It’s time to plan your next trade show, now!

Exhibitions are your chance to show off. Whether you’re showcasing a product, a skill or a service, these events are designed to provide you with the perfect platform to present your business at its best.  They offer a unique opportunity to network and to capture qualified leads face-to-face.

Things have been quiet on the trade show and exhibition front for over a year, the pandemic forced all events to be cancelled or postponed, virtual events have been the only option since March 2020.  But with the vaccine roll-out and a roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions now is a great time to start planning for your next exhibition, ready for when things open up again in May.  As soon as that happens it’s likely that suppliers and contractors will be busy so why not start planning it now, beat the rush and grab a bargain.

A successful exhibition requires organization and planning, ideally of at least six months.  Leaving it until the last minute will mean you miss out on the best spaces, won’t be able to design the best stand and you won’t have time to tell all your clients and potential clients that you are attending.  So, it’s time to start planning for all the exhibitions that will be happening in the autumn.

Now is the time to negotiate

Exhibition contractors have had a quiet year, many have not survived so those that are left will be prudent, well-managed businesses.  This should give you confidence to use them.  At the moment business is thin on the ground so you should be able to negotiate a good deal, many are offering big discounts.  You will also get the undivided attention of their best designers and project managers giving you the perfect opportunity to get something really special.

A word of warning however, the difficult year will have left some businesses in a precarious financial position.  It’s worth checking an exhibition contractor’s financial situation, any reputable company will be happy to share this with you, they should want to prove they are in a strong and stable position, for example Black Robin Exhibits will send you a detailed 12-page credit report.  Be very wary of any company that won’t do this, you don’t want to be left without a stand when the show arrives.

Booking a space

Trade shows can provide a great opportunity to build your brand and reach out to new customers.  But choosing the right trade show and then the best booth location can really affect the return on investment.  You want to make sure you stand out from the crowd and draw as much attention as possible.

It’s always a good idea to get in early when it comes to booking an exhibition space.  The best spaces go very quickly so make sure you get a copy of the floorplan as soon as the exhibition is announced.  Choosing a space where there is high footfall is your goal, at aisle intersections, near restaurants or toilets, or near to the entrance are all good spots.  Knowing which of your competitors are there is a bonus and locating yourself near the industry leader can have its benefits as you can syphon off some of their visitors.  Booking early might get you a good deal on the cost too, it’s worth negotiating with organizers as shows start to open up again, especially if you intend to exhibit at more than one event with the same organizer.

But how do you choose a supplier?

Before you contact potential exhibition contractors, you should take time to consider the type of stand you want based on the space you have booked. Start to plan your stand and what you want it to look like.  How are you going to attract attendees and how are they going to interact with your stand? What are your graphics going to look like? You want to make sure your exhibit “stands out” from the crowd. Think about the design features you want as this will help you choose an exhibition company that meets these requirements.

It’s important when choosing a supplier to find one that will take full control of your project from start to finish. If you can find a company who will manage every part of your exhibition stand from initial design and production, right through to the transportation and installation at the show, it will take a huge amount of stress out of your planning process.  Ideally, they should be able to prebuild your stand before the show so you can see exactly how it will look.

The type of stand you choose will depend on your budget, the space you have booked and how many times you intend to exhibit.  If you intend to go to more than one show it’s worth getting a stand that can be re-used. Modular stands offer the versatility of being easy to transport and store with the ability to reconfigure them for future events.  For some inspiration see Black Robin Exhibits – they have plenty of ideas to get you started.

With the economy starting to open up again, exhibitions will be allowed from May 17 onwards.  So now is the perfect time to start planning your next trade show.  Getting in early means you will get the best space and may get an early-bird discount.  Plus, exhibition contractors are quiet at the moment so you will get the best designers who will have the time to really focus on your stand design.  You will make savings on both the space you book and the stand you choose so it really is a good time to plan your next exhibition.

Interesting Related Article: “7 Business Tips For Better Marketing During Trade Shows