What Makes a Successful Trade Show

Trade Shows, exhibitions organized to allow businesses in a certain industry showcase their products and services, have been around for many years.  The first time I attended a trade show was actually just last year.  I received tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show as a birthday present, and my mother and I walked around the ballroom at the convention center oohing and aahing at the elaborately beautiful flower displays.  The theme was Holland, and I had never seen anything like it before.  It took us about an hour just to walk through the maze of vendors selling everything from bird feeders to lawn care products, even handmade jewelry!

These days, there are trade shows for literally anything and everything.  Are you into arts & crafts?  There are trade shows for that.  Are you a restaurant owner looking to purchase new equipment?  There are trade shows specifically for that.  Trade shows are often the easiest ways for businesses to promote their products in a way that’s tangible for the consumer.  When organizing a trade show, a number of factors must be taken into consideration.  First, you need to hire a General Service Contractor (GSC) to help you plan your event.  Your GSC will handle most of the responsibilities for the trade show, including unloading equipment, setting up booths and displays, creating layouts of floor plans for the expo, and dismantling everything when the expo is over.

Giving vendors an opportunity to speak at your trade show is something that’s beneficial for both the vendor and the target audience.  Consumers are more likely to buy a product if they can hear about it and see it in action, rather than just glancing at it in passing.  Let’s say the product in question is a vacuum.  The most effective way to get consumers to be interested in purchasing the vacuum is to show it in action.  The vendor would speak to the audience and demonstrate all the different things the vacuum can do, that way the consumer is literally seeing that it works and isn’t just relying on lip service.  If you don’t have time for each individual vendor to speak, holding panels and allowing similar vendors to speak in groups of four or five can be just as effective.

Above all, it is important to make sure your trade show is welcoming and fun.  Food is a crucial part of any event where people will be on their feet and walking around for several hours, so be prepared to hire a caterer if the venue allows it.  Make sure to choose simple foods, like sandwiches, pasta, or finger foods.  Once you decide on the type of food you want to have at your expo, you need to choose how you want the food to be served; plated or buffet.  Buffets are the most commonly used at trade shows, but a plated meal is nice if you want your expo to have a more formal vibe.

Organizing a trade show can seem daunting, but as long as you use these tips as a general guideline you can’t go wrong.