A trade show need not necessarily be organized by a trade association or the local Chamber of Commerce. It can also be organized by your company taking the lead or an advertising/event marketing firm, which specializes in trade shows. What differentiates a successful trade show from a not-so successful one? The various factors listed below may help in making that difference!
Venue: The first important requirement for a successful trade show. It has to be a central or prominent location, which the intended participants will have no hesitation in coming to. For example, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Seattle and other major cities across the US, are popular destinations for conventions and trade shows. What makes these venues popular is the fact that they are well connected with the rest of the country, are well-known tourist centers and usually have a pleasant climate. In addition, accommodation for a large contingent of visitors is available easily in these places, given the large number of hotels, motels, inns, etc, to suit every pocket; plus, bulk booking rates are very attractive!
Participants and visitors: A successful trade show should have a central, underlying theme, based on a product or service or consumer requirement. Once your theme is decided upon, choosing the profile and number of participants for the trade show becomes much simpler. Here, it is important to note that this planning will need to be done several months in advance. Contact the list of potential exhibitors or participants and provide them with the relevant information, solicit opinions and suggestions from them on what they would like to have included, to make the trade show a success and profitable for them.
Media and PR: If no one knows that you are organizing a trade show, then you are guaranteed a definite failure! Hence, a comprehensive marketing and PR campaign, making use of the different kinds of media available – print, radio, television, the Internet – will ensure that your trade show is well publicized and the crowds flock to it.
Endorsements: Getting trade associations, chambers of commerce, guilds or other similar collective entities to endorse your trade show, will give that extra boost to your publicity campaign. If you’ve conducted a trade show before, get testimonials from satisfied participants and visitors; word-of-mouth advertising is a very effective means of promoting your upcoming show!
Logistics and preparation: For exhibitors and visitors to rave about your trade show and to get a repeat audience, it is critical that the logistics of holding the trade show or convention are well thought out and prepared in advance. This will include preparing the venue, arranging a layout, which is not only easy to access, but also attractive to participants and visitors, alike. Other points to work on: (i) transport facilities to and from the venue, covering routes to the airport, hotels, any special outings, etc; (ii) communications – telephones, fax, Internet facilities at the venue; (iii) customer services – conveniently located helpdesks or service points, spread around the venue, personnel to guide visitors or help them out in any way; (iv) ample security in and around the venue and places where participants and/or visitors are put up, and (v) miscellaneous and ancillary services such as first-aid, lighting, emergency procedures, etc.
These are just some of the most important factors, which you need to pay attention to, in great detail. Have a blueprint drawn well before the event, incorporating all these requirements and you are well on your way to organizing and holding a successful trade show.