tradeshow planningLife Outside of Work 

Your Ultimate Guide To Tradeshow Planning

Are you great at organizing events with a great eye for details? Are you the go-to person when people want a birthday or anniversary party planned? If you are, have you considered planning events for a career?

Tradeshows shows are a big event with a lot of people attending, both sellers and buyers. Tradeshow planning could be just what you are looking for with your event planning career.

While a lot of people want to set up their booth at a tradeshow, many don’t have the time or much experience at doing it. If you are already an event planner but looking to expand or change, here are some reasons to consider tradeshows.

If you attend a lot of tradeshows to market your business, you can also benefit from our guide. Here are a few basics for tradeshow planning.

Tradeshow Planning

There are a lot of things you need to consider, but once you get the basics down, you will be well ahead of the game.

Have a Plan

Planning your tradeshow takes time. Give yourself at least a year to get everything in place. Make a list of everything you will need or think you will need. Attend a few trade shows to see how they are organized, laid out and whether they seem to be running successfully.

You can learn a lot from other’s mistakes as well as their successes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, talk to the attendees and the vendors for ideas, advice, and information.

Get Licences and Permits

Check with the city or venue about any kinds of permits you may need. There may be separate ones required for entertainers, for food and drink or alcohol. These will need to be in place and displayed at the event.

Pick a Theme

There are many different areas this can fall into. Tech, comic, DYI, household items, find your purpose. Once you have that, you will know who to market to, for vendors and for the audience.

You can find a lot of information online, for types of tradeshows, local business groups, and find some that may be under-represented. This might be the perfect way to open the door for them and for you.

Find Vendors

Getting people interested and aware of your event will be an event in itself. Contact all businesses in the area, post notices online for interested parties on forums and other local sites.

Let them know how they will benefit from this tradeshow with an estimate of how much traffic they can expect. You will have to have visited the space and have a floor plan to show people, and offer different sizes of space.

Pick a Venue

The table or space needs to be booked well in advance, as these spaces are hot property. You need a floor plan of the space to show you your potential vendors and sponsors.

You don’t always need the biggest space, so book accordingly. A hotel conference room might be fine and if you can hold it outside, you may save a lot of money, depending on the space.

Let people see the space, where their best advantage may be and get them to book right away.

Get Sponsors

If you can find sponsors within the theme, that is perfect, but a good sponsor can cut your cost and help bring in vendors and attendees. Look at local radio stations, television personalities or the local newspaper.

They can advertise for you as they will be attending the event and talking about their own personal appearance. Also, offer a booth to someone who is willing to sponsor your event.

Get Entertainment

Themed entertainment is a great idea, so if that is a possibility, try to book them. If you are planning an event for kitchenware, find a local celebrity who may have a cooking show.

A local band or celebrity can draw people in and keep them there. Also, if there is an evening event, a nice band magician or comedian area good idea.

Food and Drink

Get catering for the event. You can have light meals prepared onsite, but you can also get drink vending machines, local sponsors to set up booths for food or drinks and you may want to consider different food options, like vegetarian choices.

If you can get themed food, all the better. Plus, you will need to consider the evening event with alcoholic beverages, if appropriate and a light meal or snacks provided.

Exhibitors Packages

Set up an information package for the vendors to provide all the information they need. If they are new to trade shows, provide information about where to get their displays.

The package should contain arrival and tear down times, maps, parking and loading areas and a floor plan so they know where they are. Also include your contact information, in case they have questions or concerns.

Market it

Posters, radio spots, and get it out all over your social media platforms. Magazines and newspapers, both actual and online and anywhere you feel you can drum up some interest.

Also, get out there an sell tickets. You can offer them to friends and family but also aks if local businesses will sell them for you, or put advertisements like posters or flyers up in their window or store counter.

Be Prepared

Stay calm when things go wrong, because they will. Try to stay ahead of all the things you need to do and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a big undertaking that poses a lot of challenges.

Keep your vendors happy and make an appearance during the trade show to ask how they are or if they need anything. It is important for you to know who they are, their names and what their business is.

Ask around the venue, talk to attendees, to the vendors and check in with the entertainment, the caters and anyone else working there. Getting feedback, respect the vendors and their ideas. They may be just starting out on a new career, just like you.

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