5 Ways to Be Completely Prepared For Your Next Trade Show

They can be hectic, nerve-wracking even–and yet they’re a vital part of the industry. Trade shows provide you with valuable leads and ensure that the industry knows you’re alive and kicking.

So, why not use the best tools you can to ensure that your next trade show is as successful as possible? Take a look at these quick tips to help you plan your next one.

1. Work backwards.

The best starting point is usually the very end. On the first day of the show, what will need to have been done? Whether you need to pay trade show booth fees by a certain date, or get product shipped to the venue, the dates of the trade show typically make the best place to start. Working backwards provides you with a natural starting point, no matter what you’re planning.

You can also work backwards from a to-do list. For example, if you know you need to have supplies shipped to the venue by a certain day, you can know that the supplies need to be shipped at least two days before that day.

And don’t forget to use your project schedule (below) to determine when everything else needs to be done.

2. Create an open-environment.

It seems like something that doesn’t need saying, but it’s shocking how many companies don’t get this right.

Your booth needs to be easily approachable.

Take into account the flow of traffic. Pay attention to the way the hall is set up. If possible, take this into account when reserving your booth space.

You shouldn’t force people to walk around. When designing your trade show booth, you must remove all excuses for people to pass you by. Be open and inviting, yet functional and attractive.

Pro-show tip: If you have a small trade show booth space, look only at what you wish to accomplish. For example, if you want to show off a product, make sure you have enough stations setup for it. Try to keep space open for people to walk. If you’re not sure what to do with the space, explore multiple options–a customizable shipping container can be a perfect fit for limited space, not to mention an investment you can utilize over and over. A small space can actually be a great strength.

3. Set-up to take-down.

If you choose to work with a management company, you don’t have to worry about this one as much. But if you’re packing things up yourself, it definitely matters.

By the time the end of the show rolls around, chances are you’ll be more than ready to leave. Think about this as you’re setting up. Literally set-up to take-down. Ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them. If people aren’t expected to help out with the packing, they may just leave before it’s even done.

4. Create a project schedule… and stick to it.

List out tasks and deadlines, and come up with a target budget. Put these dates into whatever calendar you use and set reminders for the really important ones–trust us, it’ll pay off.

5. Get your trade show booth taken care of early. (And pick one that can make you stand out!)

You have plenty enough to worry about, so why add the trade show booth on to that list? It’s faster, cheaper, and more effective than trying to pull something together on your own, unless you already have that industry experience.

While there may be many different options, you should ensure that the company you choose has experience and past clients for whom they’ve done quality work. Always check a potential partner’s portfolio. Take a look at IPME’s past projects here.

There are many trade show “gimmicks” that companies have used throughout the years to try and attract attendees to their trade show booth. Some of them have been clever, some of them… not so much. One way to get people to visit you is by having a unique booth setup–like this one that we designed for Hurley to promote its H20 program at the U.S. Open of Surfing.


For all of your trade show needs, whether large or small, IPME has you covered. We invite you to take a look at our extensive portfolio of past (and amazing) client projects here. Have questions? Want to learn more about the best trade show option for you? Contact us here.