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Rena PattonNov 19, 2018 3:04:21 PM3 min read

Registering and Preparing for Your First Trade Show

You’ve decided that participating in a trade show can provide your company with valuable knowledge, leads, sales, and brand awareness — now what? After you set up a budget and select the trade show you want to attend, it’s time to start the registration and preparation process.

Here are a few things to do far in advance of the actual trade show dates in order to ensure your event goes smoothly.

1. Evaluate the Floor Plan and Traffic Patterns

The location of your booth can be a huge factor on the success of your trade show exhibit. Other aspects, such as how much you spend on promoting your booth before and during the event can also play a role, but location will ultimately be the easiest way to get your booth seen without investing much into promotions and further advertisements.

Based on our experience at shows for all industries and sizes, we’ve put together a list of the best spots for your booth:


Trade shows have a lot going on, making it easy for attendees to experience sensory overload. A booth near the entrance ensures you’re among the first to be seen when attendees initially enter the building and when they’re at their freshest and most engaged.

Corners and Intersections

Corners and intersections get great foot traffic, so you can take advantage of the movement coming from multiple directions. That said, it’s a good idea to make sure your booth is designed in a manner that allows you to connect with people on different sides of the exhibit.

Near Other Large Attractions

High profile exhibits are pretty much a guarantee for attracting large volumes of attendees, so having a spot near them will put you in front of their audience. Show sponsors are also often good candidates to set up next to. But you want to be sure that your neighboring exhibit attracts people in your target market, and ideally, doesn’t belong to one of your direct competitors.

Nearby Convenience

Another great way to attract people to your booth is to set up near areas of convenience, like bathrooms or areas with food. This will make your booth a favorable stop for attendees, as it puts you in an area with high traffic.

2. Read Through the Contract

It is absolutely vital that you understand the payment schedule, terms, rules, and space assignment methods for each trade show you attend. The contract will also provide you with the schedule for the event, including times for moving in, setting up, and moving out. You’ll also learn the trade show’s policies in regards to insurance, cancellations, restrictions, compliance, handling, shipping, and storage.

Knowing your trade show contract from front to back will help you avoid unexpected fees and charges that blow out your budget, and will ultimately lead to you to a much more predictable and valuable experience.

3. Apply for Your Space

The earlier you apply for your space, the better. Some trade shows offer early-bird discounts, so applying early could mean a little extra money to work with. Once your application has been accepted, you’ll be required to make a deposit.

Applying for your space early also gives you a better chance of getting that prime trade show real estate for your booth. For many trade shows, the longer you wait means the fewer choices you’ll have in terms of location.

4. Know Your Show Manual and Exhibitor Kit Inside Out

Read through your show manual and exhibitor kit just as thoroughly as your show contract. It will contain all the rules you need to follow to help your show go smoothly.

Your exhibitor kit will contain valuable information about delivery schedules, storage of supplies, and do’s and don’ts for your exhibit. Many trade show organizers allow a limited timeframe for the delivery of your physical exhibit and supplies, so plan accordingly. The last thing you want is stress from unexpected delays, on top of any fees to expedite shipping, caused by insufficient time for transportation.

When it comes to registering and preparing for your upcoming trade show, it’s a good idea to start as early as a year before the event. Doing so will allow you to create and revise your budget as needed, and provide you with ample time to cover all of your bases and help ensure your trade show experience is a home run!

As always, feel free to contact Exhibit Options for all your exhibit needs, questions, or concerns. We’re always happy to help!