Optimize Your Trade Show Experience with an Event Checklist

January 9, 2015

Trade shows typically only last a few days, but the planning that goes into them takes far longer – in fact, it should begin as far as a year in advance. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to do and when.

T-minus 12 months: Look into the trade show options within your industry, then zero in on the one(s) that will best complement your brand's marketing and sales strategy. Research the event(s) – previous exhibitors, attendee demographics, the size of the venue, etc. – then use this information to put together a budget and ROI projection.

T-minus nine months: Establish specific objectives related to lead generation and product sales, register with the event sponsor, come up with a trade show booth idea and create a marketing plan.

T-minus six months: Develop a sales message, begin building your exhibit, start designing the promotional materials you'll hand out at the event as well as those you'll use to advertise your appearance beforehand.

T-minus three months: Put together a staff schedule, begin making travel arrangements, figure out display shipment details and order promotional items. Make sure everything is proceeding according to plan, because time is running out!

T-minus one month: Finalize shipment plans, staffing requirements and travel arrangements, and train staff if necessary. Ramp up your pre-show marketing as the clock ticks down. By the time the event is a week away, all of the elements on your event checklist should have been accomplished.

If you follow the timeline laid out above, you'll be in good shape heading into the exhibit hall – but your efforts shouldn't end there. Remember to do post-show follow-up with prospects, or all your hard work thus far may go to waste!

Need help with your email follow-up? Download the Exhibitor’s Guide to Email Follow-Up with Four Proven Templates


Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact