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A Trade Show Manager’s Guide to Event Selection

How do you determine if a trade show or conference is going to be productive for you, especially if you’ve never exhibited there? Will your existing core trade shows and events continue to reap rewards in the future? When does an upgrade to a more premium booth placement justify the increased investment?

If you have found yourself asking these questions recently or if you are asking yourself these questions now (for the first time after having just read them out loud) take a moment and review these helpful tips below.

Keep your Eyes and Ears Open for New Shows and Conferences

Most exhibitors are loyal to their favorite trade shows and expos. But if you start to see diminishing returns on your exhibit dollar, or if you’re attempting to expand into a new market, it may be time to broaden your horizon. The Skyline Trade Show Selector Tool is a great resource to help you uncover new opportunities and events for your exhibits.

Location, Location, Location

Approximately 40-60% of trade show attendees come from a 200-mile radius of the host city. Take a look at your largest potential buyers and determine, given this data, which shows they are most likely to attend. While big, national or international shows may be your “bread and butter,” over half of exhibitors say they experience most of their success reaching target audiences at smaller, more regional trade shows.

Research Each Show

After settling on a core group of trade shows, check the history of each one to see how many registrants and vendors were in attendance. You can even call a few past exhibitors (not your direct competitors, of course) and ask them about the quality of the show, overall turn out and the sales viability of the attendees.

Secure Improved Location by Registering Earlier

The early bird gets the worm. If you habitually register late and find yourself in a less than ideal locations or having to reconfiguring you booth components to fit within the spaces available, the adjustments may be adding unnecessary expenses to your budget not to mention the possible loss of time and opportunity. Registering early to secure premium space can pay later dividends in saved productivity and added ROI.

Implement an Internal, Post-Show Summary

It’s important to assess the effectiveness of your booth immediately following each trade show. Gather your team while their perceptions of the event are still fresh, and ask the following questions:

  • Did you achieve a suitable ROI? How many leads did you get, and what was the cost per lead based on our overall exhibit costs?
  • How would you classify the attendees? Where there more browsers than buyers? If you exhibited at this event previously, did this year’s crowd include new prospective clientele, or mostly existing customers?
  • How did you look in comparison to the competition? Was your booth design more professional, and did it draw in more attendees?
  • What, if any, suggestions do you have that might make this trade show even more successful for future years.

By conducting the above pre- and post-show research, you will gain valuable insights to help you plan, prepare and select for your future trade show and conference while also generating a better overall ROI at each event.

About the Author

Shelley Speciale is a Senior Account Executive at Skyline Xtreme Xhibits in Austin, TX. She is a native Austinite who has been with Skyline for over 5 years. What she enjoys most about being a part of the Skyline network is being able to help clients and potential clients find solutions to their organizations exhibits and environments, as well as other trade show needs, with great success and consistency through creativity, collaboration and our innovative design.

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