leads for your participating booths. A low ROI for these companies will translate into low participation for your next trade show.

Do: Set up your exhibit design around your goals 

When you set clear goals, it will help you plan and design your tradeshow and also measure your exhibiting success effectively. Everything should be considered in advance, including your booth and exhibit corner design. Use branded items that fit in with your company goals and show up strong at the trade show. Keep in mind that your booth design will work to support you and your goals.

Don’t Neglect Budget Allocation

Helping you to not overspend your budget, to end with a high ROI, and to succeed in your advertising and marketing of events, a detailed budget allocation comes in handy to control the overall trade show expenditures. Try to distribute finances like this: 6% graphic design and production, 10% exhibit design and decor construction, 11% other show services, 35% for exhibit space, 16% staff travel/lodging/logistics, 10% exhibit shipping, 7% promotion, and 5% for other trade show-related items.

Do: Follow up after your event


As with every event, it is essential to follow up at the end of your trade show with your vendors and attendees. This helps to build a positive relationship between your company and its industry partners, and sets you up with a list of potential sponsors, participants, and attendees for your next event. Offer your thanks to all involved parties for the success of the trade show and ask for feedback so you can evaluate the event experience and work on improving the subsequent one!

Tips on how to prepare for the trade show

There are a number of quick tips for a successful trade show that will help you to produce it perfectly. Here they are:

  1. Find out who will be attending.
  2. Make attendee lists available in advance for trade shows.
  3. Inform your team.
  4. Instruct your staff.
  5. Provide good product demos.
  6. Be physically prepared for stress.
  7. Set up extra seats or arrange a lounge near your booth.
  8. Produce exciting brand swag.
  9. Be ready to give away stuff for free.
  10. Show initiative and be proactive to follow up.

Interactive trade show games

You’re also welcome to introduce some interactive trade show games as they are incredibly engaging. This will bring you more attention and draw attendee interest to your booth. Besides, interactive games create involvement for both your stuff and your attendees.

How to behave at the exhibition

To run a successful trade show, event planners should instruct their staff appropriately. It is important to understand that the process of communication with visitors begins even before we start a conversation. It all starts with making an impression. Based on how your booth assistants look and behave, visitors will determine how they work, how professional they are, whether they can be trusted, whether they are willing to communicate, and whether to go to their stand at all!

What should not be done at a booth? Behaving passively, sitting, imposingly lounging, stretching out legs, leaning on information desks and exhibits, leaning against shop windows or walls of a stand, reapplying make-up, and yawning are all forbidden! In general, creating the impression that you have nothing to do at your booth is dangerous!

Elements of a successful trade show

To succeed at your trade show, deliberately include the following trade show elements: choose the right trade show, establish a balanced budget, design your exhibit around your goals, hire the right staff, and promote your presence. Do not forget to follow up with trade show tips for exhibitors to attract and engage an even larger audience.

While the size of each trade show may differ due to the nature of different industries, it doesn’t change the fact that lots of attention and careful planning has to be done to ensure a smooth-running event. A trade show involves both vendors, who are eager to showcase their services and interact directly with prospective customers, and attendees, who are visiting to meet with partners and learn more about what is available on the market that best suits their needs. Thus, it is essential to craft a satisfactory experience that will bridge both parties in order to organize a successful trade show!

Use trade show tips and tricks from Gevme to increase your chances for success!

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