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Custom Exhibit Design

12 Months Before:

Figure out the reason why you are doing the show.  Pick your space and start to develop floor plans.  Keep in mind the flow of people, what you would like to offer to your audience, and of course know your audience!  This is the best time to read over your contract and make note of details that could sneak up on you.  Carefully read through rules and regulations.  Track when your payments should be made and set that up in your calendar.  Submit your application as well as the first payment.  Determine your budget in advance, since you are getting such a head start it should be easy to keep up with your budget.

Six Months Before:

At the six month mark, set goals and objectives for your the trade show.  If some of your work needs to be outsourced during the event, make sure you start to line that up.  Find a company for set up or tear down, plan out transportation.  Find an exhibit designer and begin to develop a design plan.  Plan a marketing strategy on how to get people into your booth.  Whether you send e-mails, postcards, small meaningful gifts, this needs to be prepared now.

Four Months Before:

Line up the tradeshow staff you would like to work your exhibit and plan out travel arrangements.  Find out if there are any specific needs for the exhibit itself.  Finalize design products and select the floor plan for your exhibit.  Start advertising for your show.

Three Months Before:

Again, go over the exhibitor manual, you will need a refresher at this time.  Communicate with your exhibit supplier the dates for your exhibit and reserve.  Confirm all travel and lodging arrangements make changes if needed.  Plan presentations to happen in-booth and brief staff on sales approaches.  If any meeting rooms are needed go ahead and submit reservations.  Pick out catering menus if needed, and plan a meeting for before the show.

Two Months Before:

This is where you will start tying up those loose ends and getting a lot of the little work done.  Get name tags, press kits, graphics, briefing packets, training manuals, and agendas finalized and sent out to the appropriate people.

One Month Before:

This is where you follow up on everything, preview displays, send everything that needs to be shipped to the location by the appropriate date.  Meet with staff about event.  Finally, make sure that you have everything that you may need a copy of copied and ready.

Upon Arrival

Go to your booth and make sure everything that is needed is there.  Talk with the hotel about meeting rooms if needed for your staff.  Be there when the booth is being set up.

During Show

Coordinate with your staff any current needs that are occurring.  Make note of how to do it differently next year.  Go ahead and reserve your space for next year.

After Show

Again, be there when they dismantle your event.  Handle any sales leads that occurred during show.  Most importantly, send out thank you notes to the people who stopped by.  They may not have been a lead, but that could change.

For supplemental reading you can study up on basic trade show planning.

Authored By rmyers

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